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Gap Creek

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  47,325 ratings  ·  1,545 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller & Oprah's Book Club Pick

Young Julie Harmon works “hard as a man,” they say, so hard that at times she’s not sure she can stop. People depend on her to slaughter the hogs and nurse the dying. People are weak, and there is so much to do. At just seventeen she marries and moves down into the valley of Gap Creek, where perhaps life will be bette
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Hardcover, 326 pages
Published January 10th 1999 by A Shannon Ravenel Book (first published 1999)
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Dianna Florea I liked this book until the end. I agree, Very depressing. They worked so hard and had to leave it all. I would not have left so soon, sell the meat…moreI liked this book until the end. I agree, Very depressing. They worked so hard and had to leave it all. I would not have left so soon, sell the meat and canned veggies at least. Not a feel good story.(less)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  47,325 ratings  ·  1,545 reviews


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Suzanna
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brigitte
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. I selected it to read because my public library's website said that if you liked "These is My Words", you would like this one. However, between requesting it from there and starting it, I read some Goodreads reviews and thought, ugh, I picked a bummer. Not so! In that light, I want to address some of the negatives I read on this site from other readers.

This book is, indeed, written by a man. And it is told from a young woman's perspective. But I found the author to be extremel
...more
Camden
Jan 24, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book alone managed convince me to ignore Oprah's Book Club. The situation was interesting enough but I decided that Robert Morgan should not try to write from a woman's perspective. In my opinion he got it all wrong. Not worth recommending and i can't figure out why so many people loved it.
AJ
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Morgan's "Gap Creek" is written in a simple manner, easy to read, but raw. If you think your life is rough, read this book. The primary root of trouble in this story is the land of Gap Creek itself. In fact, the earth itself is so extraordinarily pervasive and alive, that Morgan almost allows it to become its own rich, cumbersome but generous character. In this story, the land of Gap Creek rears itself up and fights against the main characters Julie, Hank and the other mountain people on ...more
[Shai] Bibliophage
I rated this 5 stars because of the way it was written and the twists in this couple's story. But if I have to rate the characters in this novel, I would definitely rate Julie 4.5 stars and her husband Hank only 1 star. This couple is two different souls who just hurriedly tied the knot without even has the slightest idea about each other. Hank was just strong in physique but not on the inside because of how he easily snap and breakdown during problems.

I know that other reviews on this book were
...more
Kathryn Yaste
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I hated this book for so many reasons! Here are the top five.

1. I don't buy Robert Morgan writing as a female. It just doesn't wash.

2. The sex scenes are beyond unbelievable - they read like some weird hill-billy acid trip synthesia. It's very distracting.

3. I don't buy that such a strong female character would tolerate such an abusive, whiny husband. My tough ol' granny would have shot him and thrown his ass in the creek.

4. On a related note, I hated Hank and was waiting for him to die. I was d
...more
Jenn
Mar 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this one started strong but ended weak. The subtitle is "The Story of a Marriage," but I don't find that accurate, since the story doesn't follow the marriage through--we only get a glimpse at the very beginnings of a marriage. I expected, based on the title, to get the whole story, and I feel a bit jipped. Also, the further along I got, the more I skimmed because I started getting bored. Overall, though, I enjoyed the story, and I think MOrgan accurately portrays the Appalachian lifes ...more
Lynne Spreen
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The hardest work I did on Gap Creek was trying to get the voice right,” says Robert Morgan, who has been called the poet laureate of Appalachia. The voice, as it happens, is of seventeen-year-old Julie Harmon. At seventeen, she’s a good girl, and strong, working as hard as a man alongside her father in this gritty, realistic portrayal of life in late-nineteenth-century North Carolina.

Morgan starts us off with the depiction of a horrifying illness in the very first chapter. When her younger bro
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Linda
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been an Oprah Book Club fan since the beginning, may be in the minority. I thought this book was great, simple but raw. I love books set in the Appalachian's. My first book by Robert Morgan, I like his style of writing. Look forward to more fm this author!

Kristy
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realistic
Uhhhhh.... What exactly was the point of what I just read??!!! Oh, there wasn't one???!!! Ok. Just checking. Was this bad? No. Boring at times, yes.

I mean this is a Oprah 's book club read....the praise for it is borderline overwhelming. But, I just can't gush. I can't tell you it was horrid. I'm not going to remember this book. The only memorable moment was the baby death scene. Even that wasn't written extraordinarily well.

The characters were hard to get to know. None were
super likeable
lik
...more
Tricia
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alisa Muelleck
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys early 1900's fiction
Gap Creek takes you back in time to Julie Harmon's life at the turn of the century. She grew up helping her father and mother run their house and farm. Julie watches her brother and then her father die, and is the one the family depends on to care for these two as they are ill. Events take a quick turn after these deaths when Julie meets Hank Richards, and marries at the young age of 17. Robert Morgan takes you through the day to day struggles of life and ends the tale emotionally with yet anoth ...more
☯Lilbookworm☮
Forgot to update as I was reading this. A very compelling book, loved the determination through out. Is there a follow up to this book? My first book by this author, would love to read more by him.
Suzie
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: Oprah's Book Club
I went to Oprah's book club to find some new reads and happened on Morgan. I was attracted to this because it takes place in the Appalachians.

His writing is very poetical and descriptive, with an almost musical lilt to some of his writing. Add to that the country way of speaking that lends a charm of it's own.

