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4.5 39
by Catherine Marshall

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At nineteen, Christy Huddleston left home to teach school in the Smokies—coming to know and care for the wild mountain people, with their fierce pride, terrible poverty, and dark superstitions.

Adventure, romance, and faith come together in this inspiring coming-of-age story by one of America's cherished writers

In 1912, and against the wishes of her


At nineteen, Christy Huddleston left home to teach school in the Smokies—coming to know and care for the wild mountain people, with their fierce pride, terrible poverty, and dark superstitions.

Adventure, romance, and faith come together in this inspiring coming-of-age story by one of America's cherished writers

In 1912, and against the wishes of her parents, nineteen-year-old Christy Huddleston leaves her life of privilege and ease to become a missionary teacher in an impoverished and isolated valley in the Smoky Mountains. The job turns out to be more difficult—and rewarding—than she had anticipated, as she comes to know and care for the wild mountain people with their fierce pride, terrible poverty, dark superstitions, and their yearning for beauty and truth.

Her faith is severely tested—by her students and by the suffering of the people she comes to love. When her dearest friend is taken by a typhoid epidemic, Christy questions the sovereignty and power of God.

And when two remarkable young men fall in love with her—the pastor who is drawn to her courage and independence, and the non-Christian doctor who is drawn to the light of Christ shining through her—her heart is torn between love and desire.

Based on the life of author Catherine Marshall's mother, Leonora Whitaker, Christy has sold over ten million copies since it was first published in 1967 and is the inspiration for a new PAX television mini-series of the same name. Christy is the novel that helped define Christian fiction as we know it today, and now—for the first time—this beautifully told tale of love and faith is available in a trade paper edition.

Author Biography: The late, best-selling author Catherine Marshall wrote a number of books, including Christy, A Man Called Peter, Beyond Our Selves, The Helper, Adventures in Prayer, and Something More.

Editorial Reviews

Pasadena Star News
Deeply moving. . . filled with suspense adventure, humor, and even comedy.
Dallas Times Herald
Wonderful. . . an epic novel.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A novel of celebration…wholesome, inspiring…Enjoyable reading.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“A powerfully moving book of great depth.”
Boston Globe
“An inspiring story. With skill, Catherine Marshall has described human qualities common to all people everywhere.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“It has something that keeps the reader reading…Relevant and heart-opening…Rich, dramatic.”

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Oasis Audio
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6.50(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


Only my father saw me to the Asheville station that Sunday morning in 1912. Mother had gotten up early to fix us a hot breakfast. It was one of those moments that would be as sharp and real in my mind years later as it was that January morning: that particular look of love and longing in mother's eyes; the smell of the starch in her crisp white apron; the hissing of the pine resin in the big iron stove; the lake of melted butter in the steaming mound of hominy grits on my plate.

Then father had called from the front room, "Time to start!" And my brother George, hearing the announcement, had stumbled out of bed and down the stairs to the landing, where he had stood leaning sleepily on the banister, tousled hair in his eyes, to tell me good-bye.

"Have to go," father repeated from the doorway. "The engine's running. I had a time cranking the car in this cold."

In the gray light before dawn, the railroad station had a wraithlike look. I saw with a strange leap of heart that the train was going to be pulled by Old Buncombe, a favorite engine on the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad. The engine was painted green with gold trim and lettering and there were big brass ornaments on its headlight. The billows of smoke pouring out of Old Buncombe's smokestack looked blacker than usual against the background of new-fallen snow. As father carried my bag on down the platform, he was trying to be jovial, teasing me as if I were nine and not nineteen. He still considered me too young to go off alone, especially on a wild adventure like teaching school in a mountain cove of which no member of our family nor anyone in Asheville, as far as he could discover, had ever seen or even heard.

I had battled long and hard with him and mother for the chance to do this. All of us Huddlestons have a stubborn streak, no doubt inherited from our Scottish ancestors. How well I knew that it was this quality in father that had earned him so many business successes. And yet this time it was I, not he, who had gotten my way.

But walking along the platform that January morning, the elation I felt at this victory over my parents struggled with other feelings. Father was too heavy now with iron-gray hair. Tenderness for him welled up in me. Impulsively I stuck my right hand into the pocket of his overcoat.

"My hand's cold," I said as if a childish gesture needed an explanation--but he knew. His left hand covered mine in the coat pocket.

"Girlie," he asked suddenly (that was what he always called me at sentimental moments), "do you really think you have enough money to get you through till payday?"

"Plenty, father. Yes--thanks."

"Well, twenty-five dollars a month isn't going to go far." His voice was gruff with emotion.

"Probably for the first time in my life there won't be any temptation to spend money. It will be good for me." I was trying to sound gay. "Right in line with your ideas, father. For all I know there may not be a single store in Cutter Gap."

