Author: Jamie McGillen
Narrator: Sarah Brands
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes
Released: Apr. 24, 2020
Publisher: The Evergreen Bookshelf
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Fiction
“An engaging escapade with a feisty female lead.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A beautifully written story. A must-read for those who are striving to fulfill their dreams…” (Seattle Book Review)
“An epic and gripping work of historical fiction… the perfect historical read for fans of pioneering heroes and tales of triumph over discrimination.” (Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review)
In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, 19-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon. But she has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house. She wants to be the first woman to summit Mount Rainier.
Anna’s grandfather couldn’t disapprove more. And after he discovers that she’s befriended a Duwamish woman in the forest, he threatens to disown her completely.
Still, her resolve to summit doesn’t waver until she meets a fisherman who seems to love adventure as much as she does. He’s not the kind of high society gentleman who could save their family’s finances after the fire, but he adores her and treats her like an equal.
Mountaineering through glaciers, avalanches, and frozen temperatures might cause Anna’s family to disown her forever. It might even ruin any future marriage prospects. But if she succeeds in reaching the icy peak, she could pioneer the way for women mountaineers, and create a new identify for herself, something she’s been longing for her whole life.
Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th century who dared to summit Mount Rainier, In Sight of the Mountain is a charming coming-of-age story, but it also casts the reader’s gaze upon issues of colonialism, class, and women’s far-too-narrow options.
Jamie McGillen lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier, and no matter how many times she moves away, it draws her home. Everything about large evergreen trees delights her, except how poky they are, and the sap. Her poems and essays have been published in numerous literary journals, and she teaches English Composition at Highline College. When she’s not teaching or cutting strawberries for her starving children, she enjoys writing rhyming poetry, but it’s simply not as popular as it used to be. You can find out more about her at http://www.jamiemcgillen.com.
Sarah has had a long love affair with audiobooks. She first fell in love with Little Dragon and Orange Cheeks by Jay O’Callahan at age 5 and has been listening ever since. Back then, of course, they were books on tape. Her dream of becoming an audiobook narrator started to become a reality when she began volunteering at Learning Ally as a reader. Outside of reading and narrating, she enjoys baking (when there’s not a flour shortage due to a pandemic), hiking, and dabbling in writing and drawing. Sarah finds herself interested in many things, reflected by her work history: waitress, retail associate, licensed forklift driver, salesperson, special education teacher, reading therapist, and professional learning facilitator… Currently she daylights in ed tech sales and moonlights in her recording booth. She lives in Virginia, grew up in Oklahoma, and a piece of her heart will always be in Colorado.
Emigrating to the Pacific Northwest from Ireland as a child after losing her parents and grandmother to disease, Anna Gallagher’s story truly begins with the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 when she is nineteen years old.
Independent and unconventional, Anna doesn’t want the life dictated by society—that of a silent, submissive wife of a man of means. She wants to travel and explore the world and experience new things. But the first experience she yearns for looms above her every day… Mt Rainier. The mountain has called to her since her childhood and Anna would give anything to be the first woman to complete a summit to its peak.
But respectable young ladies don’t climb mountains or visit childhood friends who now work in brothels, or befriend Native American women indigenous to the area.
Nor do they secretly apply to join a summer expedition to summit to the mountain.
But Anna Gallagher does all these things… and she is respectable and lives within the guidelines her grandfather has set for her. Most of the time. Okay, sometimes.
Shunning the advances of a young doctor, Anna is resolved to living her life alone, knowing she’ll never find a man who will support her dreams. When her older brother, Levi, returns from sea for the winter, he brings a friend who makes Anna rethink being part of a couple. Ben doesn’t make fun of her opinions and even agrees to teach her unladylike things like archery. Ben also agrees to help Anna solve the mystery of the notes found inside a Russian copy of Anna Karenina, and Anna knows she’s found a soulmate. But her grandfather would never allow her to marry a common fisherman, and Ben has secrets of his own.
Though she walks a fine line between societal mores and living life on her own terms, this well-written character does so with more grace and maturity than most of those around her. Family condemnation, bigotry, sexism, elitism, and new love are some of the things Anna deals with in In Sight of the Mountain, but at its heart it’s about what a young woman has to sacrifice simply to realize her dreams.
Honestly, the YA label almost made me pass this one by, but I’m glad I didn’t, and those who enjoy historical fiction and women’s fiction will enjoy Anna’s story and it’s wonderful narration.
I volunteered to review this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jamie McGillen. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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