I have struggled with my review of Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald. STRUGGLED. Let me try and explain…
Ash mountain is well written. VERY well written.
Well-paced. I was rushing through the pages to find out what was happening, mostly with my heart in my throat.
Great characters – I LOVED Fran who had just the right amount of snark. And Helen FitzGerald made me invested in the small hometown of Ash Mountain, which for me was part of the problem. I like my fiction firmly in the fiction realm and well Ash Mountain is too much of a possibility…
I should have read the synopsis more closely before I picked it up, for some reason I thought Ash Mountain was going to be a domestic thriller/noir. NOPE! It’s so much more.
Fran hates her hometown, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns home to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer. As past friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
Remember the horrific and terrifying bush fires that ravaged Australia last year. Well that served as the backdrop for the fictional account of Fran and her family.
I’m not a big crier BUT a few of the scenes got to me. The Watertower – I wasn’t prepared! I cried. I cried big fat ugly tears. I was left a bit haunted by the image and the sadness.
Ash Mountain left an impact, it is not a book I will be forgetting any time soon.
I am just not sure if I would recommend it? I can’t say I enjoyed it – but I was moved by it. It was just a difficult read. An upsetting read. I don’t want to put anyone off picking it up thou – unlike me make sure you read the book blurb! The writing, the pacing and the characters were all superb.
ALSO – The cover image is a photo from the Australian bushfires – it wasn’t a posed shot. When I found out I thought it was a rather amazing and clever cover design – well done to whoever put it all together.
I received a copy of Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald for review from the publisher, which was all arranged by the blog tour organiser – Thank you!