The final volume of Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap trilogy continues the story with all the wonderful characters from the previous volumes of life in Big Stone Gap Virginia. The main characters Ave Maria and Jack MacChesney are still facing challenges within their marriage. This time they are learning to cope with what happens as their daughter Etta turns from a child into a woman and their relationship with her changes.
It was a slow story to develop from book one but with the protagonist Ave Maria’s development from spinster, to marriage and discovery of her Italian heritage I was left wanting to know how her life had changed by reading the next volume. Big Cherry Holler finds Ave Maria and Jack eight years later and it is a gentle continuation of the ups and downs of their marriage and is again set both in America and the land of Ave Maria’s forefathers, Italy.
So to the third and I feel best volume continuing Ave Maria’s life story as she faces the changing mother daughter relationship with Etta and finally learns about the power of love. Once again we are transported from the mountains of Virginia to the Italian countryside and this time also to New York City. We are also kept up to date with big changes within the community of big stone Gap itself, where time has changed since Ave Maria the local spinster first took over the town pharmacy from the man she knew as her father.
By the end of these three novels I felt I knew the characters personally and actually enjoyed the trilogy more than I expected too, liking each volume just a little more!
I think it is possible to read each of the Big Stone Gap novels as stand alone stories but I would recommend reading all three to gain a full insight into the inhabitants of this southern town.