A Road Through the Mountains Review
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I'm going to cut to the chase here: I didn't like this book at all. I found it boring, long winded, and a trifle self-important. However, there was something about the writing that made me plug on through to the end and not give up somewhere around page 100. The writing was undeniably beautiful, and the author has a way of capturing different points of view very well. I just couldn't get myself immersed in the storyóin other words, I didn't care very much about the characters or what happened to them.

Part of the problem was that I couldn't figure out who McGregor wanted me to care about the most, and the sheer volume of main characters didn't help me decide. There's Anna Russell, gifted artist and single mother, and her daughter, Rachel, who suffers from Aspergerís Syndrome. Or thereís Anna's mother, Grace, who struggles with seeing her daughter fall into the same emotional traps that she had as a young woman. And David Mortimer, the man Anna left in England ten years ago, not knowing she carried his child. Last but not least, there's James Garrett, a slimy art dealer and Anna's current boyfriend. There are also several other characters playing seemingly important roles, but you rarely see them outside of a few paragraphs.

Another factor that made me less-than-love this book was the plotóor rather, plots, because there are several going on at once. McGregor weaves the different storylines together fairly deftly and cohesively, but for this reader, it was just too much.

When Anna gets into a serious car accident and is left in a coma, Grace contacts David Mortimer, with whom Anna hasnít had any contact in a decade. David comes to Boston, trying to cope with Annaís accident, Annaís departure ten years earlier, and finally meeting his daughteróas well as accepting her disability. David soon discovers a plot by James Garrett to capitalize on Annaís condition, and a battle of wills and mistrust begins. Does James truly care for Anna, or does he just care about her artwork?

For me, the sub-plot that broke the camelís back was McGregorís many references to an obscure botanistís travels to China in the 19th century. David is a botanist, and he studied the manís work at Oxford. Heís often found solace in his predecessorís writings, especially after Annaís sudden and unexplained decision to leave England.

While itís possible to weave these numerous plots and characters into a solid story, it sometimes makes for a very convoluted novel.

McGregorís writing itself, though, is beautiful and seamless. She successfully captures the lush beauty of the Emerald Necklace section of greater Boston, the breathtaking seaside of Maine, and even the elegant ruggedness of rural 1800s China. Her characters are nuanced and endearing when they should be, and her villains as crooked as they come. All in all it was a beautiful novel, well-written, but way too complicated for this readerís tastes.

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