Heart Mountain by Gretel Ehrlich is a sprawling historical epic that combines Western fiction with WWII fiction to provide a moving account of Wyoming ranchers keeping the home fires burning during the war and of Japanese-Americans who were imprisoned (interned) at the Heart Mountain relocation camp. Told from multiple viewpoints, the novel is a bit choppy and disjointed starting out, but stick with it. The author slowly immerses you in the geography, the workaday world, and the intense emotional lives of very varied characters. As WWII fiction generally focuses on the atrocities committed by the enemy, it’s too easy to forget about the ugly side of the war effort at home. Heart Mountain shows the conflicting feelings of those left behind (too old to fight, deferred for medical reasons, women) and those disillusioned by fighting (a medic, a prisoner of war, and a wounded soldier, as well as a Japanese-American pilot). It also shows the varying responses of those interned and of the isolated community surrounding the camp. This is straightforward, old-style historical fiction and recommended for twentieth century historical novel fans.
I received this book free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.
I’ve always been an obsessive reader. The love of books is what got me through college, kept me sane during medical school and residency, and ultimately led me to become a novelist. (...that is, love of books, lots of family support, and some luck thrown in!) This blog is intended to share my thoughts about some of the books I’ve read. Join in the conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts, too!
I buy my books, borrow them from the library, or friends lend them to me. I also write reviews for The Historical Novels Review. Occasionally I may repost a review here (after it has appeared in print). Those books are free review copies. If I obtain a book in any other way, I'll disclose it.