“This is a story I seem to remember like it was yesterday . . . The day we moved to Green River, the road from Gap Creek was froze stiff as chalk. I wasn’t even five, but I remember that morning was cold. We got up in the dark and Papa built a big fire in the fireplace, burning up the things we didn’t need. All the stuff we had would fit in that one wagon, or it had to be left behind. I thought Velmer and my older sister, Effie, and me was going to ride on the wagon too, but Papa said there wasn’t no room. We’d have to walk.”
Strong-willed Annie Richards Powell, a preacher’s wife raised by hardscrabble dirt farmers, begins her story on the worst day in her family’s life: a day that arrived years after her family’s trip—by wagon and on foot—from Gap Creek, South Carolina, to Green River, North Carolina, and into the home where she would grow up with her siblings, Effie, Velmer, and, finally, Troy, the baby and golden boy. A resilient and clear-eyed narrator, she lets us watch as one-by-one the Richards children create their own histories, which include both triumphs and terrible losses in the face of the Great Depression and then World War II and its aftermath.
Through the Richards family, Morgan explores modern American history as it played out in the Blue Ridge Mountains—a region cut off from mainstream life until World War II took those mountain boys to fight in far-off lands and changed their world forever. The rough-hewn beauty of the land and its people are visible on every page of The Road from Gap Creek—a tribute to an ordinary family persevering through extraordinary times. This is Robert Morgan at his finest.
The saga of the Richards family began in Robert Morgan’s 1999 novel Gap Creek, an Oprah Book Club Selection that attracted hundreds of thousands of readers to its beguiling tale of the first year and a half of Annie’s parents’ marriage at the turn of the twentieth century. Now, in a masterful weaving of fact and fiction, Morgan introduces a new generation looking ahead to the uncertainties of the future, the struggle to define oneself, and the rediscovery of enduring love.