This companion to “A Gathering of Light” introduces us to the Nash family in Montana Territory. The mysterious gift of the Nash women, the dangers of the frontier and the Civil War all affect this exceptional family.
Geneva must face the painful parting with her son, the worries of a large family on the frontier and a hostile mother in law. Then she faces a loss that changes her forever. Her husband Abram is her rock…and her passion.
I absolutely adored this book and am giving it a solid four and a half stars.
The only reason I can’t give this one five stars right out of the gate is its need for another proof-reading pass. Normally, a need for proofing would lose a book several stars for me, but I think this is a special case–just like the first one. I noticed quite a few dropped letters and other such tiny typos, but only found two places where such errors resulted in my needing to stop to figure out what was going on. And I have it on good authority that another proofing is already underway. Don’t let a handful of typos which the human brain is naturally designed to overlook scare you off from this one. It’s absolutely worth a read.
This book is about so much more than is mentioned in the blurb. Patricia almost seamlessly weaves together four love stories; the hardships of frontier life, disease, injury, and war; the hope for a better life; the struggles, strains, and comedy of a large, extended family; and the social and political struggles of the Civil War into 200 pages of beauty. One would think juggling so many characters and plot lines over a number of years would make for a confusing, jumbled read, but Mrs. Iles weaves the tale beautifully. I will note that Patricia is guilty of a fair amount of head-hopping with this one. The story is told from many points of view and slides seamlessly from one to another. Normally, this would bother me a great deal, but in this case, it just feels right. It lends the book the feeling of being written during the Civil War. Remember the third-person omniscient POV so much classic literature is written in? It’s like that. If this book were a piece of urban fantasy or sci-fi, I’d be writing a giant rant about how important it is to stick to one character’s POV for each scene/chapter. That is not the case here. Honestly, I have next to nothing negative to say about this book, except perhaps that I wish it was longer. A Light in the Mountains may not be “unputdownable”, if you will, but it’s certainly a novel I did not want to put down. I may not have been desperate to know what happened next, but I sure as hell wanted to spend more time in the Nash’s world, visiting with the Salesh, and getting to know the entire clan even better. This is one of very few books I’ve ever read which, upon finishing the book, or even simply stopping for a time, I released a contented sigh.