My Old True Love: A Novel

Front Cover
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2004 - Fiction - 289 pages
20 Reviews
Sheila Kay Adams brings us a novel inspired by the ballads of the English, Scottish, and Irish. These long, sad stories of heartbreak and betrayal, violence and love, have been sung for generations by the descendents of those who settled the Appalachian mountains in the 1700s. As they raised their children, they taught them first to sing, for the songs told the children everything they needed to know about life.

So it was with the Stanton family living in Marshall, North Carolina, during the 1800s. Even Larkin Stanton, just a baby when his parents die and he's taken in by his cousin Arty, starts humming before he starts talking. As he grows up, he hungrily learns every song he can, and goes head-to-head with his cousin Hackley for the best voice, and, of course, the best attentions of the women. It's not long before the two boys find themselves pursuing the affections of the same lovely girl, Mary, who eventually chooses Hackley for her husband.

But, just as in the most tragic ballads, there is no stowing away of emotions. And when Hackley leaves his wife under his cousin's care in the midst of the Civil War, Larkin finds himself drawn back to the woman who's held his heart for years. What he does about that love defies all his learning of family and loyalty and reminds us that those mournful ballads didn't just come from the imagination, but from the imperfections of the heart.

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Tying them into a plot did not work so well. - Goodreads
Shelia K. Adams' writing has honesty and integrity. - Goodreads
Was not a page turner. - Goodreads

Review: My Old True Love

User Review  - Betty McMahon - Goodreads

The author did a good job of capturing dialogue and culture of Appalachia circa the Civil War. But plot wise, I anticipated the ending of the book. Was not a page turner. I read it because of the old mountain songs in the book. Tying them into a plot did not work so well. Read full review

Review: My Old True Love

User Review  - Elizabeth-Ann Diehl - Goodreads

Summary: My Old True Love takes place in the Appalachian Mountains during the mid 1800's. The story begins with the birth of a boy named Larkin. The narrator, Arty, raises Larkin as her own son after ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

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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