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The Truest Pleasure

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  860 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
Ginny, who marries Tom at the turn of the century after her family has given up on her ever marrying, narrates THE TRUEST PLEASURE--the story of their life together on her father's farm in the western North Carolina mountains. They have a lot in common--love of the land and fathers who fought in the Civil War. Tom's father died in the war, but Ginny's father came back to w ...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published January 9th 1998 by Algonquin Books (first published January 10th 1995)
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Rachel M
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I would like to convince people that they should read this book. I don’t know exactly how he did this, but Robert Morgan got into the head of a woman and made her seem real on the page. I learned so much about myself in reading about the marriage of Ginny and Tom. She is so passionate about revivalist meetings, and he so adamantly against them. He spends all of his hours working hard on their farm, scheming about how to make every dollar he can. The real-ness of this couple’s Appalachian life to ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Robert Morgan, the author of Gap Creek, has written a description of the ordinary life of a family on an isolated North Carolina farm at the turn of the 20th century. It's a story of the nature of marriage. He means to tell the readers that we should look at our beloved every day to discover what he has given, what is positive in that life, not what is negative.

There is a lot of description that some readers may not enjoy, but it is just a wonderful story of an ordinary life that has a lesson to
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after Gap Creek and liked it even more. It stunned me and it haunts me, and I reread Brother Locke's letter and Ginny's ending ruminations over and over. This book made me more appreciative of other people's pain and frailties as we drag along all our shortcomings through the short time we're together on our earthly journey. Gotta read This Rock.
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this little novel. It was a pleasure to hold in my hand ... published slightly shorter than most books.

This is a story of a family; each of the members of the family have a good sense of themselves. They are hardworking ... they are just trying to survive in a harsh world. The author tells their story in such lovely poetic language.

I just love Ginny; she finds God in nature and cannot understand how people cannot find their joy in religion (chiefly her husband). Her older brother
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Set in rural America over 100 years ago, this is the story of the daughter that wasn't the pretty one nevertheless falling in love with a man 6 years her senior. She's inheriting acreage and the house from her father when he passes but for now he lives with them and eventually their children as time goes on. There was also a religion component with Pa and Ginny being drawn to the revivals and such while husband Tom wasn't a fan...I'm sure it's well researched and accurate to what daily life was ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book.

A simple book about two people who meet, fall in love, marry, have children, have issues, and make a life in the mountains of North Carolina. Written from Ginny's perspective, we learn how to cook, how to minister to illness, how to think about love, passion, and the glory of God. We learn why she loves tent revivals so much, and why she loves her husband. We also learn why she is so restless, and why she hates him for long periods of time.

Mostly, though, we learn about
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent book about family, relationships, marriage, faith, willfulness, love, jealousy, heart, and home. Tom and Ginny are characters that make you want to root for them. Not a beach read, but definitely a book you will think about long after you close the cover.
Sandy Clark
Robert Morgan's style reminds me of Janice Holt Giles'. Simple living in the early 20th century in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Simple, but not easy.
Pat Gwyn
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I always love to read about early life in the NC mountains. Robert Morgan is the author of Gap Creek and this follows the same time frame. As the new century begins , Ginny begins a new life as wife and mother. Tom has moved to her family farm which will one day be theirs and though they live a very hardscrabble life they are content. Soon however, we learn the one thing that they do not share is the love for brush arbor revivals where those attending lose themselves in the art of speaking in to ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will stay with the reader for a while. It evokes a specific time and place in that way some writers have that makes you believe you've been there and lived with those people. And it shows you real people, kind and mean, loving and spiteful, fill of wisdom at one moment and confused and lost feeling the next.

It's a lovely, lyrical book that may make you laugh or cry. It left me wondering how a man could look into a woman's soul so clearly and understand what made her. A pleas
May 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
i really liked 'gap creek' by the same author. this book has the same no-nonsense but elegant writing style about life a century ago. i won't say much about the story except that it is a vividly realistic look at life in the north carolina mountains with all its pains and pleasures. this story is about the relationship between a girl, the protagonist, and her new husband, their marriage and the survival of a family. She is religious, he is not; this is but one of the many obstacles they face in ...more
Kim Fowler
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm a lover of books about the mountains, and simple country people that have to kill hogs and ground their own cornmeal and chop wood to live...not to mention get thru illness with handed-down mountain medical wisdom.
But most important - an author that can make you feel like you are right there, sitting in the woods and understanding the world through that perspective that reminds you mother nature is in charge and to live in the day.
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
I finished this book over the Weekend. I liked this book, but not as much as Gap Creek. Morgan tells such good stories about people. His insight to what's going on in his main character's mind is amazing -- and his main characters in both Gap Creek and Truest Pleasure are women! The characters he creates are amazing. I always feel like I know them well and it's hard to say goodbye to them when the story is over.
Amy Kailey
Life gives you rotten lemons.

