In Sight of the Mountain by Jamie McGillen: Review by Meilee Anderson
I don’t normally read romance novels but I thoroughly enjoyed In Sight of the Mountain. This historical fiction is much more than a love story. There are so many reasons I like this book. A story about my favorite mountain, inspired by Fay Fuller (first woman to summit Rainier) written by a local woman author? I’m in! I’m all in. Give me this book!
I was not disappointed. I tore through this book and when it was over, I longed for a sequel. Our main character, Anna is a woman I absolutely would want to know and spend time with. She loves to read (my kind of woman). She likes adventure. Me too, but I’m no mountaineer.
Anna knows tragedy, she lost her parents at an early age. She and her brother are raised by her loving grandfather a widower who remarried. Anna knows how to face the unknown and push past her comfort zone. She’s feisty and thinks for herself. Society be damned Anna is loyal to her peeps. To Anna the character and integrity of a person is more important than their social status. Anna’s good qualities are abundant.
In Sight of the Mountain takes place in the late 1880’s in Seattle after the Great Seattle Fire. The author Jamie McGillen, tells us the story of Anna, her brother, her grandfather and his wife. We meet a couple of men who want a trophy wife. We meet Anna’s besties June, Emily and Heather. I was surprised by June’s story, found Emily to be predictable and adored Heather. I enjoyed seeing these friendships develop.
We meet Levi, Anna’s brother who loves her but is stuck in his ideas of what his sister’s life should look like. We meet Ben, Anna’s love interest. I can see why she falls for the man. In Sight of the Mountain has mystery, adventure, and romance. It’s easy to see why readers rated it the #1 New Release on Amazon for its category.
Back to the characters, the grandfather, Oscar is a good but flawed man. He clearly loves his granddaughter and his wife but he’s also a racist with a gambling and drinking problem. Yikes! In many ways he supports and encourages Anna. He encourages her to read and work in the family business but he also holds her back and stifles her wanderlust. The family home is a safe place, but one burdened by the impact Oscar’s occasional gambling and binge drinking. He’s a man of contradictions.
Oscar’s wife Greta is endearing. She loves Anna and is a source of support and encouragement. Anna is gently but consistently pressured to find a good man and settle down to home and hearth. It’s her brother and her grandfather that do most of the pushing, not sweet Greta. The story takes place in 1889 and though society had clear expectations on women and their roles, Anna wasn’t in hurry to sacrifice her happiness for security. Yay Anna!
Like Anna I too am drawn to the mountain and can swoon over the prose of legendary conservationist John Muir’s writing. I’ve never hiked above 6,000 feet elevation but I know people who have summited Rainier. I’ve seen the glimmer in their eyes when they talk about the climb. The material in the book that talks about Anna’s dream, preparation and journey all felt authentic to me.
I enjoyed the way the author brought the history of the Seattle’s early days to life. I liked reading about familiar places in Seattle and knew instantly the areas referred to at Longmire, and Reflection Lakes. I’m putting my copy of this book on my shelf right next to the “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford because “In Sight of the Mountain” is a keeper.
See what the author has to say here.
Find the author’s bio here.
Buy In Sight of the Mountain here.