Christianity Today ranked Christy as 27th on its list of the 50 books published after World War II that most influenced evangelical Christians. It has enjoyed a much wider audience, becoming a best seller and even emerging as a CBS television series by the same name in 1994 and 1995. In 2000 and 2001, three additional made-for-television Christy movies were aired. All were released on DVD in 2007 and showed again on television in 2009. The novel was inspired by the experiences of the author’s mother, Leonora Whitaker, who left her affluent Asheville family in 1912 as a young single woman to teach in a one-room school near what became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cocke County, Tennessee. Not surprisingly, the novel has been criticized for emphasizing moonshining, superstitions, and folk medicine. The fact that there was more to this local area than stereotypical mountaineers is well established by the fact that at the time when the novel is set, May Justus (1898-1989) was a teenager living nearby. She became a teacher and a renowned author of children’s books as well as a strong supporter of progressive causes. Also in 1898 Grace Moore (1898-1947) a famous operatic soprano and actress was born nearby though she moved to Knoxville when she was two and then on to Jellico, Tennessee, Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), the author of Christy, was born in Johnson City, Tennessee, and raised in Keyser, West Virginia. She wrote and edited more than 30 books that have sold over 15 million copies.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Evergreen Farm/Giliad, 2017, a 50th Anniversary hardback of a 1967 release. 506 pages, Hardback in dust jacket