As elderly Abbie Randolph reminisces about growing up in the 1920's, we are taken back to a time when faith, family and bone-wearying work are foremost in mountains that are full of both beauty and danger. I look forward to the rest of this series about the Randolph family and their neighbors in Western Carolina.
I loved this book. Author Walt Larrimore was a doctor first, in a small town not far from Hazel Creek. His earlier books were full of funny, and sometimes poignent, experiences from that time. His compassion--his "bedside manner"--shines through in his treatment of the characters in Hazel Creek, his first novel. You care about these people. And you care about the things, both tragic and triumphant, that happen to them. It's a good story, well told.
Many of the endorsements for "Hazel Creek" said this novel was much the same as the infamous "Christy" novels and while I never read "Christy", only saw the movie, I can say I add my agreement to theirs.
Set in the back hills, the story has all the intricacies of how the people thought, talked and lived their lives. Tension and drama crowd the pages, but what I loved most about the story is how I as a reader, got to taste and experience these characters' lives. Their struggles and desires.
The novel is a bit of a tear-jerker and provoked some wild swings of emotion from me. From fear (what. a. villain) to anger (at what the lumber company was doing to the mountain people). It has just about a bit of everything for every reading taste.
I do think in that "bit of everything for every reader" some of the story elements got lost. More focus was given to the lumber company at the beginning and end of the book, but I felt we lost that in the middle.
There were times I got a bit lost in all the setting and description, and towards the end I hurried the story just a bit to finish, but it has that quality about it, a quality rich in character and their lives. It's a well-portrayed novel.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.