Monday, November 25, 2013

Harcourt's Mountain By Elaine Dodge

Elaine Dodge combines the elements of strong character development, authentic dialog, an optimistic message, and a plot which includes gripping suspense in her novel, Harcourt’s Mountain. Set on the western frontier of British Columbia in spring of 1867, Elaine Dodge weaves a pleasurable and tender tale that will engage the reader. 

Elaine Dodge was inspired by books such as Jane Eyre 

Young, innocent, and inexperienced Hope Booker has been attacked and given to a ‘bride’ ship as compensation for a debt.  As Hope arrives in Silver Birch Landing, where nights are described as “rowdy, loud, and liquored up. Many a man who came into town rich after back breaking months on the gold claims woke the next day broke, with no memory of losing their fortunes to men who’d had the sense, or the cunning, to remain sober. Either that or the whores had stolen it.” Hope’s fate is questioned as the life of a new bride or slavery enforced labor in a brothel.  The tension of Hope’s future will be further exposed through a cast of well-developed characters, dynamic interpersonal conflict, and anticipation of the novel resolution. 

I encourage the reader to visit the author’s website

The author’s use of language is not stilted but very well researched for the time frame of the novel. Word choice such as “abattoir” and “hoyden” are historically accurate and add much zest to the text. Furthermore the author provides the reader with beautiful imagery for example, “The moon was a sliver of silver hanging like an upturned bowl out of which the stars had spilled, thick across the dark indigo sky.” 

Click here to listen to the interview and the reading of chapter one!

Elaine Dodge’s plot is driven by her characters. She is skilled at bringing them to life on the page as they grow in character throughout the novel. However, some of the characters have a mystery surround their past for instance a mysterious death of a spouse when one of the protagonist stated that they killed them and why family relationships have been filled with displeasure leaves the reader with a gap that can be further explored in a possible sequel. 

"Eventually she remembered what her grandmother had once said: Live the faith not the fear. God will make a way, she’d said. Believe that, live it out." Harcourt’s Mountain by Elaine Dodge

The relationship between Hope and her cruel mother do offer elements of conflict and the reader is able to have sympathy and relate to Hope. Luke Harcourt is portrayed as the perfect gentleman but I like how the author incorporates his temper and moderate drinking to establish a plausibility to the story.

The Author's Facebook Page
"Elaine was born in Zambia, grew up in Zimbabwe and currently lives in South Africa. Books have filled her life from the very beginning. She trained as a designer, worked in that industry for years, even running her own company for a while. A long stint in advertising followed. In the last few years, she's been toiling away in the TV industry, winning an odd international award. But that wasn’t enough. She wanted to “tell stories”. She is passionate about it. She feels most alive when she's writing, and delights in letting her imagination run riot. In November 2011, she finally took the plunge and decided to “wrestle the Rottweiler” and started putting all those stories on paper." Tirgearr Publishing

"Inside the confines of the covered wagon slept the two intertwined lovers whose lives and hearts had each found a new strength, a healing, a place of safety, and a home." Harcourt’s Mountain by Elaine Dodge

Harcourt’s Mountain is a story of redemption and second chances in the midst of the old Wild West, of a forgotten past, and uncertain future. This book is a quick read and should provide satisfying inspiration to those who are looking for a romantic historical novel. I highly recommend this Four Star Novel!


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