Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A devastating, disaster-noir thriller from the author ofThe Cry.
Fran hates Ash Mountain, 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 to her hometown 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 old 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…
Let me tell you immediately Ash Mountain is PHENOMENAL, it’s a book that’ll stay with me and one that I am highly recommended that you read! Helen is the author of Worst Case Scenario also published by Orenda Books, as well as others published elsewhere, including book to TV series The Cry. You can purchase the e-book directly from Orenda Books e-bookstore here.
Ash Mountain tells the story of events leading up to the days of an upcoming firestorm in a small tight knit community of Ash Mountain, as well as flicking backwards 30 years to build upon the life of our main female protagonist Fran – a mother who has returned back to her hometown to care for her poorly father. Helen creates a peri – menopausal individual who will make you chuckle, while also delving into the core story of who she is and her feelings about returning home. This coming of age novel focuses on Fran coming to terms with the relationships and rivalries that she thought she’d left in her past, ticking the domestic noir boxes, as well as keeping the reader hooked with the included disaster suspense thrill, as well as the personal accounts weaved throughout.
I started Ash Mountain with the highest of expectations, every single one of my expectations were met. Helen has created a compulsive hard-hitter of a read with sprinklings of dark humour, heart and suspense throughout. The narrative, although mainly written from Fran’s point of view, visits view points from her father and teenager Rosie, as well as time travelling flicks back to the past which for me gave a whole different dimension of the story – the symbolism of fire is a destroyer, as well as a generative power of life and change, I think this is echoed well throughout the storyline, rising from the ashes the old saying goes. The overall atmosphere of Ash Mountain is an intoxicatingly captivating one, the characters, theme and location contribute to the hauntingly emotive feel of the novel, it will stun you, leaving you completely shook! The characters have become victims of their surroundings, beliefs and the people with whom they surround themselves with, with this Helen has penned a thriller that perfectly threads together multiple aspects that will have you flying through the pages while holding your breath, I was left flabbergasted!
Ash Mountain was written before the horrendous recent events in Australia, for me, this novel took on a more impactful identity in areas, a fictional tale of panic became overwhelmingly real, with added powerfulness on a number of levels. This book inhibits a haunting poignancy, with writing and storyline that is utterly flawless, sobering and stunning, with included rays of light via Helen’s humour. Also, the picture on the cover of this book is explained in the back of the book which adds so much to the harrowing feel of the novel. You’ve guessed it, I highly recommend this one! It gets ALL my stars!
Until next time,