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Sugar Fork: A Novel

Sugar Fork: A Novel

by Walt Larimore


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In this sequel to Hazel Creek from award-winning author Walt Larimore, a loving rural family struggles to survive tragedy and cope with the invasion of modern ways in the 1920s.

THIS CAPTIVATING STORY takes place in the Sugar Fork Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains wilderness during 1925–1926. Nate Randolph and his five unique daughters wrestle to survive after the death of Callie (his wife and their mother) as well as to maintain their farm, forests, family, and faith against an evil lumber company manager seeking to clear-cut their virgin woodland.

A cast of delightful characters, including gypsy siblings, Cherokee Indians, a granny midwife, a world-famous writer, and even a flesh-and-blood Haint, join our heroine, sixteen-year-old Abbie Randolph, in her life-and-death struggle. Abbie falls in love for the first time, helps run the farm, and mothers her independent sisters while battling to preserve her faith when senseless murders threaten to destroy her family and way of life.

Will the Randolph family survive intact? Will the farm be saved? Only a miracle could make it happen.

With the march of the industrial age, especially industrial lumbering, the roaring twenties, Prohibition, the increasing momentum for a national park, and the onslaught of a modern world, trains, and radio communication, the traditional life and ways of our Southern Highlanders were about to change forever.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439141908
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Walt Larimore, M.D. is a noted physician, award-winning writer, and medical journalist who hosted the cable television show on Fox’s Health Network, Ask the Family Physician. He lives in Monument, Colorado.

Reading Group Guide

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Which of the Randolph sisters did you most like? Which one did you most identify with? Why?

2. Abbie and her sisters seemed particularly close to their father. Why do you think that was?

3. Abbie and her sisters hated the damage the lumber company inflicted on their valley, yet they also seemed to enjoy some of the luxuries the company provided (such as community events, ice cream, a movie theater). How do you think they would explain this apparent contradiction?

4. Although the moonshine whiskey was “medicinal,” Nate seemed to know it was being used for illegal purposes. Even if what he did was “legal,” was it right, especially knowing that people were using the product illegally?

5. At several points in the book, the locals (Maddie and Granville Calhoun, to name two) argued that the Prohibition was either wrong or evil or both. Do you think their arguments were valid? If so, why? If not, why?

6. The characters had a variety of feelings about the impact a national park might have on their valley. If you lived there, at that time, how would you have felt? Would you have favored the formation of a national park, even if it meant losing your home?

7. Dr. Andrew Keller was the lumber-company doctor. Did the locals trust him or just tolerate him? Why or why not? Explain your view.

8. Why did Wade Chandler come to the area? What do you think he was seeking? Were his motives altruistic or more self-centered? What evidence would you give to support your view?

9. Lillian Frye took advantage of an almost unknown law to help the girls. She admitted she was not following the “spirit of the law,” but rather “the letter of the law.” Was she right to do this, or not? Why?

10. The Haint, Jeremiah Welch, practiced an ancient tradition called sin eating. Why did the pastor consider the practice “pagan”? With what biblical teaching(s) would this custom clash?

11. How important to Abbie was her spiritual faith? How many spiritual disciplines did Abbie practice? How did these disciplines aid her in both happy and sad times? What spiritual disciplines do you need to develop in your life? How will you do this?

12. Many difficult and bad things happened to Abbie and her sisters during this story. Does God cause bad things to happen? Does he allow bad things to happen? How can God use difficult experiences and circumstances in your life?

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