In this final installment of the Big Stone Gap trilogy, Ms. Trigiani revisits the picturesque town of Big Stone Gap. Ms. Trigiani's latest is a treasure trove of folksy good humor that resonates with the trials and triumphs of one woman's family and her loving friends.

Avé Maria MacChesney has a difficult time adjusting to the fact that her 13-year-old daughter, Etta, is growing up and becoming distant. Ever present in the hearts and minds of the MacChesney family is the loss of Etta's brother Joe, when he was only four.

As Avé Maria continues to work as a pharmacist in the colorful town drugstore, she finds good fortune in her marriage to Jack, her greatest supporter. Even when she encounters would-be flame Pete Rutledge, her marriage stays strong. The trials of her life are far from over as evidenced when Avé's best friend, Iva Lou, faces breast cancer, and the residents of the small community rally together to support her.

Trips to her mother's native Italy give Avé an insight into the similarities of the community in Italy and Big Stone Gap. As Avé, Jack, and Etta delight in the beauty of Italy, they come to know Avé's Italian relatives. And Etta blossoms into a young woman under the watchful eye of family friend Stefano.

(Jul., 272 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick