Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Singing Mountain - review

Solstice Publishing - January 2013

 1918 – 1940 Set in the mysterious Welsh mountains, this is the story of Megan a working class girl from a mining town who falls in love with someone far above her. Ignoring tradition and disregarding the advice of her family and friends, Megan weds Ian, the wealthy local landowner. 

Soon Megan is expecting her first child, but the first flush of love begins to be eroded by Ian’s family. When her son is born it seems to Megan that he’s in danger - something she tries to credibly articulate, but without success.  She is labeled hysterical, and unstable. Her husband is torn between wanting to believe her, but is forced to accept the more rational explanation of doctor and family members. Megan is scared of losing Ian’s love, and the son she has borne him, and at times she questions her own sanity.

During her lonely walks in the high country the voice of the mountain calls Megan. Aware of the unusual forces surrounding her she confides in Alun, a gypsy who befriends her. He relates to her the legend of Rhiannan, the White Witch, and she understands she has past issues to resolve before she can find peace in the present. Alun takes her through the circle of stones into the Otherworld. Time is flexible as they move between past and present meeting people they’ve known before. One of them is Wil, with whom Megan shares a deep affinity.

Megan’s marriage settles down as she begins to understand herself, but twenty years later the repercussions of her involvement in the Otherworld come back to haunt her when bad magic comes to threaten everything she loves. Megan has made an enemy that follows her through time - the White Owl. Raked by its poisonous claws Megan’s life is at a low ebb when her beloved son Huw, goes through the stones to seek the help of Rhiannan, The White Witch.

There is nothing contrived about this novel.  A connection is established with the characters early in the story. The author is Welsh-born, and the empathy with her heritage through her characters is strong. The Celtic love of folklore with all its mystery and drama glows through, and the language is evocative of the time and place. The novel deserves its fine cover.  

This is Anne E Summers first published book. She’s made a fine fist of it. The writing is beautifully lyrical and the fantasy element is believable - anchored as it is to Megan’s reality. The dangers encountered in both the Otherworld, and Megan’s present keep the tensions high. The characters captivate, and their stories raise the emotional levels.

A highly entertaining story that lingers in your heart long after you’ve finished reading it.
Janet Woods  * *  * *  *

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