I've just received another great review and been voted as a reader's best book of the year in the comments of the O Magazine list. The new four star review comes from Ginger Dawn. Ginger, internet permitting - which in Africa is pretty much hit or miss sometimes, is also going to do a radio interview with me about Harcourt's Mountain later this afternoon.
Here's what she had to say about Harcourt's Mountain:
Elaine Dodge combines the elements of strong character development, authentic dialog, an optimistic message, and a plot which includes gripping suspense in her novel, Harcourt’s Mountain.
Set on the western frontier of British Columbia in spring of 1867, Elaine Dodge weaves a pleasurable and tender tale that will engage the reader. Young, innocent, and inexperienced Hope Booker has been attacked and given to a ‘bride’ ship as compensation for a debt. As Hope arrives in Silver Birch Landing, where nights are described as “rowdy, loud, and liquored up. Many a man who came into town rich after back breaking months on the gold claims woke the next day broke, with no memory of losing their fortunes to men who’d had the sense, or the cunning, to remain sober. Either that or the whores had stolen it.” Hope’s fate is questioned as the life of a new bride or slavery enforced labor in a brothel. The tension of Hope’s future will be further exposed through a cast of well-developed characters, dynamic interpersonal conflict, and anticipation of the novel's resolution.
The author’s use of language is not stilted but very well researched for the time frame of the novel. Word choice such as “abattoir” and “hoyden” are historically accurate and add much zest to the text. Furthermore the author provides the reader with beautiful imagery, for example, “The moon was a sliver of silver hanging like an upturned bowl out of which the stars had spilled, thick across the dark indigo sky.”
Elaine Dodge’s plot is driven by her characters. She is skilled at bringing them to life on the page as they grow in character throughout the novel. However, some of the characters have a mystery surround their past for instance a mysterious death of a spouse when one of the protagonists stated that they killed them and why family relationships have been filled with displeasure leaves the reader with a gap that can be further explored in a possible sequel. The relationship between Hope and her cruel mother do offer elements of conflict, and the reader is able to have sympathy and relate to Hope. Luke Harcourt is portrayed as the perfect gentleman, but I like how the author incorporates his temper and moderate drinking to establish a plausibility to the story.
Harcourt’s Mountain is a story of redemption and second chances in the midst of the old Wild West, of a forgotten past, and uncertain future. This book is a quick read and should provide satisfying inspiration to those who are looking for a romantic historical novel. I recommend not only this book but encourage the reader to visit the author’s websitehttp://elainedodge.weebly.com/