Sunday, July 28, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: REDEMPTION MOUNTAIN from author Gerry Fitzgerald

Redemption Mountain
In this emotional debut, a NY executive, restless in his success, is sent to W. Virginia and meets a small-town woman and her son who open his eyes to a richer life than he could have imagined.

On the surface, Charlie Burden and Natty Oaks could not be more different: She, the daughter of many generations of rural farmers; he, an executive at a multi-national engineering firm. But, in each other, they find the new lease on life they both so desperately need.

Natty dreams of a life beyond her small town. She is unhappily married to her high school crush (who now spends more time at the bar than at home) and passes the time nursing retired miners, coaching her son, The Pie Man's, soccer team and running the mountain trails she knows by heart, longing to get away from it all. Charlie has everything he ever thought he wanted, but after 25 years of climbing the corporate ladder, he no longer recognizes his own life: his job has become bureaucratic paper-pushing, his wife is obsessed with their country-club status, and his children have grown up and moved on. When he is sent to West Virginia to oversee a mining project, it is a chance to escape his stuffy life; to get involved, instead of watching from the sidelines. Arriving in Red Bone, though, he gets more than he bargained for: his new friends become the family he was missing and Natty, the woman who reminds him what happiness feels like. When his company's plans threaten to destroy Natty's family land, his loyalties are questioned and he is forced to choose between his old life and his new love in a fight for Redemption Mountain.
Author Gerry FitzGerald's "Redemption Mountain" is a beautifully told tale, one that is nuanced and involving, taking the reader in unexpected directions. Natty Oakes and Charlie Burden are both runners, moving toward a point where their paths will cross, and their lives, and the lives of those around them, will be forever changed. Natty is a wife and mother, living in a trailer deep in the coal country of West Virginia. Married to her high-school sweetheart, Buck, a lazy, abusive drinker, Natty still has her dreams. She also has her two children, her daughter, Cat, and her son, known as "Pie Man", who was born with Down Syndrome. Natty coaches Pie's soccer team and works as a home health aide, caring for the elderly in the community. Charlie, a corporate executive for a global engineering company in New York City, is restless and reaching back for the beginnings of his career, when he was enthusiastic and useful. His wife, Ellen, is ever more submerged in the endless circling of social status. His children are grown and on their own, and he greatly misses the early years of their family life, when the children were young, and they shared so much. The change that Charlie longs for comes his way when he is sent to Red Bone, WV to oversee the construction of a power plant that will bring much-needed jobs to an economically-deprived area. It will also destroy the natural beauty of an ancient, mountainous region, and not all residents will be better off with the construction of the plant. What Natty and Charlie find in each other is renewal, revelation, and hope for the future. However, the hand of Fate can be a harsh master, and heartbreak is often entwined with happiness. A future awaits that neither of them imagined, but is that a future where they will be together? Will the community of Red Bone not just survive, but somehow find a way to thrive through all the changes to come? Take a trip to Redemption Mountain, and enjoy the storytelling of author Gerry FitzGerald. You will be glad that you made the journey.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine

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