Then we were mounting the steps to the train. I was to ride the coach, for it was only a six-hour trip. There was that certain smell of coal dust that railroad cars had: grime in every crevice and in the corners of the window ledges, brass spittoons, a potbellied stove in the rear, sacks of grain and produce piled toward the back, a lot of people. I marveled that so many would get up to catch a train at six-thirty in the morning.

Father found me an empty place and I sank down on the scratchy red plush seat, with my suitcase on the floor beside me. The whistle blew shrilly. Father reached out for me; the tweed of his big coat was rough against my face. "Don't forget now--soon as you get there, write us. Want to know you've arrived safely." Trying to be playful, he pinched my cheek--and was gone.

I saw father standing on the platform talking to the old conductor. Once he pointed in my direction, so I knew from long experience what he was saying. "My daughter's in there. Take care of my girl." It was embarrassing. After all, I was too old to want father to do this, too young to be flattered.

Then the conductor was waving his arms and shouting, "All a-boarrrd!" He mounted the steps and noisily clicked the guardrail shut. Old Buncombe sputtered and wheezed with the familiar chuff... chuff ... chuff. Our car jerked forward, the one behind slamming into us. The door at the front of the coach swung crazily, but finally the jerking and the bumping smoothed out and the telephone poles were sliding past.

Across the aisle a country woman with a red-faced squalling baby jiggled the child up and down, back and forth, on her ample lap. Then when the crying did not stop, she opened up her shirtwaist to let the infant nurse. The man in front of me was lighting up a pipe filled with home-grown tobacco that stung my throat and made my eyes water.

After Budford, North Carolina, the conductor began moving down the aisle gathering tickets. The old man's blue serge suit was shiny at the elbows and knees. I fervently hoped that he would not mortify me before the other passengers by telling me that he would take good care of me, so I turned pointedly toward the window and pretended to look at the white fields and rising hills. What I actually saw reflected in the window glass was a figure so slender that it should have belonged to a much younger girl. I threw back my shoulders and took a deep breath, trying to fill out my new fawn-colored coatsuit a little better. The blue eyes beneath the piled-up dark hair stared back at me quizzically.

"Ticket, please. You're Christy Huddleston, aren't you?"

I nodded, hoping that if I managed the proper dignified expression he would notice that I was simply another adult passenger. After all, this was not my first train trip, not by any means. The past year and a half at Flora College in Red Springs I had taken the train both ways, a trip of three hours, and once I had taken the sleeper to my aunt's home in Charleston on the coast. But this worldly experience seemed lost on the conductor.

"I'm Javis MacDonald," he went on. "I've known your father a long time." He punched my ticket, handed it back. "So you're bound for El Pano, young lady. Your father said you were going to teach school. In El Pano?"

"No--in a new school--seven miles or so behind El Pano, back in Cutter Gap."

Mr. MacDonald rubbed his chin whiskers reflectively. His eyes took on a wary look. He seemed about to speak, thought better of it, but then finally said impulsively, "That Cutter Gap is right rough country. Only last week followin' a turkey shootin' match, one man got tired of shootin' turkeys and shot another man in the back. Well--probably I oughten to be tellin' you, but you'll be hearin' the likes soon enough."

Meet the Author

Catherine Marshall, New York Times best-selling author of 19 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, a teacher of mountain children in poverty-stricken Tennessee, the story of Christy captured the hearts of millions in a CBS television series. A beloved international writer and speaker, Catherine’s enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 20 million readers.

