My Old True Love

My Old True Love

4.5 4
by Sheila Kay Adams, Adams
     
 

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In tones as warm and rich as the sun shinging on his Appalachian home, Larkin Stanton sings the country ballads of his heritage. Even before he could talk, Larkin would hum along with his Granny as she warbled. And though orphaned at birth, Larkin was never alone–born as he was into the clannish, protective Scottish community of the North Carolina mountains

Overview

In tones as warm and rich as the sun shinging on his Appalachian home, Larkin Stanton sings the country ballads of his heritage. Even before he could talk, Larkin would hum along with his Granny as she warbled. And though orphaned at birth, Larkin was never alone–born as he was into the clannish, protective Scottish community of the North Carolina mountains in the 1840s and placed under the care of his silver-tongued cousin Arty.

As he grows, Larkin feeds on the subtleties of singing. When he goes head-to-head with his cousin Hackley, their ballad contests produce songs that bring a lump to the throat. And as the boys mature, their competition spreads to the wooing of Mary, the prettiest girl around. But shortly after Hackley wins her hand, he must fight in the Civil War. Left behind, Larkin finds himself inexorably drawn to the woman he has always loved. And what he does next will live on in the mournful ballads of his hills forever.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Celebrated Appalachian folk singer Sheila Kay Adams distinguishes an otherwise tired Civil War love story with the tragic ballads and backwoods rhythm passed down through generations of her family in her first novel, My Old True Love. Hackley and Larkin are rivalrous cousins raised as brothers in the North Carolina mountains and bred on the songs of their ancestors. Predictably, they both fall for Mary, a singular Appalachian beauty. Hackley soon wins her affections and marries, only to be whisked away by the Confederate draft. Left in Larkin's care, Mary swoons for the other cousin, inviting tragedy into their country lives. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Loosely based on the author's family history, a fine first novel about doomed love and hardscrabble lives in a 19th-century Appalachian mountain community. Narrator Arty Norton begins her tale in 1845 with her widowed aunt's death in childbirth. The extended family takes in orphaned Larkin; nine-year-old Arty becomes his beloved surrogate mother, her scapegrace younger brother Hackley his closest friend. Later, the two young men fall in love with Mary Chandler, who marries Hackley but fails to stop his womanizing. Larkin is still yearning for her when the inhabitants of Sodom, North Carolina, are swept up in the Civil War, scathingly depicted by Arty as a brutal conflict with no meaning for the poor people who are forced to fight and suffer in it anyway. Hackley dies, and Mary marries Larkin, but the wounds of the past cannot be healed so easily. Adams (stories: Come Go Home with Me, 1995) is a well-known performer of the traditional ballads brought by settlers from the British Isles to Appalachia, and her text is permeated with the same tragic vision and keening rhythms. She has an equally faultless ear for the cadences of ordinary folks' speech, particularly as voiced by her narrator. In contrast to her religious Mommie (their contentious yet loving relationship is one of the many richly nuanced portrayals here), Arty is salty, sexy, and sharp-tongued. Marriage at 14 and a subsequent flock of babies don't smooth her edges or dull her intelligence as she observes the intertwined lives of her kin and neighbors. Looking back from the vantage point of 1919 ("I am older than God's dog"), she remembers hunger and hardship, good deeds and bad, jealousy and hatred but most of all love, "thegreatest of all . . . it ain't always been easy, but Lord has it been worth it."Deeply satisfying storytelling propelled by the desires of full-bodied, prickly characters, set against a landscape rendered in all its beauty and harshness. Author tour. Agent: Stella Connell/Connell Agency
From the Publisher
“As passionate and eventful as an Irish ballad.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I laughed, I cried. I felt everything I remember feeling as a child.”
–Dolly Parton

“Sheila Kay Adams can write the bark off a tree. . . . [Her] intimacy with mountain culture ranks with that of Lee Smith.”
–The Roanoke Times

“Deeply satisfying storytelling propelled by the desires of full-bodied, prickly characters set against a landscape rendered in all its beauty and harshness.”
–Kirkus Reviews

“Adams can make you laugh. And she can make you clear your throat and wipe at the corners of your eyes from emotion. This is no small thing. She has the gift.”
–Chattanooga Times Free Press

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565124073
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
01/04/2004
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.76(h) x 1.12(d)

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Meet the Author


Sheila Kay Adams is an acclaimed performer of Appalachian ballads passed down for seven generations through her own ancestors. She has been a featured performer in several documentary films, served as Technical Director for the film Songcatcher, contributed to The Last of the Mohicans, and was cohost and coproducer of Public Radio's Over Home. She performs year-round at major festivals throughout the United States, as well as in the U.K. She has three children and lives with her husband, Jim Taylor, in Madison County, North Carolina, where she was born.

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My Old True Love 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great author would love to see more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this years ago and am ordering it now so I can read it again. I felt raw emotion throughout this read. The writer entwines poems and melodies throughout this book that interact with the plot and characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author weaves a tale using beautiful mountain dialect and song. Anyone who loves reading about mountain traditions and the old ways will love this book.