Blog Tour: Ash Mountain

ASH MOUNTAIN | Helen Fitzgerald
05.14.2020 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Fran thought she escaped her hometown of Ash Mountain years ago. After her father finds himself ill, she is forced to return to the place she hates and care for him. Fran’s relationship is over and she hates her dead end job in the city, so the move is easy. What isn’t easy is caring for her dying father or working on a relationship with her teenage daughter. Despite all of the emotional turmoil that Ash Mountain has put her through, Fran finds herself falling in love with this town and a new man. Under the surface of what might be a new beginning is a series of old crimes and an impending brushfire that threaten to take away everything Fran holds dear.

Helen Fitzgerald drops the reader and Fran straight into a raging brushfire with the opening of ASH MOUNTAIN and then pulls us back in time to the days leading up to this moment. What the reader finds after this is a story alternating between timelines and narratives, which bring this quaint town to life. 

Francesca “Fran” Collins is the main character at the heart of ASH MOUNTAIN. It is through Fran that we learn not only about her life, but about the town as well. We learn the struggles she found herself in as a teen mother and what has become of her life in the thirty years since then. As the timeline shifts to moments from Fran’s youth, the story takes on a bit of a coming-of-age vibe that truly solidifies the reader’s bond with Fran. She’s a strong, witty, take no shit kind of character that you can’t help but fall in love with. Surrounding Fran are her children, her father, and a handful of interesting Ash Mountain residents. Fitzgerald wisely gives several of these secondary characters the chance to narrate a small selection of chapters to create a full portrait of Ash Mountain and Fran’s life. I loved getting to see Fran interact with all of these people and her amazing personality shine through in these moments.

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While the story is building to the brushfire in present day, Fitzgerald guides the reader and Fran to the realization of a deep secret Ash Mountain has kept secret for several decades. The crimes that Fran unearths may not be the focus of the book, but they are an integral storyline for Fran to fully understand herself and her hometown. I loved trying to track down the truth and the devastating revelation. This part of the story gave the book an overall sense of old school noir and made it more than just a glimpse into someone’s life.

It’s hard to characterize ASH MOUNTAIN into one genre because Helen Fitzgerald has created something that transcends genres. This book is a little bit mystery, a dash of thriller, and a heaping scoop of literary fiction mixed together to create something that every reader can appreciate. This is my first book by Fitzgerald, but it won’t be my last!

It’s hard to characterize ASH MOUNTAIN into one genre because Helen Fitzgerald has created something that transcends genres. This book is a little bit mystery, a dash of thriller, and a heaping scoop of literary fiction mixed together to create something that every reader can appreciate. This is my first book by Fitzgerald, but it won’t be my last!


Please be sure to check out all of the amazing bloggers heading up this tour!

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This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

A huge thank you to Orenda Books for my free copy!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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