Sterlen and a Mosaic of Mountain Women – An Unexpectedly Exciting Read
Review by Julia Asel Thomas
Amy Ammons Garza blew my socks off with her amazingly well-drawn characters and intriguing storyline. I had expected a sedate story set in the mountains. Sterlen and a Mosaic of Mountain Women was indeed set in the mountains, but it was so much more than that. The characters brought to life the mores, language and culture of mountain life. Not only was the story true to that way of life, but the characters were remarkably well drawn.
Although the story’s title suggests that it is mainly about a character named Sterlen, it seemed to me that it was really the story of one of those mountain women. The book opens with a visit by a folkloric-style mountain man bringing his gift of music and song to a family in rural North Carolina. The entire family was featured prominently in the story, but the one to watch was the dark and silent young woman named Marthie. Marthie turns out to have lived through a series of overwhelming traumas. As the story progresses, we find out the depth of those experiences. But Sterlen has fallen in love with Marthie, almost at first sight. The rest of the story revolves around their courtship and how Marthie, with Stelen’s help, resolves her inner struggles.
At first, I was skeptical of the story. It had a few technical issues that I immediately found off-putting. For example, the author used passive voice occasionally. She also sometimes slipped into mountain-speak during the narrative portions of the story. However, by the second chapter I was so intrigued with the dramatic twists and turns of the story and the marvelously rich character development that I no longer noticed those minor problems. The story seemed to leap off the pages and directly into my imagination.
The book’s supreme readability and intricate storyline left me wanting more. I would love to read a similar book about any of the mountain people featured in the book. And, even though the story was based on true events, I suspect that if the author writes more about the Ammons family, I will find myself as wrapped up in the storytelling as I was with this amazing book. I heartily recommend this beautiful story.
by Amy Ammons
Price: eBook – $2.99
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