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Christy (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was given a copy of Christy when I visited my grandmother when I was about 10 years old. Since then I have owned four different paperback copies and have read and reread each one so many times the covers have fallen off! The story is inspiring featuring love, adventure, heartbreak and drama all set in the brutal back drop of turn of the century Appalachian Mountains. The story's main heroine Christy is voluntarily but unwittingly plucked from her very sheltered life in city and put into what is still one of the most rural areas of America. Marshall's telling of the story through Christy offers a wonderful window into the rough, raw yet beautiful and soulful life in the 'hills'.
nmmama43 More than 1 year ago
I love this book and have read it numerous times over the years - definitely a keeper.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book turned out to be the total opposite of what I thought it would have been. It was a romance, mystery, and Christion-based novel and I enjoyed every page!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I had to read it for summer reading going into the 8th grade, and I thought it was going to be boring. It turned out to be exactly the opposite. This book mixes mystery with romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
Christy is a beautiful book that illustrates quality morals and character-building traits. This book is now considered by most a vintage classic, especially in the Christian community. Due to some of the content, I recommend it for high school students and adults. In 1912, Christy Huddleston is a courageous 19-year-old, daring to shed her high-society life to become a schoolteacher in a little community set among the Appalachian Mountains. The rugged little village of Cutter Gap is quite different than young Christy's imaginings before leaving her comfy home. Nonetheless, she takes her monthly wages to work as the mission schoolteacher and does the best teaching she can, while she herself is learning on the job. The culture of the mountain folk is quite steeped in Scottish culture and beliefs. Each of the "clans" are set in their ways and don't take too kindly to change. Whether they want it or not, once plucky Christy Huddleston arrives, Cutter Gap won't be quite the same. Although the reader may not have encountered the things that Christy does, most will still relate to her bold-but-impressionable inner nature. For example, I may not have to command a schoolroom full of 70 children, battle against the moonshiners in town, bear the sights of crude surgery performed in a rustic setting, or swallow the smells of too many people living in a two-room cabin... but as I read this book, I can understand her worries, discomforts, and also the utter joys, as will any reader. It is a book to be cherished. The story is inspired by the true experience of the author's mother, Leonora Whitaker, when she was a young and impressionable schoolteacher. Additionally, I was pleased to learn that the author herself, Catherine Marshall, was married to famed minister Peter Marshall – and I'm rather excited to read her biography of him, A Man Called Peter. NOTE to the discerning reader & parents: There are 2 minor things to mention, although I don't feel that they mar the book on the whole. (1) A young teenage girl is taken advantage of by a man, and her story is told in some detail. (2) Some foul words are used throughout the book. (For these reasons I recommend the book for older teens and adults.) Christy by Catherine Marshall is certainly a new favorite novel of mine. One day it will be worth a re-read.
QueenJody More than 1 year ago
I bought my copy of Christy when they announced that it was going to be a TV movie. I was in awe and inspired by Christy and her wiliness to give up all that she's known to teach these mountain children (and families). I plan on reading this book to my daughters in a few years as I know they too will enjoy the setting, characters and the passion of Christy and the children. A MUST read!
songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
This was a really enjoyable book, and I feel like I learned quite a bit about the culture of some of the mountain people of that time period. Their theories and practices were fascinating. I enjoyed how the narrator confronted her fears and grew within the book. She comes to work at a church mission so Christianity is prevalent throughout without being pushy. I am not so sure how I feel about the ending though. It was even greater knowing that it was based not only on a true story, but on the experiences of the author's own mother.
wackyweirdo More than 1 year ago
I'm reviewing lots of classic books that I've read, and this one I reccomend hightly! It's very good for girls (or even boys) 12 or over. Christy is a christian book and teaches good values, but it has plenty of excitment. Romance, adventure, hardship, lessons: It has lots of everything! (Read more of my reviews)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Anne or Green Gables I have read, along with little Women. I have read some of the little house on the prarie. When I was assigned to read this book for school I thought it was going to be some dumb western book I would aganize over reading and my mom would have to get after me everyday to finish it. But this was not the case. I loved it. It was so inspiring to a young Christian girl. Even to girls who are not Christain, I think it would still find a way into their heart becasue of the love and emotions attached to every sentence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must read for all young women. I first read this book a couple years ago and recently found it and had to read it again. You won't be able to put this one down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Christy' should be read by every girl. It is a wonderful read in which I think almost every young woman can somehow relate to Christy. This book will make you laugh, cry, and smile. It has a rewarding ending, and everyone comes to love Christy's mentor, Alice, who has a passion for God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is soooo great! If you like historic fiction mixed with a little romance it is super!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a reason this book has lasted several decades! It's exciting and hard to put down. There's just a bit of mystery, heartache, and romance. It was only slightly predictable at times; in fact, I thought I knew who she was going to end up with (and I couldn't stand him!) and then in a twist, it turned out to be someone else. It was truly inspiring. One character is a very wise woman who is full of lessons for Christy about Christ and life in general. While I read the book, I learned much from her as well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Really long, but worth your while, this story will enchant you to come and experience life in a new way. I first read it in the eight grade, and my copy is getting a little tattered. Don't get bogged down in all the details and relations, this is a 'big picture' book. And what is the big picture? I wouldn't want to spoil the ending. But make sure you have tissues handy, because it has a habit of playing with emotions and is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is an awesome book. i was a little disappointed about who christy picked to marry but its a great book. it moved me. i couldnt put the book down. i dont know anyone that doesnt love this book.... READ IT Y'ALL its awesome and truthful. GOD BLESS AND BE WITH OUR TROUPS IN IRAG...GOD BLESS THEM AND THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY...freedom doesnt come FREE
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to find a book to read then take a test on it for a book report and at first I didn't think it was going to be good and after I read the 1st chapter I couldn't put it done.