A new historical fiction... What the Mountains Remember by Joy Callaway (Review) #whatthemountainsremember #joycallaway #historicalfiction #newbooks #bookrecs #bookx #austenprosepr @harpermusebooks @Austenprose

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out this new historical fiction below...

What the Mountains Remember
By Joy Callaway
Women's Fiction, Southern, Historical
Paperback & eBook, 368 Pages
April 2, 2024 by Harper Muse


At this wondrous resort, secrets can easily be hidden in plain sight when the eye is trained on beauty.

April 1913—Belle Newbold hasn’t seen mountains for seven years—since her father died in a mining accident and her mother married gasoline magnate, Shipley Newbold. But when her stepfather’s business acquaintance, Henry Ford, invites the family on one of his famous Vagabonds camping tours, she is forced to face the hills once again—primarily in order to reunite with her future fiancĂ©, owner of the land the Vagabonds are using for their campsite, a man she’s only met once before. It is a veritable arranged marriage, but she prefers it that way. Belle isn’t interested in love. She only wants a simple life—a family of her own and the stability of a wealthy man’s pockets. That’s what Worth Delafield has promised to give her and it’s worth facing the mountains again, the reminder of the past, and her poverty, to secure her future.

But when the Vagabonds group is invited to tour the unfinished Grove Park Inn and Belle is unexpectedly thrust into a role researching and writing about the building of the inn—a construction the locals are calling The Eighth Wonder of the World—she quickly realizes that these mountains are no different from the ones she once called home. As Belle peels back the facade of Grove Park Inn, of Worth, of the society she’s come to claim as her own, and the truth of her heart, she begins to see that perhaps her part in Grove Park’s story isn’t a coincidence after all. Perhaps it is only by watching a wonder rise from ordinary hands and mountain stone that she can finally find the strength to piece together the long-destroyed path toward who she was meant to be.

International bestselling author Joy Callaway returns with a story of the ordinary people behind extraordinary beauty—and the question of who gets to tell their stories.

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My Review

WHAT THE MOUNTAINS REMEMBER is an historical romance with some prominent figures from history. The main characters are lovely, with a few dramatic side characters, full of family dynamics, the societal disparities of the time, sweet romance, and a story that asks what people history decides to remember. Recommended to historical romance and fiction fans.

I loved these characters from the start. Belle is a sweet young woman who lives among the wealthy class due to her mother marrying a wealthy man after her father died in a mining accident. She's grateful for what she has as she's lived without. Belle and her mom protect their past and have conformed to their new lives' societal expectations. This lends a natural depth to Belle's character and also gives her a reason why she's okay with an arranged marriage after living through the grief of the loss of her dad. She's poised, kind, and resolute. She also has hidden talents and skills that come to light during the story. Worth is equally kind and steady. He also has hidden depths due to some difficult trauma in his past. They both don't want love in a marriage, but do want respect, companionship and children. I enjoyed watching their story unfold and how they developed friendship with the chance of more as they spent time together.

There are so many different aspects of this story. The romance wasn't the full focus, although I loved the chemistry including a couple of swoon-worthy moments. It was a very enjoyable aspect. I appreciated the way the author weaved all the historical details and themes throughout. There are stark differences between the lower class and the wealthy, including the limiting choices of marriage. The roles expected of men versus women are also prominently shown. One of my favorite aspects is the actual construction of the luxury hotel, so I also very much enjoyed Belle's interest. It was a bit fun having some prominent historical figures in the story, such as Edison, Ford and others. I thought it quite poignant how the story asked the question of which people history remembers, generally not the men and women who worked to the bone every day of their lives dealing with sickness and terrible living situations. There also were other themes of loss, forgiveness, and love.

The only things that didn't quite work for me were some of the overly dramatic parts. They're mostly towards the end, but I felt like for characters who were fairly reasonable and genuine, didn't stay consistent in some parts of the story. The parts were dramatic to the point that I couldn't resist rolling my eyes in a few parts. Thankfully, everything gets resolved in the end.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was an enjoyable story and well worth the read! It's a poignant reminder of appreciating people and what is most important in life, as well as a snapshot of a time in history weaved into a sweet love story.

Content: Some suggestive scenes, as well as references to mistresses and affairs, but nothing overly detailed. 
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Joy Callaway is the author of All the Pretty Places, The Grand Design, The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, and Secret Sisters. She holds a BA in journalism and public relations from Marshall University and an MMC from the University of South Carolina. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, John, and her children, Alevia and John. Visit her online at joycallaway.com.

You can find the author here.

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