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Milk Glass Moon

Cover of Milk Glass Moon

Milk Glass Moon

Big Stone Gap Series, Book 3

Milk Glass Moon, the third book in Adriana Trigiani's bestselling Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney as she faces the challenges and changes of motherhood with her trademark humor and honesty. With twists as plentiful as those found on the holler roads of southwest Virginia, this story takes turns that will surprise and enthrall the reader.

Transporting us from Ave Maria's home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Italian Alps, from New York City to the Tuscan countryside, Milk Glass Moon is the story of a shifting mother-daughter relationship, of a daughter's first love and a mother's heartbreak, of an enduring marriage that contains its own ongoing challenges, and of a community faced with seismic change.

All of Trigiani's beloved characters are back: Jack Mac, Ave Maria's true love, who is willing to gamble security for the unknown; her best friend and confidant, bandleader Theodore Tip-ton, who begins a new life in New York City; librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, who faces a life-or-death crisis. Meanwhile, surprises emerge in the blossoming of crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, the maturing of mountain girl turned savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, and the return of Pete Rutledge, the handsome stranger who turned Ave Maria's world upside down in Big Cherry Holler.

In this rollicking hayride of upheaval and change, Ave Maria is led to places she never dreamed she would go, and to people who enter her life and rock its foundation. As Ave Maria reaches into the past to find answers to the present, readers will stay with her every step of the way, rooting for the onetime town spinster who embraced love and made a family. Milk Glass Moon is about the power of love and its abiding truth, and captures Trigiani at her most lyrical and heartfelt.


From the Hardcover edition.

Milk Glass Moon, the third book in Adriana Trigiani's bestselling Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney as she faces the challenges and changes of motherhood with her trademark humor and honesty. With twists as plentiful as those found on the holler roads of southwest Virginia, this story takes turns that will surprise and enthrall the reader.

Transporting us from Ave Maria's home in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Italian Alps, from New York City to the Tuscan countryside, Milk Glass Moon is the story of a shifting mother-daughter relationship, of a daughter's first love and a mother's heartbreak, of an enduring marriage that contains its own ongoing challenges, and of a community faced with seismic change.

All of Trigiani's beloved characters are back: Jack Mac, Ave Maria's true love, who is willing to gamble security for the unknown; her best friend and confidant, bandleader Theodore Tip-ton, who begins a new life in New York City; librarian and sexpert Iva Lou Wade Makin, who faces a life-or-death crisis. Meanwhile, surprises emerge in the blossoming of crusty cashier Fleeta Mullins, the maturing of mountain girl turned savvy businesswoman Pearl Grimes, and the return of Pete Rutledge, the handsome stranger who turned Ave Maria's world upside down in Big Cherry Holler.

In this rollicking hayride of upheaval and change, Ave Maria is led to places she never dreamed she would go, and to people who enter her life and rock its foundation. As Ave Maria reaches into the past to find answers to the present, readers will stay with her every step of the way, rooting for the onetime town spinster who embraced love and made a family. Milk Glass Moon is about the power of love and its abiding truth, and captures Trigiani at her most lyrical and heartfelt.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Chapter One

    The Wise County Fair is my daughter's favorite event of the year, and I think it's safe to say that includes Christmas. Etta has been on her best behavior for the past two weeks, so perfect down to the smallest detail (including unassigned chores like making my bed and weeding my garden) that I'm worried.

    We have the window flaps of the Jeep down, and the warm August air whipping through is sweet with honeysuckle. Still, it is no match for Iva Lou's perfume, which wafts up to the front seat whenever we peel around a curve. Etta looks out the window for road signs, searching for proof that we're almost there. I've taken the quicker route, the valley road out of Big Stone Gap up to Norton. As we ascend the mountains in twilight, we pass Coeburn nestled in the valley below, where the cluster of lights twinkles like a scoop of emeralds. Etta smoothes her braids and settles back in her seat.

    "Here's the plan. First we eat," Iva Lou announces as she unfolds the special to the newspaper. "I myself am having a jumbo caramel apple with nuts, and if I have to go see Doc Guest for a bridge on Monday, then so be it. Them caramel apples are worth a molar."

    "I want the blue cotton candy," Etta decides.

    "I want a chili dog with onions," I reply.

    "I have a lot of money," Etta says proudly as she sifts through her change purse.

    "Ask Dad to spring for dinner. That will leave you more money for the games of chance."

    Etta smiles and carefully counts her money without lifting it out of the purse. I see a five-dollar bill folded neatly into a small square (some lucky clay-pigeon operator is about to score a windfall).

    "What if we can't find him?" she asks.

    "We'll find him."

    "Just go straight to the outdoor the-a-ter. He's up there with all them men checking out the rehearsal for Miss Lonesome Pine."

    "He built the stage," I remind Iva Lou in a tone that says, Don't start with that again.

    "That's as good a reason as any, then." Iva Lou meets my eye in the rearview mirror and winks.

