Christy by Catherine Marshall is a 447-page hardcover published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967, Book Club Edition. The dust jacket has a large chip on the cover, small chips, tears, and tanning along the edges. Inside, the book is pristine, with clean unmarked pages and tight binding. The condition is very good.
"Christy, I never know what to expect from you" is a comment flung at the beguiling heroine of this magnificent novel. Nor will the reader know what to expect. That is one reason among many why Christy may be destined to find her own place beside Jane Austen's Emma, Becky Sharp, the heroine of Rebecca and others whom readers will remember with delight.
Why did a nineteen-year-old girl want to leave her comfortable home to teach in a one room schoolhouse in an isolated cove in the Great Smokies? But Christy Huddleston, "eager to taste life to the full," wanted to do just that. From the moment she steps onto the station platform at El Pano that snowy January morning in 1912, her adventures begin; and they continue right on through the unforgettable last chapter. There are strange mountain customs that shatter Christy's illusions about life and make her face up o herself and what she believes; a love triangle which builds to the very end; humor, suspense and adventure, foot-tapping music--and yes, even the smells seem real.
The stage is titanic, with the mountains, blue and mauve and brooding, as the backdrop. The characters walk out of the pages as real persons: Alice Henderson, with her Quaker background and her rare wisdom, to whom lack of joy is heresy; Neil MacNeill, arrogant, enigmatic doctor who owes "his people" his love and protection; David Grantland, handsome, brash young preacher who thinks he can reform everyone to his own pattern; Fairlight Spencer, barefoot mountain woman, a princess in homespun with a mind athirst to learn; and some delightful children, like little Burl of the red cowlick and freckles, and Creed, clown of the schoolroom.
Here is a slice of life. And although is it specifically life in Appalachia in 1912, it is also life representative of all of us, in any time. Cutter Gap could be anywhere--"the Cove, the troubled Cove with its poverty and its smells, with so many problems, as if it embraced within the borders of one small kingdom a sampling of the lacerations of the whole world," indeed, of the very human problems which every man and woman faces today.