Many of the endorsements for “Hazel Creek” said this novel was much the same as the infamous “Christy” novels and while I never read “Christy”, only saw the movie, I can say I add my agreement to theirs.
Set in the back hills, the story has all the intricacies of how the people thought, talked and lived their lives. Tension and drama crowd the pages, but what I loved most about the story is how I as a reader, got to taste and experience these characters’ lives. Their struggles and desires.
The novel is a bit of a tear-jerker and provoked some wild swings of emotion from me. From fear (what. a. villain) to anger (at what the lumber company was doing to the mountain people). It has just about a bit of everything for every reading taste.
I do think in that “bit of everything for every reader” some of the story elements got lost. More focus was given to the lumber company at the beginning and end of the book, but I felt we lost that in the middle.
There were times I got a bit lost in all the setting and description, and towards the end I hurried the story just a bit to finish, but it has that quality about it, a quality rich in character and their lives. It’s a well-portrayed novel.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
More about the novel....
In the Hazel Creek Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains, Nathan and Callie Randolph, with their five unique daughters, wrestle to maintain their farm, forests, family, and faith against an unforgiving wilderness.
An evil lumber company manager is seeking by every means possible to pilfer their land and clear-cut their virgin forest. A cast of colorful characters, including a menacing stranger, gypsy siblings, a granny midwife, and a world-famous writer—even a flesh-and-blood Haint—collide in a gripping struggle of good and evil amid eruptions of violence and tragedy.
Our heroine, fifteen-year-old Abbie Randolph, has to help save her family’s farm and raise her sisters while preserving her faith. This important story, based on almost ten years of research and four years of living in the area, captures the speech, ways, and beliefs of these unique pioneers at a crucial and irreversible turning point in this Smoky Mountains community of the Southern Appalachians.
With the march of the industrial age, especially commercial lumbering, the traditional life and ways of our southern highlanders in general, and the Randolphs in particular, were about to change forever.