Wild Mountain by Nancy Hayes Kilgore (2017)
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Page Length: 332 pages (ARC paperback edition)
Vermonter Mona Duval loves the covered bridge beside her store. She loves local history and the rugged, rural nature of her home state. But when an ice storm collapses the bridge, she is bereft. Frank MacFarland, a seasonal resident who is beguiled by Mona, lends his political expertise to help rebuild the bridge. But they meet with powerful opposition. Tensions arise in the town, compounded by resistance to the soon-to-be-voted on Freedom to Marry bill. And then, unexpectedly, Mona’s abusive ex-husband arrives. Wild Mountain is a page-turning, beautifully written novel about the love between Frank and Mona, the love of place, freedom to marry, and freedom from the past, by a writer whose prose has been compared to Alice Munro’s. (description from Goodreads)
Wild Mountain is story that naturally moves at a slow pace, but does find its general rhythm after the first few chapters. Which is a typical characteristic character driven novels. The story is set in a somewhat rural/isolated small town called Wild Mountain and follows the life of its townspeople and the events that surround them.
There are many people mentioned in the story, but the plot’s main focus is on the two lead characters, Mona and Frank. Mona is an independent store owner who is very involved in the community as her store acts as a meeting place for many of the townspeople. She strives to live a peaceful life , but things get shaken up when town politics get heated and her abusive ex-husband makes a reappearance. She feels a strong connection to the covered bridge located near her store and it feels like home. Frank is also a very independent person. He’s very adventurous and likes to travel a lot; most of his life has been spent outside of the town and he’s viewed slightly as an outsider. After reconnecting with Mona he slowly develops feelings for her.
The book is mostly slice of life story full of small town politics, a freedom to marry bill, figuring out how pay for a bridge that’s an essential part of the town, relationships (and familial love), and it’s a tale of self-discovery. Though the ages of the characters vary everyone is in the midst of trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do (goals) in their life. I liked the way Frank and Mona evolved over the story; their individual selves and their blooming relationship. Both are seeking a solid relationship as they both come from failed marriages, they’ve known each other for a while and see the potential and decide to act on their feelings. They also grow over the course of the story.
Kilgore’s writing is incredibly descriptive, from the people to the landscapes. The cover art truly catches the essence of the story and give readers a visual of the landscape. From the flowing river, woodsy hiking trails, and mountainous terrain, the writing places the reader right in the story. This story also catches the essence of human emotions, POVs are also detailed and you can feel what the characters are going through and relate to some of their struggles.
The book ended on a good note, closure for the overall story and its characters. This was definitely a book outside of my genre that I typically read but it was a nice break from the usual picks. I’m glad I gave this book a chance since I really enjoyed it.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.