One Mountain Away - Goddesses Anonymous Series, Book 1
By Dorine Linnen
Jul 2, 2012 - 8:00:00 AM

Charlotte Hale is a savvy, very successful, business woman with a quirky instability ‒ the inability to park a car within an allotted space, no matter how hard she tries.  She's bossy and brass, as well as used to getting her own way.  She has built an empire from very modest beginnings and no one knows more than her family what she's sacrificed to be at the top of her field.  For all her self-confidence, how can she feel so small waiting on her minister at this very moment?  Could it be that she's not as self-assured or as perfect as she believes?

Reverend Analiese "Ana" Wagner pulls into the parking lot at Asheville's Church of the Covenant and discovers that someone has parked partially in her designated parking place.  Once she recognizes whose car it is, she finds another spot and prays for patience amongst other things.  Charlotte Hale and Reverend Ana don't usually see eye-to-eye on most subjects and since Ana needs to prepare for a memorial service beginning within an hour, patience isn't the only virtue she'll need.  Reverend Ana is nothing but honest, and the big question will be ‒ is Charlotte ready to hear her?

Ethan Martin does his best to help his daughter care for her ten-year-old child who has epilepsy.  As a single mom, Taylor works two jobs to help support herself and Maddie.  She receives financial support from Maddie's father, but raising her daughter in a safe environment takes every moment that she's not working.  Luckily, she has her best friend, Samantha, and her daughter, Edna, to help make life seem as normal as possible.  Can life really always be normal, or is a bit of a shake-up just what this single mom needs?

Ethan finds his mind wandering, thinking about his ex-wife, Charlotte, because he's sure he saw her watching Maddie at the park today.  For ten years, since the day Maddie was born, Ethan and his daughter have successfully avoided Charlotte.  Now he's not sure why his ex-wife has surfaced and how he's going to tell his daughter about it.  Taylor still holds a great deal of anger toward her mother and Ethan doesn't blame her.  Has Charlotte always been lurking unseen around the corner, and if not, why would she start now?

Harmony Stoddard works at the coffee shop that Charlotte frequents.  After a bad night dealing with rude customers, Harmony just needs some rest.  Charlotte had witnessed the situation and hopes to assure Harmony that the incidents weren't her fault.  What she doesn't expect is to find the young woman sleeping in her car and decidedly offering her own home as a refuge.  Is this unexpected gift to a stranger really a wise thing to do?

These are just a few of the intriguing characters you'll meet in book one of the GODDESSES ANONYMOUS series by author Emilie Richards.  Charlotte has taken up journaling, so while the characters weave in and out of Charlotte's life, so do the memories of her past, much of which she needs to atone for.  What I loved best about this novel is the interaction between the characters scattered amongst Charlotte's spiritual growth.  Most of the women are quick-witted and sometimes smart-mouthed to the extent of being very funny at the most unexpected moments.  I'm especially fond of Harmony and hope to find her in future novels.  Reverend Ana is a hoot and so perfect for Charlotte at this time of her life.  And Ethan.  What an amazing man.

I need to mention that ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY may not meet the expectations of those who read mostly romance, even though it has a beautiful love story within it.  It's women's fiction and definitely follows a different drummer, which is why I love it.  I highly recommend this novel as an inspirational journey well worth the box of tissue you'll go through while reading, and even though there's a great deal of love within this novel, it's more about women's relationships and their personal growth.  ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY is filled with sorrow, optimism, forgiveness, faith and a deep love that transcends a lifetime.

Emile Richards' talent for characterization makes this novel a pure joy to read.  Every moment spent with each of the characters seems completely in-tune with how you'd imagine they'd act or sound if you could meet them.  They're a diverse lot, from young to old, and then divided up as wise to cranky to quirky or hilarious.

ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY by Emilie Richards is mesmeric, lulling you into the lives of its characters so thoroughly that your heart will break and mend, then mull over in amazement for hours afterward.  Emilie Richards' flair is how she can reveal human frailties mixed with hope that is inspirational without feeling as though you've been taught a lesson ‒ even though you have.  This novel will take your breath away in sorrow and joy.  The end is thought-provoking and I wished Reverend Ana was real and sitting next to me at that moment.  There's so much I can't wait to find out in the next book in the GODDESSES ANONYMOUS series.  In truth, I was hoping one of the characters would give me a tidbit but none of them have been forthcoming ‒ yet.  ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY by Emilie Richards earns a recommended read status for its divergence, for how it inspires and hopefully, for how it empowers women to be who they're meant to be ‒ for themselves and for each other.

© Copyright 2003 by