Thursday, December 29, 2016

Inglis, Lucy. Crow Mountain.

Inglis, Lucy.  Crow Mountain.  Scholastic/Chicken House  2016            359p  $17.99  ISBN 978-0-545-90407-0  ms/hs  Realistic Fiction  VG-BN 

The reader meets two English girls from different time periods in this fictional account of parallel lives.  Hope, the daughter of an environmental scientist, begins her journey in contemporary times, and Emily, a young girl on her way to an arranged marriage with a railroad heir, begins her journey one hundred fifty years before Hope.  The similarities between the two are engaging: both examine life in Montana, both meet young men who intrigue them immensely, and both learn how to stand up for themselves along their journeys.  The differences stand out as well!  Hope’s story is told for her by the author; Emily tells her story through her journal, using second-person narration directed at the man who saves her when her stagecoach falls through a bridge, killing everyone aboard except her.  One important contrast lies in the early lives of the men.  Cal, the present-day cowboy, has been unjustly accused of a hazing incident that caused the death of a fellow teammate, whereas Nate, a former Civil War soldier, has been accused of desertion after running away from his battalion in order to save his leg from being amputated.  The creative weaving of the two stories keeps the reader engaged.  Coincidentally, Hope finds Emily’s journal and reads it during her own isolation, when the vehicle in which she and Cal are riding crashes down through the same bridge.  There are a few other farfetched examples of coincidental events, but they will not deter the reader from finding something magical in the stories’ plotlines, especially in the descriptions of the budding relationship between Emily and Nate in their isolated Montana cabin.  Native Americans, town sheriffs, and Hope’s mother and Cal’s father all add spice to the plot.  Conflicts abound, and the reader will never be bored.  There is even a rock-‘em-sock-‘em ending that will interest lovers of action and drama.   This book has a bit of sexual reference, which makes it more appropriate for high-school libraries. in the U.S.  However, the intended audience might be middle school in the United Kingdom where this novel was first published.  Fans of good love stories with a bit of history thrown in will definitely jump aboard!
Summary: Hope is dragged along by her mother on an adventure to Montana in contemporary life.  Emily was forced to face adversity in frontier America 150 years ago.  Their stories intersect when Hope finds Emily’s diary and reads it at the same time she faces challenges of her own.     

Frontier life-Fiction, Montana-Fiction                                               --Martha Squaresky

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