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Ash Mountain

"A Star Book, this searing must-read shock of a novel set in an Australian bush fire also holds tender and amusing notes."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

A blistering, deep and provocative novel containing moments of heartbreaking emotion and poignant humour. Fran leaves the city and returns to her childhood home in Australia to take care of her Dad. Memories rush back in, but then a devastating bush fire takes hold. The plot and location are as different as different can be when compared to her previous book Worst Case Scenario (a LoveReading Star Book), however I could still feel the distinctive style of Helen FitzGerald. She could plonk her next story on Mars and I would be desperate to read it, this is a writer that as a reader, I would follow anywhere. I just want to mention the stunning cover while I’m here, you’ll find out about it after you’ve finished reading the book, just take a good look before you start. The first chapter hits hard, straight into the middle of chaos, the impact was huge. Set over ten days, we travel with Fran as she returns to Ash Mountain, then back and forwards in time, dropping into her memories before marching on towards the fire. The intimacy of Fran’s life and searing shock of the fire made me shiver and flinch. This is 211 pages of truly fabulous writing, and an all-consuming read. Ash Mountain buffeted my thoughts and smashed my emotions, but oh my, it will be a book I will never forget. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I really can’t praise it highly enough.

Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Star Books

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Primary Genre Family Drama
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Reader Reviews

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A darkly acerbic portrayal of small-town life and secrets and a searing portrayal of a natural disaster than changes everything...

A darkly acerbic portrayal of small-town life and secrets and a searing portrayal of a natural disaster than changes everything...

At just over two hundred pages, Ash Mountain ended up becoming one of the most compelling and brutally brilliant thrillers I can remember. In parts, devastating and in others shot through with laugh out loud dark humour, the story provides the ultimate test for the gutsy female protagonist, Fran.

Snarky forty-something, Fran Collins, arrives back in the small town she grew up in to care for her ailing father with mixed feelings; she loves her dad, her teen pregnancy mistake and son, Dante, lives there and sixteen-year-old daughter, Vonny, will be coming to visit at the weekends, but the town is depressingly unchanged and her childhood traumas are hurtling back.

Rachel Hall

Helen Fitzgerald’s distinctive writing style, shockingly dark humour and feisty characters are back and I absolutely love it!

Smart, strong and sassy, Fran is a survivor who tells it like it is and is unmistakably one of Helen Fitzgerald’s creations. Raised by her single father in the small outback town of Ash Mountain, Fran is confident in her own abilities, after all, she raised a pretty well-balanced son and daughter herself. But Fran is uncertain about her new role. Caring for her father who has suffered a stroke is not going to be easy but Fran rises to the challenge and gets stuck into solving problems as they arise. He’s cantankerous and won’t leave the house so she invents ‘Gramps on a stick’ and brings the world to his bedside.

S. Harper

A powerful, no-holds-barred piece of writing covering many complex family issues head-on.

My first experience at reading work by Helen Fitzgerald. The novel was dark, gritty and her method of writing very descriptive and detailed. I personally found the book a little difficult to get into initially but the writer’s style then grew on me.

We meet Fran, the lead character, who has returned to Ash Mountain, initially under sufferance, as she cares for her elderly father. By coming back home Fran finds feelings she thought she had buried deep rise to the surface once more. The story develops as she revisits family, friends and faces she thought she had forgotten in her small-town community.

Throughout we see Fran confronting demons from her youth as well as her rocky relationship with the church, education and the matured father of her child.

Caroline Highy