Mountains Between Us by Jenny Proctor is the story of two people who have been hurt and are struggling to find better lives. They’ve been betrayed by family, yet they care about family members and want to help those they love while building a better future for themselves.
Eliza Redding’s father died when she was eleven, leading to her mother and older sister falling apart emotionally. Both became alcoholics with totally messed up lives. When things got too bad, Eliza, called for help and wound up in foster care. Her foster family were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and though they didn’t attempt to convert her, she liked what she learned about the family and their church. When she was old enough to choose for herself, she chose to be baptized. After becoming a licensed social worker she worked in Nashville for three years before taking on an exciting new challenge as a clinical counselor at Rockbridge Academy, deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Eliza is outgoing and perceptive. She soon draws the romantic attention of “Flip” another counselor.
Henry Jacobson married his high school sweetheart and is shocked a few years later to find himself a divorced father of a seven-year-old. His only memory of his own biological father is seeing him sign papers relinquishing his paternity. He doesn’t want his son to grow up feeling rejected and unwanted by his father as he did, but he can’t seem to communicate with the boy. Neither can he come to terms with the divorce. Henry appears to be cold and aloof and has difficulty forming friendships and dealing with students and co-workers.
Both Henry and Eliza are new to Rockbridge Academy. After an uncomfortable beginning, they become friends and become involved in helping each other deal with their family conflicts.
Proctor draws the reader in to experience the emotional conflicts of her characters as they deal with the heart-breaking conflicts in their lives and rise above the hurt that has been inflicted on them. Both Eliza and Henry move forward, but at differing paces to come to term with their losses and the deficiencies in their childhoods. The author doesn’t minimize the effort involved in learning to recognize what can’t be changed, but can be a starting place for achieving the kind of lives they want.
This book deals with some highly emotional issues, but the author is to be commended for not turning it into a tear jerker. Though the reader will experience emotional pain, he/she will also find it an uplifting move-forward story.
Mountains Between Us is Jenny Proctor’s second published novel. Both books are set in Western North Carolina, the place she has called home all of her life and where she, her husband and six children now live.
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MOUNTAINS BETWEEN US by Jenny Proctor, Published by Covenant Communications, 227 pages, soft cover $16.99, also available on CD and for e-readers