cover image MILK GLASS MOON


Adriana Trigiani, . . Random, $24.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-375-50618-5

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. (July 16)