A Mountain of Memories by ChristineCampbell #Historical fiction #Mystery #Romance

Mountain of Memories

 

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.

As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs.

Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

A historic story folded into a contemporary story, the two linked by family, location and events.

My Review

I know from previous reading that a novel by Christine Campbell will be about realistic characters dealing with human problems. There will be soul searching and suffering but also kindness and love. In A Mountain of Memories, the understated hero, Matt, is dependable and considerate. He supports Caitlin as she endures physical pain and panic attacks rooted in a traumatic event that occurred when she was 13. A family trip to Kinlochleven to see the home of her great great grandmother Mhairi Merry resulted in a tragic accident in which Caitlin had also been injured.

We move back to 1904 to meet Mhairi, a hard-working, spirited crofter’s daughter, who like Caitlin, grew up, alone with her father. Life for Mhairi and her father is about to change dramatically as hundreds of Irish navvies and their families arrive to build an enormous dam for the production of the first hydro-electric power in Scotland. The work is dangerous, and their living conditions are harsh but locals like James Merry resent and distrust the newcomers. Despite this, Mhairi makes friends amongst the women and soon she meets “the most beautiful man she ever did set her eyes upon.”

I was fascinated to read about the experiences of Mhairi and her kin in such a dramatic era of change in the Highlands and really hoped for her happiness but I also enjoyed accompanying Caitlin as she tried to solve the mystery of her lost memories.  The outcome is life-changing and upsetting but it strengthens the relationships she has with those she can trust. An unusual, thought-provoking read.

A Mountain of Memories can be found on Amazon UK

My review of Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

And her more recent novel Gold Plated

Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews (Victorian Romantics Book 1) #TuesdayBookBlog #NewRelease

fair as a star

A Secret Burden…

After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy–or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl’s life isn’t as perfect as everyone believes.

A Longstanding Love…

As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother’s intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark’s more than willing to provide one. There’s no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago.

During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry’s wedding. But in her darkest moment, it is Mark who comes to Beryl’s aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings–or betraying his brother?

A violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!

Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky.

My Review

Beryl Burnham is a more vulnerable heroine than Mimi Matthews’ previous main characters. She carries a burden which stops her from looking forward to her imminent marriage. Sir Henry Rivenhall is an eminently suitable fiancé whom she has known for some years, but will he be an understanding husband?  On the other hand, his brother Mark, the curate, is her best friend. He appreciates her subtle whitework embroidery, featuring the plants of the English countryside and she can talk to him about anything, well almost anything, but not her darkest secret. Mark Rivenhall has told his brother of his feelings for Beryl, but he knows he has no chance of gaining her heart. Perhaps it will be best if he leaves the parish of Shepton Worthy.

Meanwhile, Beryl’s spirited younger sister, Winnifred, is involved in a feud with Sir Henry, who intends to sell the magnificent steed she loves to ride. The ordinary people of the parish establish the surroundings and village problems for the reader and the stunning Paris wedding gown which arrives for Beryl emphasises the importance of her future life as a baronet’s wife.

I loved the sensitivity in which Beryl’s unhappiness is expressed and the hope that she finally achieves in this delightful first novel of a new romantic series.

 

“Fraud” by Peter Davey

fraud

“Fraud” is a complex story in which all the main characters practise deceit.  And yet from the beginning the reader is charmed by the protagonists and intrigued by their motivation.

The story is centred on Nicola Carson, a stunning actress and celebrity who has been admitted into a psychiatric rehabilitation clinic because she is bipolar and suicidal.  Visiting her is Dominic Sealy, an unpublished novelist and unemployed editor.  Why is he so interested in Nicola and what are his motives?  Despite his obvious subterfuge, Nicola latches on to him, persuading him to take her from the psychiatric hospital to live at his London flat.

Nicola’s fame is based on a best-selling novel called “Loss” which she published at the age of 22 and yet as soon as she had been offered a starring role in a film, she had abandoned her writing career and became an Oscar winner and the face of Chanel.  Dominic reveals that he wishes to write her biography but his interest in her is his conviction that she had never actually written “Loss.”  Despite his opinion, they are drawn into a relationship with each other and we are anxious to discover who is really the deceiver.

Travelling back 6 years we meet Ted Hamer, another unpublished novelist, on his 55th birthday.  Supported by his wife Anne, a solicitor, he is able to concentrate on his writing but he has received a rejection letter for the novel of which he was most proud.  With Anne away, he goes to the local pub for a meal where his mood is not improved by the rude waitress who serves him.  At the end of the evening he talks to the waitress about her equally depressing day and offers to walk her home.  Circumstances enable Ted to see more of the waitress and budding actress, whose name is Nicola Pearson.

As the “tangled web” of deceit is created we find ourselves warming to Dominic and Nicola and we want to know more about Ted’s life.  Tragedy seems inevitable, since no-one seems worthy of trust and yet each character shows essential humanity, which might be the redeeming grace of the novel.

From beginning to end I was compelled to read on, anxious to discover who was responsible for each plot machination and whether there was the possibility of good coming from their mutual fraud.  This is a surprising and inventive novel, well worth reading.