Author: Helen Fitzgerald
Publisher: Affirm Press
Publication Date: February 2021
Source: Won in a Giveaway
Fran hates Ash Mountain, and she thought she’d escaped. But her father is ill, and needs care. Her relationship is over, and she hates her dead-end job in the city, anyway.
She returns to her hometown to nurse her dying father, her distant teenage daughter in tow for the weekends. There, in the sleepy town of Ash Mountain, childhood memories prick at her fragile self-esteem, she falls in love for the first time, and her demanding dad tests her patience, all in the unbearable heat of an Australian summer.
As old friendships and rivalries are renewed, and new ones forged, Fran’s tumultuous home life is the least of her worries, when old crimes rear their heads and a devastating bushfire ravages the town and all of its inhabitants…
Simultaneously a warm, darkly funny portrait of small-town life – and a woman and a land in crisis – and a shocking and truly distressing account of a catastrophic event that changes things forever, Ash Mountain is a heart-breaking slice of domestic noir, and a disturbing disaster thriller that you will never forget…
I should probably preface this review by stating that Ash Mountain is not a book I would have picked up for myself, as it's not a genre I lean towards. However, I won a copy in a competition at my library, so I decided to give it a try. One thing I did enjoy about it were the little burst of humours, which never failed to make me smile and which helped to make the characters more three-dimensional and believable. The story itself, though, didn't captivate me. I wasn't on the edge of my seat and never had any concern for any of the characters, whether in the flashbacks or during the bushfire, so when disaster struck I was pretty blasé about the whole thing and unmoved by the death and destruction. The writing itself was fine; I simply think this book wasn't a good fit for me. Others who appreciate this genre more may well have very different views. For me it's a 2.5-star read, but I would round up to a three, rather than down to a two, because I do believe my personal preferences are playing a big part in my feelings towards it.