Hearts on Lonely Mountain
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Hearts on Lonely Mountain
Author: A.M. Heath
Collection: Librarians of Willow Hollow, book 3
Major Themes: Librarians, Appalachian Mountains, Forgiveness
Synopsis: Though Ivory has tried her best, the mountain people continue to reject her—is there any way to fulfill her task here as a librarian, or will she have to give up?
I’ve enjoyed every book by A.M. Heath that I’ve picked up so far—and Hearts on Lonely Mountain is no exception. Her stories aren’t always super deep—but deep enough that I can get quite involved in the setting and forget what’s going on around me. I think the thing I loved most about this story, besides the setting, was the whole message about learning to try to reach out to people even when they reject you. I thought that was pretty important, and it was a bonus that that was wrapped up in a sweet, easy-to-read story.
Ivory is determined to try to reach out to the mountain people—but when they reject her, she isn’t sure what to do next. She wants to share stories with them, to open their minds to new worlds, to be a friend when they have very few other friends. But when she’s accused of being a witch, she doesn’t know how to respond to the shunning she encounters—and things only get worse when, one stormy afternoon, she falls into the creek bed and injures her ankle. All would be well—except she’s forced to stay with a single man and his nephew for five long days, and at the end of it, the entire town is convinced she worked some witchcraft on him, and had been immoral. How can the townspeople ever be satisfied? Or will she just have to admit defeat and leave? What is she supposed to do with her newfound love of the country—despite her struggles with relationships with the people that are in it?
I didn’t expect Hearts on Lonely Mountain to be quite such a sweet romance as it ended up being—but then, maybe I should have looked at the title a little harder. 🙂 It’s been a while since I read a book like this, though, so I loved getting the chance to have a romance along with the historical setting.
Come to speak of that—the historical setting was fascinating. It wasn’t nearly as in-your-face as I’ve seen in some books (but then, this is a novella, so the number of words available are quite tight), but it was there. One of the biggest things that stands out to me was how the townsfolk had such rigid morals, to the extent that they almost demanded that a man marry a girl because of suspected sin. That was interesting—and not something you’d see often these days.
In all, I enjoyed this story—I thought it might end up being similar to other stories I’ve read set in the same sort of time frame, but it ended up being different, which was great! I enjoyed the romance in here, even if it did seem a little far-fetched, and the little boy in the story was adorable. If you want a glimpse into Depression-era Kentucky, I’d recommend Hearts on Lonely Mountain as well as the other ones in the Librarians of Willow Hollow collection. It’s not the best I’ve read in this setting before, but it was very engaging and a quick read!
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: Throughout the book, people talk about the “Moon Witch” and the curse Ivory supposedly put on someone’s cows. There’s a little slang used here and there—“bum’s rush” in ch. 1, “gosh” in ch. 1 and 11, “good grief” in ch. 3, “golly” in ch. 3 and 11, “doggone” in ch. 5, and “gee” in ch. 13 and 16. Throughout the story, there is a little touching between an unmarried couple (his hand on her shoulder/back, etc., nothing I would consider provocative), and from ch. 6 – 8, Ivory breaks her ankle, accidentally is given too much whiskey to soothe the pain, and has to stay with a single man and his nephew for several days until they are able to cross a flooded creek back to town. Someone talks a little crudely in ch. 8. There are a few kisses in ch. 17–18.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Keywords: Librarians, Appalachian Mountains, Forgiveness, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, 20th Century History, 1900-1950 History, North America, Books for Women