By Ann Hite
Much more than a ghost story, this is actually several stories interwoven throughout the history of Black Mountain. This novel is written in parts. It is told through the voices of integral characters of the story. Each voice is true to character, time, tradition and place.
We meet many of the people of Black Mountain as we learn of its secrets and history. Within the shadows of Black Mountain are many roads with unexpected twists and turns.
The book begins with Nellie, a young woman who goes against her mother to marry. Hobbs is an abusive man. As Nellie learns the secrets and depth of his abusive nature, she comes to terms with not only his past, but her future. Through Nellie we also meet many residents of Black Mountain.
Josie, Nellie’s mother, is the second voice telling the story. She gives her viewpoint, as a mother watching her daughter make life-altering mistakes. She tells of things that happen after Nellie leaves home for Black Mountain.
The third voice of Black Mountain is that of Shelly, born and bred there. She is an unwilling helper to Nellie, knowing more than she wants to of Black Mountain and its dark secrets. She and her family know the truth of Hobbs and his evil ways.
Part four is told by Hobbs longtime lover, Rose. She is an outsider who comes to the mountain looking for Hobbs and answers. She believes in Hobbs, knowing nothing of his deeds. She gets more than what she came for, also becoming part of Black Mountain and its secrets.
The voices that tell parts five and six are tightly woven, as mother and daughter Iona and Annie shed light on Black Mountain and its dark secretive history. Also outsiders, they are drawn to Black Mountain by circumstance. They bring the parts of the book together, completing the circle of voices and questions long unanswered.
The twists and turns of choices, consequences, and secrets run throughout this novel. Only in the end is there understanding and forgiveness, much like real life.
Ann Hite is an extraordinary storyteller. The Ghost on Black Mountain is quite a story!