Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend! Today, I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Helen Fitzgerald’s Ash Mountain.
Many thanks to the fabulous Anne Cater for inviting me in the blog tour and to Orenda Books for my e-copy of Ash Mountain.
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…
What Did I Think?
I’m quite late to the Helen Fitzgerald party. Ash Mountain is only the third of her books, the first was The Cry which I read almost two years followed by Viral. But Ash Mountain for me was a different beast to read.
I was very intrigued where the story was going. The story jumped around different timelines quite a lot so I had to keep my reading wits about me. One chapter I’m in the midst of the town realising the fire upon them and then I’m in the week running up to the fire but with a click of an e-page, I’ve jumped back 30 years. Not only is there the timeline to watch for, the story switches character perspectives.
One thought nudged through my head throughout – was the fire that was heading directly for Ash Mountain a good (!) old fashioned bush fire or was something afoot? This town is full of secrets from the past that had remained buried for decades but were on the verge of resurfacing as Fran returns to care for her father. Having read Ash Mountain as the U.K. went through a four day heatwave, I got an idea of what the residents of the town went through each year in the height of their summer. The thought of having to deal with devastating bush fires is a terrifying prospect especially with a dependent with limited mobility.
For me, Ash Mountain was a dark thought provoking read. It’s very different from my previous experiences of Fitzgerald’s writing which is by no means a bad thing, just different. The intertwined story lines captivated my attention and concentration. When I finished, I sat slightly numb turning over in my mind the events I’d just read.
Who Is 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.