Yvonne's Reviews > Gap Creek

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan
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Apr 01, 2012

really liked it
Read on April 01, 2012

This is the 2nd book I've read recently that's told from the strong female character's perspective and the book was written by a man. I am in awe of that, it's just great writing and story telling. Set at the beginning of the 20th century 1899 - 1900, in the mountains of the Carolina's, memories of the civil war are fresh and vibrant. A young bride, 16 year old Julie, and her husband Hank who is 17 or 18, move to Gap Creek to set up housekeeping. Gap creek is sandwiched in a deep narrow valley, far from the mountain tops they both grew up on in North Carolina. Julie and Hank keep house for the owner of the property, Mr. Pendergast, who is an old widower, in lieu of paying rent.
But a series of situations and circumstances follow one after the other, as life takes hold of Julie and Hank and hits them as hard as possible, challenging them to even survive.
Their marriage is a rather silent affair, there's no time to talk when you have to work constantly and so hard to have food, a clean home, look after animals, and on and on. Julie works harder than anyone, she can chop wood, butcher a hog, cook, can, clean, and fix just about anything. Hard work is all she knows besides the love of her family. But it's through work that a person is defined, if you don't work hard on the land, you can starve. Hard work helps you cope with grief, disappointment and focuses you on the next day and the future.
And there is always something to be done, and it's always back breaking. Going to the spring to get water, to put on the outside stove, to boil the clothes and do laundry. Nothing is easy.
As Julie and Hank feel their way to getting to know each other, to defining their role and place within their young, fragile marriage, they never lose hope. And that is the biggest theme in this wonderful story of courage, hardship and love. Never give up, never lose hope, no matter what life throws at us. Easier said than done, but eventually Julie and Hank learn to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.
Simply and beautifully written, Julie is a strong, smart but humble, down to earth young woman, who only knows one way, and that's forward. She is moral, and honest and willing to learn. A true to life female character. And really, Julies story is almost every woman's story in one way or another. Thank you Robert Morgan, you are a very insightful man.
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