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Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Gap Creek (1999)

by Robert Morgan

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2,454463,587 (3.55)59
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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
The cover claims this is an Oprah's Book Club selection--I can't say I cared much for her choice.

The story is mostly about Julie Harmon Richards, and most of it takes place after she married Hank Richards. I admire Julie's work ethic and her ability to push forward no matter what discouragements life put in her path. I think Hank really loves Julie, but he's not always much of a husband to her. Though I realize that this was set in a time when women didn't have all the opportunities they do today, I have to wonder if Julie really was better off with Hank or if she should have left him.

Hank barely works in this novel--he has a job when they first get to Gap Creek--but as we later learn, he loses it when he hits a boss. I'm never clear on whether he really was searching for work or if he just assumed no one would hire him. He does go out an hunt occasionally and works around the house and farm at time, but most times we hear that Julie is doing the work not Hank in the narrative. I do hope he helped her with planting etc. I do wonder if they will make it as a couple long-term.

Hank also likes to blame Julie and call her names. Though I do think he had a right to blame her when she gave away Pendergast's money to a (probably false) attorney, he did not have to call her a stupid heifer. It's almost justice when Hank is also tricked into giving away money (to someone claiming to be Pendergast's daughter). One would think they'd have learned from the first instance to ask for proof. In fact, by the third time someone comes around claiming to represent the heirs, I have to wonder if he really is an attorney--though since he comes with the pastor, we have to hope he truly is an attorney representing the heirs.

I wondered if Hank was true to Julie. It sort of seemed like the author hinted that Hank might have had relations with Carolyn when she visited them and neither admitted it to Julie.

It's a shame that they have to leave after doing all the work to plant crops and put up provisions. ( )
  JenniferRobb | Jul 8, 2018 |
When I first read this many years ago the hard luck and endless work were what stood out for me the most. This time what stood out was the wisdom and gentle humor about human nature along with the simple but eloquent wording, especially in the prayers. Sometimes the characters frustrated me and sometimes they broke my heart. ( )
  wandaly | Sep 20, 2017 |
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 are 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 in the inside because of how he easily snap and breakdown during problems.

I know that other reviews on this book were not that good but for me, I enjoyed reading it. It shown us that marriage is not pure bliss and that couples must be headstrong and should help each other in times of struggles. And before I could forget, I was really amazed that a man written this because of how he portrayed women/wives stronger than them, guys. ( )
  fugou | Aug 14, 2017 |
It would have been less painful to just slit my wrists and get it over with. Rarely have I read a more bleak book. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Great read. I read this several years ago. Made me appreciate the blessings I have! Gave me an appreciation of people's true hardhsips. I'd recommend this book. I'll likely read it again. ( )
  homeschoolmimzi | Nov 28, 2016 |
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Robert Morgans Gap Creek is een adembenemende liefdesroman. Eenvoudig en teder verteld.
For my daughter Laurel
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I know about Masenier because I was there.
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Book description
There is a most unusual woman living in Gap Creek. Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her. She is just a teenager when her brother dies in her arms. The following year, she marries Hank and moves down into the valley. Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work. To survive, they must find out whether love can keep chaos and madness at by. (0-7432-0363-1)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743203631, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, January 2000: Robert Morgan's Gap Creek opens with one wrenching death and ends with another. In between, this novel of turn-of-the-century Appalachian life works in fire, flood, swindlers, sickness, and starvation--a truly biblical assortment of plagues, all visited on the sturdy shoulders of 17-year-old Julie Harmon. "Human life don't mean a thing in this world," she concludes. And who could blame her? "People could be born and they could suffer, and they could die, and it didn't mean a thing.... The world was exactly like it had been and would always be, going on about its business." For Julie, that business is hard physical labor. Fortunately, she's fully capable of working "like a man"--splitting and hauling wood, butchering hogs, rendering lard, planting crops, and taking care of the stock. Even when Julie meets and marries handsome young Hank Richards, there's no happily-ever-after in store. Nothing comes easy in Julie Harmon's world, and their first year together is no exception.

Throughout the novel, Morgan chronicles Julie's trials in prose of great dignity and clarity, capturing the rhythms of North Carolina speech by using only the subtlest of inflections. Clearly the author has done his research too--the descriptions of physical labor practically leap off the page. (Suffice to say, you'll learn far more about hog slaughtering than you ever dreamed of knowing.) Yet he resists the temptation to make his long-suffering characters into saints. Julie simmers with resentment at being her family's workhorse, and Hank flies into a helpless rage whenever he feels that his authority is questioned. In novels like The Truest Pleasure and The Hinterlands, Morgan proved his ability to create memorable heroines. In Gap Creek, he writes with great feeling--but not a touch of sentimentality--about a life Julie aptly calls "both simple and hard."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:08 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel on the harsh life in the Appalachian Mountains at the turn of the century. The heroine is Julie Harmon whose work load includes hauling water, butchering a hog, rendering lard, plucking a turkey, baking and preserving--all described in detail.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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