My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams

My Old True Love

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 ...

Details My Old True Love

TitleMy Old True Love
Release DateJan 4th, 2004
PublisherAlgonquin Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, American, Southern, Military History, Civil War, Romance

Reviews My Old True Love

  • Dem
    My Old True Love by Shield Kay Adams popped up in my recommendations from Good reads and I picked it as a January sort of wild card and I am very glad I did.This novel is set in the mountains of North Carolina and narrated with the wonderful voice of Arty Norton, mother to a large family living in the mid-late 1800s around the time of the Civil War. The story is centred on Arty's family, of hardships, love, life and the appreciation of the simple...
  • Hannah
    Rating Clarification: 4.5 StarsTwo things straight off:1. The next time I get on my soapbox complaining about the quality of new release books verses those oldies which I so dearly love and champion, I need to remind myself of this unbearably beautiful and (almost) perfect novel. Had the last 15 pages played out in a slightly different way, had I not felt the end was rushed, anticlimatic and "tacked on", it would without any doubt be the best fic...
  • Rick
    This is why readers read. It is why we slog through a sea of mediocre to good books. It is for the pure joy that comes from reading an exquisite book like this one, one that draws you in completely, one you can't put down, one where you savor every word and feel, as if it were your own, the joy and sorrow of those characters who inhabit the book.Open this book to any page and you will find writing that is pitch perfect in capturing the cadences a...
  • Wyndy
    I don't understand how 'Romance' could possibly be listed as one of the genres for this book - there is nothing romantic about it. Sentimental maybe. A good bit of "naturing" (Appalachian euphemism for sex - yes, people back then had 6, 8, 10 kids so something was certainly going on). But this is not a romance novel. It is Southern fiction at its finest, in my world of reading anyway. Sheila Kay Adams is a powerful storyteller who knows firsthand...
  • Deborah
    A poignant story, both frank and tender, told in an Appalachian voice that rings true—that is My Old True Love: A Novel. Arty Norton Wallin (the narrator) is “mountain,” way down to the marrow of her bones, and I can’t help but think that Sheila Kay Adams is, as well. As I read, I was taken back to a time of Appalachian life and culture even older than the one that I recall—but not without the strong flavor of some Smoky Mountain kin th...
  • Linda
    This is a book that speaks to the heart so deeply that it will remain some experiences in life touch has risen to the top as one of my favorites. I listened to the audio version and felt as if I was sitting at the feet of a woman who had the gift of being a very rich storyteller sharing her life with me...she is able to put into words feelings that all of us have had at some time in our lives when we have not only been speechl...
  • Nancy
    One of the most beautiful novels I have ever read- the reader is transported to North Carolina in the mid to late 1800's to a rural community deep in the mountains of Appalachia. We meet Arty, as real a person as I've ever met, who shares her joys and struggles from her teen years onward. Arty marries well and raises a large family on a struggling farm, but the Civil War and heartbreak touch her and her surrounding community. Family connections a...
  • Margaret
    A beautiful book rich with imagery, prose and music of the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. The first person pov was excellently crafted with humor and observation which sucked me right in. I am a bit disappointed that the author has just one other book to offer, I am hoping that there will be other books in the future. This book was simply magical and the storytelling was stellar which left me wanting for more.
  • Steph (loves water)
    Amazing. A beautifully written story about life, relationships, birth, loss, and death. I found it to be deeply spiritual without being the least bit religious. Poetic descriptions of nature and the world, and the effect of the Civil War on families. The songs were heartfelt, poignant, heartbreaking. I very rarely say this, but wouldn't this make a wonderful movie? Just a thought.
  • Roxy
    I remember many of these old songs from my childhood in Ohio. And the names, Roxyanna and Rosalie are names from my family. The story also familiar, and full of love and tragedy, just a wonderful tale.
  • Jayna
    AAAHHH! I stayed up until 1:00am finishing this book because I was loving it so much...but then, THE ENDING RUINED IT. It was such a disappointment. The last few books I've read have all been great reads until the last quarter- I don't know what is up with that! Anyways, this book was like a fantastic mix between "These is my words" and "Cold Mountain." The heroine is full of life and humor and I really enjoyed her wit, and you feel like you KNOW...
  • Marie Carmean
    Oh how I adored this book! Like the tragic love songs of Europe that were carried over to Appalachia (and for which Sheila Kay Adams is well-known as a singer and historian of this dying art) her book is a tragic love song in itself. Beautifully written! The reader feels like she is sitting with the old woman Arty hearing about her life and the lives of her loved ones in a fireside telling. Anyone who loves the history of the south, especially Ap...
  • Lindsay (Everyday Is An Adventure)
    Plucked right off my local library's shelves came this book and I am so glad that it caught my eye. This is the kind of book that you need to read a few times because you just know that there are so many depths to it that you couldn't possibly have caught them all the first time through.My Thoughts:I absolutely loved this book, but to tell the truth I had a minor love/hate relationship with it, especially in the beginning. I loved the story, I lo...
  • Melanie Jacques
