Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: "When Mountains Move" by Julie Cantrell

When Mountains Move Julie Cantrell
Published: September 1, 2013
ISBN: 9780781404259
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Personal Copy (Church book club selection)
Recommended for fans of Historical Fiction

It is the spring of 1943. With a wedding and a cross-country move, Millie’s world is about to change forever.  If only her past could change with it. Soon after the break of day, Bump will become Millie’s husband. And then, if all goes as planned, they will leave the rain-soaked fields of Mississippi and head for the wilds of the Colorado Rockies. As Millie tries to forget a dark secret, she hasn’t yet realized how drastically those past experiences will impact the coming days.For most of Millie’s life, being free felt about as unlikely as the mountains moving. But she’s about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances, and that the only thing bigger than her past … is her future.

My Thoughts:
This is a difficult review to write for a few reasons.  It is the sequel to another novel, which means that there is substantial back story and, in this case, I would recommend that people read Into the Free before reading this book.  Also, because it is a sequel, several elements of the plot actually began in the first book.  So, this is sort of a review of both books.

I also want to put out that, while this is labeled as a "Christian Fiction" work, that is due more to the fact that it was put out by a Christian publishing house than with subject matter.  Yes, faith is mentioned, but not any more than one would find in a mainstream novel.  Readers who go in expecting a Christian novel probably won't be disappointed, but neither will readers wanting something mainstream.  I would hate for someone to pass by this book simply because it is labeled as religious.

As for the book itself, I did enjoy Into the Free, but felt the ending was abrupt and unsatisfying (THEN I found out there was a sequel!) so I almost think that these two books should be read together.  Because Cantrell does a complete job of developing characters in the first book, the main characters are pretty much brought on in this book "as is."  There are a few secondary characters, the neighbor, Kat, and the ranch hand, Fortner, that Cantrell explores.  Kat is developed in a more natural fashion, while Fortner is an enigma until the end of the book.  Other than that, the secondary characters who were not previously introduce in Into the Free are kept in the background.

The plot of this book is quieter than its predecessors.  Quite a bit went on in Into the Free, whereas this book is more streamlined and deals with fewer topics.  I believe it was because of that more than anything else that led me to enjoy this book even more than the first.  In retrospect, Into the Free more than anything served as a set up for this book, which brings everything to a close.

There were parts that I found predictable, but that didn't irritate me too much.  By the time these scenes came up, I was already invested in the story.  I did feel that the ending was a bit too condensed.  By that, I mean that Cantrell wrapped up a lot of threads at once and that was somewhat frustrating to me as a reader.

While I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read Into the Free, I would heartily recommend both books together to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, no matter what their religious beliefs may be.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

Into the Free
by Julie Cantrell
When Mountains Move
by Julie Cantrell

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