A Year of Orenda – Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald

To celebrate the paperback release of Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald, Mandie is sharing her thoughts on the book, plus we have a chance for you to win a signed copy of the book. I reviewed the book earlier in the year as part of the e-book blog tour and you can find my Red-Hot-Read review here. Read on to find out what Mandie thought.

Source: Amazon

About the Book

Single-mother Fran returns to her sleepy hometown to care for her dying father when a devastating bush fire breaks out. A heartbreaking disaster-noir thriller from the bestselling author of The Cry.

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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…

Available From: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Apple Books | Orenda Bookstore | Hive

Mandie’s Thoughts

I am going to start this review by saying that for me Ash Mountain has got to be one of my favourite books of the year so far. The hard part is going to be trying to explain why. Set around the devastation of an Australian bush fire once again Helen Fitzgerald treats us to a compelling blend of heart wrenching stories and humour with characters you get invested in with amazing speed. With the story going between the 10 days in the run up to the fateful day and the past you really do get a feel for the town that is about to be changed forever.

Fran has returned to her hometown to look after her ailing father. She is not overly happy about this as it holds some pretty bad memories for her. On the plus side it does mean that she gets to spend time with her son and reconnect with an old friend at the same time. What she wasn’t prepared for though was some of the things from that past being put very firmly back into the here and now nor other rather unsavoury secrets coming to light. Her feisty attitude that got her in trouble in the past is probably the thing that saves her as the fire takes hold.

The bush fire almost felt like a character in the story, with the wilful way it took hold of the town, devastating the lives of families without any kind of discrimination. That being said you could be forgiven in thinking that for some the fire was Karma dishing out its own kind of justice and I was more upset by the demise of some of the wildlife than one or two of the residents.

Ash Mountain really does remind the reader just how unforgiving nature can be and that isolated communities, no matter how pretty they can look are often the worst hit with help too far away to save them. There is no happy ending to this book but for those who survive you will feel a sense of relief and you will mourn some that did not. Helen Fitzgerald has not shied away from the horrific nature of the elements,but she has managed to temper it with her own sense of dark humour that I am really coming to love. 

I have to make one final comment about this book and that is for the stunning cover that is an actual picture taken by a father of his daughter as she looked out onto the bushfires raging through Australia. This poignant picture and the story behind it add the finishing touches perfectly.

Win a signed copy of Ash Mountain

To win a signed copy of the book all you need to do is head over to @JenMedBkReviews on Twitter and like and share the pinned tweet of today’s review. The giveaway is open internationally and will close at 06:00 am (UK time) tomorrow, 21st August. A winner will be chosen at random and notified via Twitter. The competition is being run by Jen Med’s Book Reviews.

**Any personal details taken will be used for the purpose of dispatching the prize only and will not be shared with any third party.**

About the Author

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. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

Author Links: Twitter | Website

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Books by Helen Fitzgerald

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