In the well-known style of Anne Rivers Siddons, Burnt Mountain begins in the slow, somewhat dreamy way that illustrates Southern life and traditions. I could almost feel the humidity and see the lush trees and old houses that typify Atlanta.
Childhood moments, trauma, and a devastating love affair carry Thayer Wentworth, our primary character, into a love match and marriage with Aengus O’Neill. What begins as a happy love connection turns suddenly, and almost inexplicably, into a dark and mystical horror tale. The magic (and the horror) center on a strange camp with a reputation for turning potential bad boys into well-behaved ones.
What secret events are going on at the camp? And what does any of it have to do with magic and mysticism?
In the beginning, I enjoyed this story and Thayer’s journey from the traditional childhood into independent young womanhood, but moments from the past continue to plague her until the day she learns about a terrible betrayal by her mother. One that changed the course of her life.
I would have enjoyed seeing Thayer confront her mother about what she did all those years ago. Further, I think the story needed a confrontation between Thayer and Aengus. Instead, we see an abrupt end, followed by an epilogue that seems totally too surreal to fit with this story.
I would have given this one four stars until I got to the ending. Therefore, I’m awarding three stars.