Montana’s surely as far as you can get from the killing hills of Afghanistan. No interpreters needed for an American reporter here. No threats around every corner. No sudden death.
That’s what war correspondent Lola Wicks thinks anyway as she returns from Kabul and plans a brief, rebellious visit with her less enterprising colleague and friend. But Lola’s friend is dead, and the streets of a small Montana town might be as alien as the language of Facebook and Twitter or as dangerous as the alleyways of Kabul.
Lola loses her assignment as Gwen Florio’s Montana begins. But soon she’s lost her friend, her grounding, and her plans for the future. An enjoyable, cynical, independent protagonist, she’s portrayed in this novel with a gritty, honest voice and firm determination. Expert at connecting with strangers in a foreign land, she struggles to read the people of her own. Expert at getting her own way, she’s quickly trapped in someone else’s. Expert at leaving, she struggles to find herself and come home.
The Montana landscape, its people, its animals and its traditions all play a vital part in this tale. First People live in the borderlands of two countries, while Lola inhabits a bubble between two worlds. Death and life live side by side, fire and water, and future and past. The dialog is convincing, reflecting different relationships and different people. And the clues to the mystery gradually turn into truth at just the right speed.
As Lola solves her friend’s death, she slowly resolves her own life. New relationships build themselves around her and, reluctantly, she learns to rely on others. But she’s been betrayed before. Will she manage to trust the people she’s met long enough to open her heart, or will she run away again? Not just a mystery, this is a novel of people, place, relationships and hope, and it's highly recommended.
Disclosure: I was given a free preview edition by the publisher with a request for my honest review.