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It’s 1978 and 35-year-old Ave Maria Mulligan is the self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a sleepy hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains. As the local pharmacist, she’s been keeping the town folks’ secrets for years, but she’s about to discover a skeleton in her own family’s tidy closet that will blow the lid right off her quiet, uneventful life.Soon she finds herself juggling two marriage proposals, conducting a no-holds-barred family feud, directing the prestigious Outdoor Drama and keeping the town’s dysfunctional Rescue Squad on its toes.
The crazy-quilt of characters includes Jack MacChesney (“Jack Mac” to his friends), the stoic miner with coal dust on his hands but love in his heart; Iva Lou Wade, the sexpot Bookmobile librarian; Theodore Tipton, band leader extraordinaire; Preacher Elmo Gaspar, the snake-handling Freewill Baptist; and Pearl Grimes, a coal-miner’s daughter on the verge of a miraculous transformation, thanks to Ave’s intervention.