Colorful characters you'll love to meet: My review of "Sugar Fork" By Walt Larimore

Sugar Fork: A Novel


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.


Featuring colorful characters and vivid descriptions, Sugar Fork is sure to delight readers who enjoy historical fiction. I loved revisiting the characters I grew to care about in the first book in the series, "Hazel Creek", especially Abbie as she heroically faces heart-breaking events that threaten to break her. The book reminds me of reading the Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, because it hearkens back to a simpler time and place where people lived close to the land and they struggled to grow with the times while holding on to the important things of the past. My heart broke for the Randolph girls as they faced disappointment and loss, and yet it likewise celebrated with them as they were able to also achieve victories as well. Although I didn't find that this book held my interest as much as Hazel Creek did, I again found that Larimore has written a satisfying read that entertains on many levels, and includes some fascinating historical details. The specter of the "haint", Jeremiah, was a favorite of mine, as I imagined stumbling into such a man while roaming the hills of North Carolina! I loved that he plays an integral part in this story (I won't give away more for fear of giving away too much). The author has effortlessly woven faith into this rich tale, and I turned the last page longing for the simplicity of life captured within the pages.

I strongly recommend this book and award it 4 out of 5 stars.

Book was provided courtesy of the publisher, Howard Books (Simon and Schuster) for the purposes of this unbiased review.


Walt LarimoreWalter L. Larimore has been called one of "America's best-known family physicians" and listed in “Distinguished Physicians of America,” “The Best Doctors in America,” and “Who’s Who in America.” Walt was awarded the 2004 Christianity Today Book Award for cowriting Going Public with Your Faith: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work. He has been a Gold Medallion Book Award finalist three times—for the Going Public book and small-group video series, as well as his book The Highly Healthy Child. He also authored the popular Bryson City Tales books and coauthored the TSI series with Paul McCusker. He lives in Monument, Colorado.


  1. I love love love novels that leave with that feeling of sheer simplicity as a wonderful way to live life.


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