    Listening to this book brought me back to when I was a little girl listening to my grandparents chatting. The phrases and or sayings that are used in this story are phrases/sayings that I have heard all of my life but never thought too much about them until someone brings attention to it. I never thought too much about where some of these phrases originated from. The songs too, I can hear my grandma Ruby singing and whistling these same sounds. S...
  • Kim
    This is one of the best books that I have read. It is set in the Appalachians of NC before, during and after the civil war. The way the characters speak reminds me of how my grandparents from Ararat, VA talk. I also loved all the old forgotten songs of the mountains. This book made me laugh, cry and even blush. This is a must read! Below is one of my favorite passages from the book.That summer was hot as hell and dry as a bone. it was a constant ...
  • Amy S
    3.5/4What I loved: the setting, the ballads, the character development. The family. I wish I could have heard the music. What I didn't: the massive foreshadowing the author kept hitting me over the head with. Language and some sexuality that just didnt feel necessary and sometimes jarred me from what I was reading. I would not say the book was filled with it by any means, but it seemed to stand out to me rather than flow with the story. Lovely st...
  • Melissa
    I am a collector of Appalachian literature and this book moves to the top on my favorites list. Taking places before, during and shortly after the Civil War this story is a portrayal of mountaineers and how they were victims of the war. They had no interest in any of the issues, did not want to take either side and could only suffer great loss, which they did. Mountaineers are strong, independent , hard working folks and they were represented as ...
  • Sarah
    This was a beautiful book that I've long been meaning to read. Set in the NC mountains during the Civil War, My Old True Love illustrates the everyday struggles and joys of the people. It also deftly showed how divisive the Civil War was for this region.My favorite part about this book was Arty's voice. Sheila Kay Adams managed to write it in such a way as to make me feel like I was a friend sitting out on the porch listening to her life story. D...
  • Sean Farmer
    One of the most heartbreakingly beautiful books I have ever read. I would compare it to Cold Mountain- but perhaps even better! ( Never thought I would say that.) The descriptions of life in the 19th North Carolina mountains is worth the read alone ( I think Ms. Adams must be a time traveler and has deigned to visit us and tell this beautiful story.) but also the English, Irish and Scottish ballads that these characters are obsessed with are haun...
  • Melissa
    Even better the 2nd time! This is Southern Appalachian fiction at its finest! Told in a language beautifully unique to this part of the country, it was like hearing my own grandmother speak! Just a beautiful, "feel-good" story about a hard-working family and a way of life that is gone forever. Full of trials and hardships, but above all, love and the bonds of family which cannot be broken. Full of wisdom and insight! I truly loved it!
  • Jen
    This would have gotten 4 stars from if it hadn't been for the ending. I thought it was extremely out of character for Larkin and struck a strange and out of place note to the end of the book. Otherwise, a very readable book with a likable narrator.
  • Laura Lulu
    Heartwarming, heartwrenching, heartbreaking. And the narrator is wonderful--she makes the book.
  • Nancy Rankin
    An excellent book to listen to.
  • Diane Cox
    Just a lovely touching work and reminded me so of the simpler life of even fifty years ago. We have lost as much as we have gained in our electronic world of today. Reminiscent of 'Songcatcher'
  • Greg
    "These were the days that I would look back on once I'd married with such a longing in my heart. Them were times that seemed almost magic--you know how it is when you remember your childhood. The sun is always shining or there's a big pretty snow on the ground, and you're young and never sick or tired, and everybody you ever loved is still living and your whole life is a big wide road stretched out in front of you just waiting for you to take tha...
  • Devon
    I thought that when the story brought the war to a close with some goodly amount of pages left, there would be a flat and boring denouement. Not so! I guessed the twist that remained in the last few pages like a couple paragraphs before it was revealed, but it was good. Great, even. Loved it. I also adored the foreboding sense that ran throughout the novel and kept me on my toes.This book really does bring you to the South, and the language feels...
  • Cheryl Campbell
    Just a terrific love story, intertwined with the lives of families in the mountains of far western NC on Sodom mountain. With this novel, you viscerally feel how families were torn asunder between choosing sides in the Civil War. I was particularly entranced by this novel because I am of Scot-Irish (Ulster Scot) descent, as are the families in the story. I would dearly love to hear the ballads as they were sung in the novel. This is a delightful ...
  • Brenda
    This book had set on my shelf for a few years. I found the book told the story of the common mountain people and how they dealt with the Civil War. The book was full of well developed characters. In the background was some "Blue Grass" roots. There was a wide spectrum of human emotions that played out in this book. If I can fund multiple copies I might have my book group read it for discussion.
  • Katherine Allen
    I am a harsh critic of books. I really enjoyed it, but unless I can’t put the book down, I only give three stars. It has to be amazing to earn five stars from me. I recommend this period piece with authentic voice in the characters.
  • Sandy
    Written with a superb knowledge of the old songs sung by early Appalachian settlers and an ear for mountain dialects, this is a story of one family’s life and death struggles during the periods around and including the Civil War. You have to enjoy ‘mountain lit’ to read this one.