I did not know that this was a sequel to Big Stone Gap and neither did I feel that you had to read that one to enjoy this book.
Ave Maria has been married for eight years to Jack and the marriage on the surface seems fine. Like all intimate relationships it is only the two people involved who actually know the status of their relationship and both Ave Maria and Jack feel that some vital element has gone from their marriage. Both are very much in love with each other but over the last few years and the death of their young son of four has put a strain on the relationship. Added to this is Jack's recent redundancy from his mining job. He knows no other work neither is he even willing to consider other options right now.
There are lots of very interesting characters in the story all contributing to this coming of age of a marriage really. You get experts on every subject under the sun in this little town all thinking they know the very best and offering the advice they think is necessary.
A visit Italy hoping that the holiday would cement ties in a fragile marriage is the hope that Ave Maria has. At the last minute Jack backs out and this puts Ave Maria on the spot. She does go to Italy and what she finds there tests her relationship with Jack more and more. Does she still want to remain married to Jack or is she willing to fly into the unknown.
This is not just a story of Ave Maria and Jack. It is a story of how a community backs one up and how family all come together to support one of their own. In the present context of privacy and wanting "one's own space" this is a refreshing throwback to the times of all for one and one for all. Maybe difficult to actually follow through in present day times but it really works well in this story.
I am hoping that with this read my reading mojo comes back. This week has certainly been better than the last so hopefully it gets better as the days go by. Very dull at home now that my daughter has gone back to Melbourne but thats life!