This was a very well written book, once again Robert Morgan hasn't let me down in terms of story-telling and originality. However, that being said, it was actually quite sad, and futile and leaves you feeling that life actually really sucks much of the time. So, an incredible Author, but I wouldn't read this one again.
Marjorie Davies
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
I did not really like this book. Even though I loved the narrator's ability to describe how she feels about things/people and issues in her life, and I felt I really understood her well, I HATED how the book ended. I also was very frustrated with the amount of time her husband and her spent at odds, not talkiing or touching.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I could hardly wait to finish this book. I read Gap Creek by this author, which I really enjoyed. This book, The Truest Pleasure, similar background, Appalachian country, Ginny and Tom newly married... This story just seemed to go on and was all I could do to finish this book!
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I chose this book on the promise of a depiction of rural Appalachian life in the 1900's. The passion, the use of simple language, descriptions, and challenges put to the characters were not, however, enough to carry me through...I often just left it unread for days on end.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good read looking into the lives of families in the old days. Admire how this author can describe a woman's feelings in such a way that you feel like you know her and feel her pain. This book was every bit as good as Gap Creek, which I absolutely loved! Now to read more of his books.
Leesa Knight
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bit slow and hard to get into. Really crap ending.
Teresa Mann
Sep 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Awful. Truly awful. Incredibly boring with zero plot.
Carrie Jolly
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well written book, if a bit strange at points. I read it because I found it in a little free library.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting story set in the mountains of North Carolina in the early 1900's. It has strikingly realistic dialogue. I'll look out for more from this author. Three and a half stars.
Davis Aujourd'hui
Oct 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a period book that speaks to a trap which is ever-increasing within these complex times in which we live. That trap is obsessive thinking and compulsive activity. It can manifest in the form of addiction. This can be drugs, alcohol, sex, food, relationships, gambling, among many others.

In this book, it manifests in religious frenzy for the heroine and workaholism for her husband. Yet any addiction initially has its roots in our deep desire for connection. Such is the case for these chara
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I don't need a lot to happen in a book in order to enjoy it, as long as the characters are learning and changing as they go. Ginny, the lead character in The Truest Pleasure had several revelations throughout the book, but she did not put them into practice and ended the book with as jumbled and confused thinking as when we met her at the start.
The book is very well written. I just wish the author would have distilled his important points instead of burying them in day-to-day life. His way is a
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had to upgrade my review on this book, because the characters and story stayed in my mind long after I had finished reading the book. Turn of the century life was hard and this story is at time difficult. However, Robert Morgan does an excellent job of developing the characters, Ginny and Tom. They have many difficulties and misunderstandings based on their fundamental views of the world. It is heartbreaking because you can tell that their long term goals are very similar but they lack the abi ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was purchased second hand and immediately loaned to my sister-in-law. It is the story of Ginny, a young woman with a strong mind and strong faith. She joins her father and brother when they go to revivals and feels the spirit work inside her. She eventually marries Tom, a hard working and gentle man, but their differences in faith leave them unevenly yoked and creates problems between them. In steps jealousy and anger and resentment.
Ginny and Tom tough out some difficult times and the
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Robert Morgan is one of the best Southern Literature authors I've ever read. This book really brings you back in time and makes you feel what it would have been like to be living in the turn of the century in the backwoods of America. The relationships he establishes between his characters is captivating and really draws you in. You come to know each one individually and understand the family dynamics. I am amazed how well he writes in the female voice of the main character. If his name was remo ...more
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I gave this 4 stars because it was very well written. The characters, especially Ginny, the wife, was especially extensive. Her voice narrates the book. It was very descriptive of farm life in the early 20's. For once, it didn't dwell on poverty, but more on what brought richness to the soul - the land, religion, working hard, relationships. Nevertheless, it wasn't a Pollyanna presentation but more eloquent and wise. Although this was an excellent read, I preferred the author's other book - Gap ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Ik vind het altijd bijzonder als je je kapot ergert aan de hoofdpersoon, maar desondanks wel verder blijft lezen. Mijns inziens is dit een goed boek dat een interessant kijkje geeft in een boerderij-leven begin 20ste eeuw. En wat daarnaast op een intelligente, subtiele manier de vraag stelt wat de betekenis en de waarde is van de ecstatische ervaringen (door de betrokkenen gezien als 'in de Geest zijn') waar de Pinksterbeweging/charismatische stroming zoveel nadruk op legt; maar zonder de lezer ...more
SJH (A Dream of Books)
I picked up this book because I'd previously really enjoyed 'Gap Creek' by Robert Morgan. However I found this quite disappointing. The story moved at a very slow pace and failed to hold my interest and I kept waiting for something significant to happen which never did. The central narrator, Ginny, never appeared fully rounded or characterised enough, so the whole book kind of washed over me rather than grabbing my attention properly.
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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.
More about Robert Morgan...

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