Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What the Mountaians Remember


About the Book: 

At this wondrous resort, secrets can easily be hidden in plain sight when the eye is trained on beauty. April 1913 —Belle Newbold hasn’t seen mountains for seven years—since her father died in a mining accident and her mother married Indiana gas magnate, Shipley Newbold. But when her stepfather’s friend, Henry Ford, invites the family on one of his famous Vagabonds camping tours, she is forced to face the hills once again—primarily in order to reunite with her future fiancé, owner of the land the Vagabonds are using for their campsite, a man she’s only met once before. It is a veritable arranged marriage, but she prefers it that way. Belle isn’t interested in love. She only wants a simple life—a family of her own and the stability of a wealthy man’s pockets. That’s what Worth Delafield has promised to give her and it’s worth facing the mountains again, the reminder of the past, and her poverty, to secure her future. But when the Vagabonds group is invited to tour the unfinished Grove Park Inn and Belle is unexpectedly thrust into a role researching and writing about the building of the inn—a construction the locals are calling The Eighth Wonder of the World—she quickly realizes that these mountains are no different from the ones she once called home. 

As Belle peels back the facade of Grove Park Inn, of Worth, of the society she’s come to claim as her own, and the truth of her heart, she begins to see that perhaps her part in Grove Park’s story isn’t a coincidence after all. Perhaps it is only by watching a wonder rise from ordinary hands and mountain stone that she can finally find the strength to piece together the long-destroyed path toward who she was meant to be. International bestselling author Joy Callaway returns with a story of the ordinary people behind extraordinary beauty—and the question of who gets to tell their stories.

My Review: 

One of the hotels that I remember most from my childhood vacations was staying at Grove Park Inn that is located in Asheville,NC. It was magnificent! With its mountain setting, its beautiful rock exterior, and its huge lobby it made our house seem so tiny. When I read the description of this book I thought it would be interesting to learn more about its construction.

The author gives detailed information about the building of the inn throughout the book since Belle Newbold finds herself tasked with writing about it. I loved that she not only writes about the building that is occurring, but also about the men who were involved in its construction (engineers, architects, stone masons, etc.). This made the story more personal and interesting, giving tribute to the people who made this beautiful place possible.

Belle’s story of wanting to marry Worth Delafield as an arrangement suits her just fine. Belle and Worth are not interested in marrying for love since they each have deep hurts from their pasts. The story of them trusting each other with their secrets and finding love was what I liked best.

Marie Austen, Belle’s “cousin”, was awful! Her behavior towards Belle, but even more so with men, made me cringe. I didn’t like some of the compromising scenes (nothing explicit) that she was caught in and her attitude towards marriage.

* some mild swearing, and two spicy scenes that I didn’t like (I’m a no spice reader)

I received a copy of the book from the publisher through AustenProse. I voluntarily reviewed this, and all opinions are my own.

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