My sincere thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to join this second blog blitz paperback tour for Ash Mountain by Helen FitzGerald. Published by Orenda Books – I got a copy of this back in February at the Orenda Roadshow on a very wet Friday in Penarth, Wales. Where Karen Sullivan took a merry bunch of her authors on tour around the country and showcased their talents and books alike.
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…
Our Author – Helen Fitzgerald
Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Her 2019 dark comedy thriller Worst Case Scenario was a Book of the Year in both The Guardian and Daily Telegraph. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia, and now lives in Glasgow with her husband.
My Review – Ash mountain
Helen Fitzgerald has the talent of giving the reader the gift of words that then create the images that become a backdrop of scenery. Then she adds characters with wit and determination, guts, and longing. Fran has no choice, but to go back to the small town she left, long ago. Her father is dying and she needs to be with him but wishes they were anywhere else, other than Ash Mountain.
With her, she takes Vonny, her 15-year daughter and she returns to what was once home, to her Dad and Dante – her son, now 29 spawned from a momentary fumbling and lapse of knowledge back when Fran was 15 at the local disco. Dante staying in Ash Mountain and no qualms about his parenting, other than knowing his mother’s love is unconditional regardless.
Ash Mountain is a small town, still with many of the small-minded people Fran left behind there. It harbors secrets and absorbs them, as being acceptable – by leaving Fran was showing she disagreed, she didn’t want to be part of it. And by leaving, she showed she was stronger. Vonny is the same and I love that she isn’t apologetic for anything she does, because Fran has shown her its ok to be different and still accepted. I think the characters carry the story of Ash Mountain beautifully along and really bring it to life. Fran, her Dad, Vonny, and Dante and how they all pull together when they need to try and save what and who they can.
All this before we even mention how evocative and beautifully written Ash Mountain is. The searing heat from the fire and the roaring noise is almost audible. The pain it leaves scars before the book reaches it last page and tells of love lost and emotions buried and those secrets to be spilled. Long ago hidden actions that made the town the way it is – secretive and shameful, cruel jibes that still hurt when spoken and the aftermath of the families affected by those actions.
And this is why Helen’s books are so incredible, the sense of place she builds and the characters that add such a life-like quality to her writing. I dismiss anyone who reads this and doesn’t enjoy Ash Mountain.
Dont forget to follow the rest of the blog tour – from some amazing bloggers.
Yet another corker from the House of Orenda.
To purchase Ash Mountain – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Helen-FitzGerald/Ash-Mountain/24712305
@FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @annecater #AshMountain