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The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

John Fox Jr.

Book Overview: 

The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is a romance novel/western novel written by John Fox, Jr. The novel became Fox’s most successful, and was included among the top ten list of bestselling novels.

Set in the Appalachian Mountains at the turn of the twentieth century, a feud has been boiling for over thirty years between two influential mountain families: the Tollivers and the Falins. The outside world and industrialization, however, is beginning to enter the area. Coal mining begins to exert its influence on the area, despite of the two families feuds. Entering the area, enterprising “furriner” (foreigner) John Hale captures the attention of the beautiful June Tolliver, and inadvertently becomes entangled in the region’s politics.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Hale laughed.

"You jes' hush up—both of ye," said the girl with a sharp kick of her right foot.

"I reckon you can't stamp the ground that fer away from it," said the old man dryly. "If you don't git the better of that all-fired temper o' yourn hit's goin' to git the better of you, an' then I'll have to spank you agin."

"I reckon you ain't goin' to whoop me no more, pap. I'm a-gittin' too big."

The old man opened eyes and mouth with an indulgent roar of laughter.

"Come on up to the house," he said to Hale, turning to lead the way, the little girl following him. The old step-mother was again a-bed; small Bub, the brother, still unafraid, sat down beside Hale and the old man brought out a bottle of moonshine.

"I reckon I can still trust ye," he said.

"I reckon you can," laughed Hale.

The liquor was as fiery as ever, but it was grateful, and again the old man took nearly a tumbler. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It's interesting how many people use the term "Western" to describe this novel set around the Virginia/Kentucky border at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe it's just that the title sounds like the title of a Western. (And the book does have some plot elements in common with westerns, too; namel...more

This is perhaps a product of its time in that the action and the plot begin very unobtrusively. You meet the characters as though glimpsed through the trees of the Appalachian forest. It is hard to believe the isolation of small homesteads or even townships in the mountains. While Einstein was pr...more

I read a book once in which one character told another that his mother only read one book in her whole life. The other said he did not think he could do that, books being so important to him. The first said he was not clear. His mother only read one book but when she finished it, she loved it so,...more

My motivation for reading this book comes from my grandfather. He was reading "Lonesome Pine" when my mother was born. He named his daughter after the main character in this book. What an insight into my grandfather!
Intrigue, venture, descriptive, Love, fueding, fighting and fussing, Keeps you...more

Jack Hale is a "furriner" come to the Virginia mountains in search of coal who ends up in the middle of a redneck family feud, June Tolliver the young daughter of the head of one clan, Devil Judd Tolliver, who Hale buys land from.

Hale has dreams of bringing prosperity to the region, but this req...more

This past month, Karen and I made our first visit to the Appalachian Mountain range in the eastern US.

Following my attendance at the Movies & Meaning festival in Asheville, North Carolina, Karen joined me and we enjoyed a week immersing ourselves in the culture and spectacular natural beauty...more

I liked this book although some of the passages about coal and iron ore get a bit long (think MOBY-DICK). But the love story is beautiful and the Fox's writing is spot on in his descriptions of the mountains and his dialect writing.

Any fan of Appalachian literature or resident of the Appalachian...more

I love Appalachian fiction. My grandmother recommended this book to me. She read it in grade school and she said it would help me to know what it was like when she was growing up. I loved it. I loved reading about the way of life in the mountains back then. I found it interesting that once June l...more

As I read, I kept wondering if I'd read this book before. So much of it was familiar and predictable. Then it dawned on me that the story was very similar to Kady by Patience Stapleton. Kady was published in 1888, 20 years before this book.

This was part of my Appalachian Lit class in college. John Fox, Jr, who was business man from Lexington, KY, really did come to the mountains of Southeastern KY and Southwestern, VA in the early days (around 1900?) to help settle the territory. He came seeking to buy coal and timber for cheap fro...more

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