Thursday, September 15, 2011
Blog Tour Review: Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite
Date: September 13, 2011
Acquired: from Gallery and Pocket Blog Tours
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book in return for an honest review.)
Reading time: three days
Back of the book: Nellie Clay married Hobbs Pritchard without even noticing he was a spell conjured into a man, a walking, talking ghost story. But her mama knew. She saw it in her tea leaves: death. Folks told Nellie to get off the mountain while she could, to go back home before it was too late. Hobbs wasn't nothing but trouble. He'd even killed a man. No telling what else. That mountain was haunted, and soon enough, Nellie would feel it too. One way or another, Hobbs would get what was coming to him. The ghosts would see to that...
My review: It's rare that a literary novel has me unable to put it down, but Ghost on Black Mountain had me staying up late reading. For once, all the quotes praising a book on its front cover are completely true and sum up the feelings of the story better than I can. The most amazing part of the book is how the five female voices that tell the novel in parts are so interwoven. They each add details to Nellie's story, details that are missing from others' narrations because of their different perspectives. Ghost on Black Mountain isn't just a tale of a single murder and haunting; the ghosts and mysteries of the mountain and the lives it touches are as multifaceted as the five narrators. I believe it takes a great deal of writing talent to be able to pull such a far-reaching and complex story together, and Hite not only manages to succeed in doing so, but also appears to do it with ease while having the folklore flavor of the Southern Appalachians shine through as well.
Dislikes? That Hite is a short story writer and is writing about some difficult subjects comes through occasionally in that I felt some characters' thoughts and behaviors at certain points could have been developed a bit more. All the improbabilities of the plot began to bother me a bit towards the end, and I could see parallels between this novel and the very melodramatic gothic novels of the late 18th and 19th centuries. Despite these slight issues, I still finished the novel feeling that, overall, it was quite masterfully written and one of my favorite reads this year.