Thursday, July 4, 2024

BORN OF GILDED MOUNTAINS by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Winnie and Rebecca

It’s always such a treat to dive into another book by this author. She’s definitely one of my favorites. I find I have to set aside some extra time when I’m reading her stories, because I’m always stopping to re-read sentences and paragraphs. Her writing is so beautiful, poetic, and full of deep meaning that I love savoring it and soaking it up! The settings are unique and perfect, the characters are beautifully crafted, and the author’s imagination and creativity are brilliant.

The setting of this book in the small town of Mercy Peak in the Colorado mountains is captivating and delightful. The townspeople were so warm and quick to capture my heart.

“You’re one of us now; you’re ours when you live in Mercy Peak, so you’d better get used to it.”

“That’s the thing about Mercy Peak . . . they don’t give up on you. Not even if it takes a lifetime.”

I loved the unusual friendship and bond between Mercy (Marybeth) and Rusty forged through years of being pen pals and sharing their feelings with each other.

“You’re the sister I always wanted. God just gave you to me through paper and ink, instead of blood.”

“You were a light to me more times than I can count. We find ourselves in shadowed spots . . . we share the light. It’s what we do, you and me.”

Born of Gilded Mountains is an exquisitely-written tale that takes the reader on a journey of discovery, friendship, adventure, healing, and hope. The mystery embedded in the story was an added bonus with lots of twists and turns. The cover of the book is absolutely beautiful and so meaningful to the novel.

If you haven’t read any of this author’s books yet, you’re missing out on some riveting, magical stories. This one’s going straight to my keeper shelf with the rest of her books!

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House. All opinions are my own.

"Blood moons were made for pact-swearing. Four boys orbiting ten years old knew it, and so did the mountains standing witness."

Time had a way of dissolving, destroying, and disillusioning what happened under the moon that night, illuminating the extraordinary mountain tops surrounding the idyllic mining town of Mercy Peak, Colorado. The clock also had a way of reviving, resurrecting, and resolving promises made between two lonely little girls, from east to west apart, but sisters of the heart, as they innocently and eloquently penned their deepest thoughts and dreams upon the pages of letters that were both delivered and dispatched up and down those same peaks by the trusty Galloping Goose Railcar 8.

Until one day . . . the train didn't arrive, futures were shattered, and a friendship that was meant to last . . . departed in utter confusion. Until another day . . . when Mercy Windsor, blown to smithereens by the winds of Hollywood scandal comes back to the only place that might feel like home . . . purchasing a ruinous mansion and inheriting a turret of secrets. What does restoration really look like . . . under the stars?

Admittedly, completing the first few chapters of this tale made me feel as if I had disappeared down a rather unconventional rabbit hole, but as soon as my feet touched solid ground the story took off; rapidly convincing me rather that I was reading something very special indeed. Word flow? Second to none. Characters? Uniquely crafted. Story line? As imaginative as one story about hope everlasting could be.

As Joan of Arc so famously declared, "Go forward bravely. Fear nothing. Trust in God; all will be well." 
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 4.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
A lost treasure. A riddled quest. The healing power of friendship.

Legends are tucked into every fold of the Colorado mountains surrounding the quaint town of Mercy Peak, where residents are the stuff of tall tales, the peaks are taller still, and a lost treasure has etched mystery into the very terrain.

In 1948, when outsider Mercy Windsor arrives after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood's beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood, an abandoned estate with a haunting history, and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of the mountain's lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8, which vanished years ago--along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention the fabled treasure that--if found--could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.

Bethany House, June, 2024
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