If you put Louis Sachar’s Holes, the movie Far and Away, and the movie Dances With Wolves into a blender and poured it into a YA novel, you would get Crow Mountain. If you love western romance, you won’t want to miss this one.
AUTHOR: Lucy Ingles
PUBLISHER: Chicken House
PUBLICATION DATE: May 31, 2016
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: Western, romance, historical fiction
SETTING: Montana, 1867 and present day
GIVE IT TO: upper-MS, HS
SUMMARY: Alternates between 1867 and present day. In 1867, Emily Forsythe travels from London to Oregon to meet and marry a man her parents arranged for her to marry. Along the way, her wagon wrecks, killing everyone except Emily. Emily is saved by a horse trader named Nate, who takes her to his mountain cabin to help her heal. In present-day Montana, 16-year old Londoner Hope travels to Montana with her mother, an environmental researcher. There, she meets Cal, a shy boy who has a history of trouble with the local police. When Cal’s truck wrecks in the middle of nowhere, Hope and Cal take refuge in the same mountain cabin where Emily and Nate stayed back in 1867.
REVIEW: First, I want to say that I think we need more Western novels for teens. I have found that I absolutely LOVE Western novels, but most of the Westerns I’ve read have been for adults. I’ve read a few YA Westerns–Blood Red Road, Vengeance Road, and Walk on Earth a Stranger, and I loved them all. We need more!
I will have no problem circulating this book in my library. The Montana landscape is just gorgeous, and I totally want to move there right now. I loved the intertwined destinies and how history wanted to repeat itself with Hope and Caleb in the present.
It’s obvious the author did her research here. The history of Montana, Rose, the buffalo slayings, the Oregon Trail…all are well-researched and believable.
If I had any complaints, I would say that the 1867 story of Nate and Emily most definitely outshines the present-day story of Hope and Caleb. I wish the modern-day story had been given more time to develop. I felt like there was too much page real-estate in the beginning devoted to setting up Hope’s relationship with her parents and her homeschooling and her puttering around on the ranch. Had Caleb and Hope left for their journey earlier, there would have been more opportunity to develop their relationship. It’s hard to believe their relationship is the modern equivalent to Nate’s and Emily’s after just a few days.
THEMES: women’s roles, romance, independence, destiny
THE BOTTOM LINE: Great for anyone wanting a beautiful western-romance. Don’t miss it!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We just got it recently. When I booktalked it last week as my “Currently Reading,” I had two girls put it on-hold for when I finish cataloging it.
- Overall: 4/5
- Creativity: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: moderate–includes a handful of F-bombs in one scene
- Sexuality: moderate–some kissing; sex happens but it’s not described
- Violence: moderate–war, buffalo slaying (like what was in Dances With Wolves), gun violence
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; cigarettes, laudanum
- Other: abduction and rape accusations