Posted in Reviews

Review: The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

Today, I am pleased to share my review for The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery. Tomorrow, I’ll have a Q&A with Ms. Montgomery! Make sure you don’t miss it! 

The Scent of RainThe Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have always been fascinated by fringe religious groups, including the FLDS, or Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. So when I got the chance to read this book, I was very excited to get started.

This book was hard to read – very hard to read, at points. The subject matter is intense and based on real-life events and people.

But it is so, so important to read and digest. It makes some great points about what people believe, want to believe, and what they’ll do in the name of faith and love. This book has some heroes and some villains, some both. That creates, I think, a really true-to-life dynamic of the working of these communities. Some people are just really, really bad. Some people do bad things and get away with them. And we have to navigate that.

The book follows both the stories of Rose, a young FLDS girl, who feels that something is not right in her community, and Adan, a foster child who runs away from his group home and is discovered by a local man who works closely with the FLDS community. When their journeys intersect, it will change the community forever, if they can stay alive.

I loved the dynamic between Rose and Adan. It wasn’t sappy, overly romantic nonsense. It was really true-to-life for the characters; with her never having seen a boy outside her community and him also fascinated and attracted.

The revelations Trak and Chase had about why they (the community, including themselves) allow the FLDS to operate without interference we’re really good too. I think they made some really important points that we could learn from.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. I think it was believable and really made some amazing points about faith, love and what we can tolerate as a community. If you’re interested in this subject at all, you’ll want to read this book.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Posted in Author Q&As

Author Q&A: Anne Montgomery

9780996390149_p0_v2_s192x300Yesterday, I shared my review of the fabulous book, The Scent of Rain by Anne Montgomery. Now, we get to hear more details about the book and Anne’s own true experience with the people of Colorado City as well as what she has coming up next!

Enjoy!

What inspired you to take on this subject?

The ideas for all of my books come from current events. I am an admitted news junkie and have been reading the newspaper front to back daily for about 40 years. I’ve learned that truth is often far stranger than fiction. Stories about the polygamists in Colorado City are often in the news here in Arizona. I had never heard about the cult until I moved here and was shocked that such a group could exist today in the US. In regard to Rose, the 16-year-old protagonist, I am a teacher in a Title I high school in Phoenix. Many of my students come from difficult and disadvantaged backgrounds. I am also a foster mom. I have seen what abuse and neglect can do to children first hand.

Many of the non-FLDS characters describe the hostility they face from the residents of Colorado City and at the end of the book, you said you traveled to Colorado City for inspiration and experienced similar treatment. What was that like?

I find it impossible to write stories without actually visiting the locations where my characters live, so I recruited a friend and we drove to Colorado, City. We concocted a story about looking for a place to retire. As we studied the community, children stared at us as if we were monsters. They are told that outsiders are devils. We drove around town, stopping at the the local market, the shuttered public school, the grave yard, and the leader’s palatial estate. I’m pretty sure we were being followed, at times. It was very disconcerting. I’m not afraid of many things, but I have to admit I was uncomfortable while doing research on site and have no desire to go back.

What other research did you do for the book?

As a former reporter, I greatly enjoy digging for a story. I read articles about Colorado City and conducted interviews with people who had lived or worked in the community, including Flora Jessop, who escaped twice from the cult and today works with the Child Protection Project: an anti-child abuse group that helps women and girls escape from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The stories Flora told me were so harrowing that to this day I have not listened to the three-hour recording of our interview session. The images were burned into my brain. I also interviewed Dr. Theodore Tarby who bravely confronted the cult members, asking them to refrain from marrying and reproducing with their close relatives, after he discovered that the cause of the awful birth defects in the community were the result of incest. Unfortunately, Dr. Tarby was ignored.

Many scenes in the book are very emotional and are based on real-life FLDS decrees and beliefs. How did you decide what to include in the book? 

I took into account the stories that Flora Jessop relayed and, when possible, I gave those experiences to Rose. I find it interesting that some readers have been put off by certain scenes and have suggested that I have overplayed the situation. But the vast majority of the information I wrote about came directly from my interviews with Flora and Dr. Tarby. I also included information gleaned from newspaper articles and TV reports.

What do you hope people take away from the book?