"The ground was deep in fresh-fell leaves, and leaves sparkled like they was waxed and oiled. I kicked up a cloud of leaves. I kicked up a fog of new-fell leaves. I kicked away the leaves
...more
Christine
This book was not so bad but it wasn't as intriguing to me as the other books I read. I don't like to read about any sort of books containing rural background.
I really enjoyed how Julie, the main character just gets things done whether she wants to or not. I, on the other hand, cannot be like her because at home when I'm assigned to do chores, I do them when I'm done with my homework or if I really don't like doing it, I don't get it done at all.
Julie is a hard working woman who, had seen her
...more
Dawn Marie
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have reminisced about this story many times and am debating a rare re-read as I loved the feelings that I experienced the first time that I read it. I would like to experience it again, and see if at this stage in my life I still feel the same. I would recommend this to both women and men alike if they are at all interested in the hard times that faced those who were living in the end of the nineteenth century. The love story is present, but the story of survival and overcoming are what you ca ...more
Shelley
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up and it immediately caught my attention. I read a little bit at night before bed over a couple of nights and then took it to work today where I sat and finished it in a couple of hours. I know a lot of people did not like the way it was written but I had no problem overlooking the "ignorant" speech of the characters. They were what they were. The other complaint that some of my friends had was that the title would seem to indicate it covered the whole marriage or at least a good ...more
Heather
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julie Harmon is an inspiring, likable character who keeps going even while enduring one tragedy after another. Morgan has said that he struggled to find her voice, but I think it's clear that he did find it because she is realistic and memorable. Morgan's writing is beautiful and at times poetic, which is not surprising given his background as a poet. The scene with Julie, her father, and brother in the woods at night is amazingly well done, especially Julie's realization that the natural world ...more
Jordan
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book up from the second-hand bookstore near where I work on a particularly rainy and grey Sunday. Since I haven't been reading like I used to, I wanted something easy to get me back in the groove, and this book, and the snippet of review from the NYT on the cover, caught my eye.

It's interesting enough, and the first 50 pages or so drew me in like crazy (hint: gruesome death), but as I neared the end, I realized that there wasn't really ever going to be any story or any real resolu
...more
#artdamnit Reads
Nov 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne Moore
Set in South Carolina during the late 1800s, Gap Creek is where newlyweds Julie and Hank set out to make a life. Married at a young age, they find whatever happens ... strength comes in their love for each other. Julie narrates this story, telling of sorrows and joy. Her faith in God helps her live through sadness and trials. I think it is her endurance that gives Hank hope in surviving the worst of times, from a terrible fire, a dangerous flash flood, and the loss of their firstborn. A simple, ...more
Kris Meyer
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
This book, written by a North Carolina native who was born and raised in the very lands he writes about, sensitively brings back to life a now distant time, and a way of life that has all but completely vanished except in rural Appalachia. It reminds those of us sitting comfortably in our easy chairs, sipping lattes, and reading books how difficult life once was just a century ago. Set in the Blue Ridge mountains, along the border of North and South Carolina, it is the story of a poor, young, ne ...more
gaudeo
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle of this book is "The Story of a Marriage." Well, it is that, in the same sense that "Moby-Dick" is the story of a whale. It is the story of growing up, of living a hardscrabble rural life, of learning the ways of the world, of discovering one's own strength, and of coming to terms with grief. Morgan creates a vivid main character, Julie, who is wholly believable and whom I rooted for all the way. I recommend this book.
Chanell Easton
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morgan has created the most simple yet fascinating characters, their words are so straightforward and the life they lead is so physically and mentally demanding. I was definitely left wanting more and to know how Julie and Hank ended up years later.

One of my favorite books of all time is Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker and Gap Creek has a very similar feel. It’s an easy and extremely enjoyable read.
Lisalu
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alright I know this book has been out for years, but I just got around to reading it. I was looking for something to occupy some time over winter break and this seemed to meet my requirement--just about 300 pages. More than that and I admit it, I get distracted! Happy with my choice. This was one of those books where I found myself sneaking away from other things I needed to do, to go back and read more. I guess I found out that I enjoy this type of historical fiction more than I realized. It ma ...more
Sally906
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele Chapman
This is an Oprah's Book Club selection by a prize winning author, which usually equates to the Midas Touch of Literature. However, it didn't ring true for me. Perhaps it was because it was a man writing a female character. It reminded me a great deal of someone writing about the sea who had never seen it or smelled it or touched it. The main character, Julie, came across as an abstract, conceptual woman rather than a real one.

There were whole passages in the book I started to skim because they
...more
Book Him Danno
Dec 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, the imagery was amazing. The newlyweds and their progression through life working a farm under the watchful eye of the owner who is elderly. The flood was frightening and saving the animals was so important and yet they lost so much. The relationships between the characters was good, the old man was interesting and his death made me cry. Julie worked like a dog, even being pregnant. They learned and lived and loved and then lost so much that they needed to start over. This is ...more
Lynne
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of a newly married couple who set out to make a home for themselves in the mountains of Appalachia. After reading this book I don't think I can ever complain again about having too much work to do. What the young woman of the story had to do daily just to survive, put me in my place.
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Robert Morgan was raised on his family's farm in the North Carolina mountains. The author of eleven books of poetry and eight books of fiction, including the bestselling novel Gap Creek, he now lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches at Cornell University.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
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“We don’t know a tenth of what there is to know,” Mr. Pendergast said. “Why we don’t even know a sixth.” 3 likes
“There is a smell that lung sickness gives people. It’s the smell of blood and congestion and fever. It’s the smell of blood mixed with air that hangs over a bed and fills a sickroom. It’s the smell of old blood, and blood that is fresh and already old. It’s the smell of a festering wound.” 1 likes
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