    We find a parking spot under a tree overlooking the fairgrounds and climb out of the Jeep. Iva Lou checks her hair in the driver's side mirror and then smiles at us, ready to go. She's wearing a pair of dark blue denim pedal pushers and a red bandanna-print blouse tied at the waist. Her Diamonelle hoop earrings peek out from under her platinum bob like giant waterwheels. Iva Lou is ageless; you would never know she is fifty-something. Her look, however, is best viewed from a distance, like a fine painting. You don't want to get so close that you get lost in the details.

    Etta looks at the fairgrounds with a clinical eye, surveying the faded striped tents surrounded by torches like birthday candles. She smiles when she spots the Ferris wheel. "Ma, will you go on the rides with me?"

    "Sure." But Etta knows that at the last second in line, when we're ready to go up the metal plank, I'll send her father with her instead.

    "Do we have to go to the beauty pageant?" she asks.

    "I thought you liked it."

    "I like the dresses all right. The talent's always terrible." Etta shrugs. She's right. Last year, leggy blond Ellen Tierney, representing Big Stone Gap, did a dance routine to "Happy to Keep Your Dinner Warm"; her tap shoe flew off when she did a high kick, clocked a man in the first row, and knocked him out. The victim was rushed to the hospital and revived, but he may have the imprint of the metal tap on his forehead for life. "And I hate the physical-fitness part when they come out and jump around in bathing suits. Anybody can do that stuff."

    "Etta, hon, it don't take a lot...
About the Author-
  • Adriana Trigiani is the author of the bestselling Big Stone Gap series; Very Valentine; Brava, Valentine; Lucia, Lucia; The Queen of the Big Time; and Rococo, she has also written the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table as well as the young adult novels Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 24, 2002
    Fans of Trigiani's delightful trilogy (Big Cherry Holler; Big Stone Gap) will be sorry to part with Ave Maria MacChesney in this final installment. Readers who have followed Ave through her marriage at 35 to the rock-steady Jack, the death of her four-year-old son and all the ups and downs of family life will now witness her struggle to let go as she acknowledges her growing daughter's need for independence. In Ave's dealings with Etta as Etta changes from a stargazing 12-year-old tomboy to a strong-willed 18-year-old, the author reveals great insight into the minefield of mother-daughter relationships. Trigiani's unerring portrayal of the singular personalities that make up the small southwest Virginia town—the lively Iva Lou, Ave's best friend; gossipy Fleeta, who works at the Mutual Pharmacy with Ave; the town's Rock of Gibraltar, Spec Broadwater—brings humor and poignancy to Ave's richly drawn life in Big Stone Gap. Equally compelling are the scenes in Italy, when the three MacChesneys and Iva Lou visit Ave's birthplace and spend time with her Italian family. The folksy dialogue and unabashed sentimentalism can be cloying, but Ave's astringent insights and critical self-appraisal sharpen the tale. And as always, it is the day-to-day details of life in the charming backwater town of Big Stone Gap (including a recipe for "Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake") that make the story shine. Trigiani skillfully brings her compelling trilogy to a satisfying conclusion. Agent, Suzanne Gluck.

  • AudioFile Magazine The conclusion to the Big Stone Gap trilogy takes us back into the lives of Ave Maria and Jack Mac, Etta and Iva Lou in the Southern town of Big Stone Gap. Ave Maria struggles with her teenaged daughter, Iva Lou's, health and her marriage to Jack Mac. They travel the Blue Ridge Mountains and explore New York City while their relationship strengthens and deepens. As Adriana Trigiani reads this story in her subtle southwest Virginia accent, enunciating her words in that lispy Southern drawl, the familiar small-town characters come alive. Trigiani's narration works well with the first-person narrative of Ave Maria, creating the illusion that the author is telling the tale of her own life. MILK GLASS MOON is a snapshot of the comfort of small-town living where everyone knows you and your business. M.B.K. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine
  • USA Today "Trigiani is a wonderful storyteller. . . . Readers will enjoy Big Cherry Holler immensely."
  • Southern Living "Fans of the first novel will rejoice. . . . Ave heads to Italy to find strength and healing in her ancestry. . . . Trigiani deftly juxtaposes the culture of the Appalachian mountains with that found in the Italian Alps."
  • The Dallas Morning News "Heartwarming . . . Everything that really matters is here: humor, romance, wisdom, and drama."
  • The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) "Trigiani can make you laugh in one sentence then break your heart the next. Her Big Stone Gap series is sure to become the next Mitford."
  • The New York Times Book Review "As comforting as a mug of chamomile tea on a rainy Sunday."
  • People "Delightfully quirky . . . chock-full of engaging, oddball characters and unexpected plot twists."
  • The Sunday Oklahoman "In this delightful tale of intimate community life in the hamlet of Big Stone Gap, the characters are as real as the ones who live next door."
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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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Milk Glass Moon
Milk Glass Moon
Big Stone Gap Series, Book 3
Adriana Trigiani
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