Be aware of what’s happening around you and speak up when warranted. Some characters in “The Scent of Rain” are kind, well-meaning people, but they don’t acknowledge what’s happening right under their noses. Mistreatment of people, especially children, is something no one should tolerate, and no belief or religion should be a mask for abuse.

What are you working on next?

Two of my books that were previously published are to be soon to be reissued. “A Light in the Desert” is a soft-thriller involving a Vietnam veteran who is succumbing to a strange form of mental illness called the Jerusalem Syndrome, a pregnant teenager, and the deadly, real-life, cold-case sabotage of an Amtrak train in the Arizona desert. “Nothing But Echoes” is historical fiction that deals with the discovery of a fabulous tomb in Northern Arizona that reveals a man interred 900 years ago who doesn’t look like the pueblo people who buried him, and which leads to questions about archeological looting, the black market sale of antiquities, and when Europeans first arrived in the Americas. “The Castle,” which tells the story of a female National Park ranger who is a rape survivor and the serial rapist who is stalking her, is currently being offered to publishers.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

First, don’t quit your day job. It’s extremely difficult in the ever-changing of world of publishing to make a living as an author. And remember that authors are not just story tellers. In order to be successful, they must be marketers and bloggers and speakers. Also, an author will not survive without extremely thick skin. Rejections can wear you down, but they are part of the process. When someone says no, politely ask why. Respect the person’s opinion and see what you can do better. Obviously, writers must write. When you finish that perfect novel, take a few breaths then write another one. Publishers are not looking for a one-hit wonder. They want to sign people who produce lots of books. Finally, try not to take the ups and downs of publishing too seriously. If you have a sense of humor and appreciate those baby steps forward, you will be a much happier author.

Author Q&A’s

Posted in Book Extras

The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!

image001In March, I’m super excited to be part of the blog tour for “The Girl From Rawblood,” by Catriona Ward, which I have just finished reading and am now obsessed with.

From the publisher – but trust me, the description can’t do it justice:

For generations the Villarcas have died mysteriously, and young. Now Iris and her father will finally understand why. . .

 

At the turn of England’s century, as the wind whistles in the lonely halls of Rawblood, young Iris Villarca is the last of her family’s line. They are haunted, through the generations, by “her,” a curse passed down through ancient blood that marks each Villarca for certain heartbreak, and death.

 

Iris forsakes her promise to her father, to remain alone, safe from the world. She dares to fall in love, and the consequences of her choice are immediate and terrifying. As the world falls apart around her, she must take a final journey back to Rawblood where it all began and where it must all end…

 

From the sun dappled hills of Italy to the biting chill of Victorian dissection halls, The Girl from Rawblood is a lyrical and haunting historical novel of darkness, love, and the ghosts of the past.

To get you excited, below is a Chapter One sneak peak, as well as a chance to win a free copy of the book (starting the 27!), which comes out March 7!

Continue reading “The Girl From Rawblood: Preview and Giveaway!”

Posted in Reviews

The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni

The Trapped Girl (Tracy Crosswhite #4)The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Robert Dugoni is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and this book may be the one to cement it.

This book is filled with suspense, intrigue and enough mystery to keep you guessing until the exact moment Dugoni wants you to know what’s going on. It’s part of the Tracy Crosswhite series, but can be read as a standalone – although the rest of the series is so good, you should probably plan to pick them all up anyway.

A young fisherman pulls up a crab pot, and inside is a body – the woman obviously didn’t want to be found very easily leading up to her death. Once she’s identified, Tracy and her team safe thrust into a complicated web of missing people, deceiving husbands and money, lots of money.

This book will leave you guessing until the very end. Much of what happens in the key moments happens on Mt. Rainier, in scenes reminiscent of the many urban legends and mysteries that take place on the sides of mountains, where you’re left wondering if you ever truly know what happened (for my fellow nerds out there: I’m thinking of the Dyatlov Pass incident and the many books that has inspired or John Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”).

What I love about Dugoni’s books is that he creates these amazing stories with great twists, but the ending is so satisfying. Everything makes sense – it’s not some outrageous completely unbelievable scenario, created just for shock value.

In short, do yourself a favor and pick this book up when it comes out next month. Until then, you can get ready by reading the first three novels in the Tracy Crosswhite series. You won’t regret it.

View all my reviews