Read The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens Online


Four lost hikers are about to discover they’re capable of something extraordinary.Nola has gone up the mountain to commemorate her wedding anniversary, the first since her beloved husband passed. Blonde, stick-thin Bridget is training for a triathalon. Vonn is working out her teenage rebellion at eight thousand feet, driven by family obligation and the urge to escape her mFour lost hikers are about to discover they’re capable of something extraordinary.Nola has gone up the mountain to commemorate her wedding anniversary, the first since her beloved husband passed. Blonde, stick-thin Bridget is training for a triathalon. Vonn is working out her teenage rebellion at eight thousand feet, driven by family obligation and the urge to escape her mistakes. Still reeling from the tragic accident that robbed him of his best friend, Wolf Truly is the only experienced hiker among them, but he has come to the cliffs on his eighteenth birthday without food or supplies because he plans to take his own life.When a series of missteps strands this unusual group together in the wilderness, they soon realize that their only defense against the brutality of nature is one another. As one day without rescue spirals dramatically into the next, and misadventure turns to nightmare, these four broken souls begin to form an inextricable bond, pushing themselves and one another further than they ever could have dreamed possible. The three who make it home alive will be forever changed by their harrowing days on the mountain.From the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls, The Mountain Story is a fast-paced, suspenseful adventure and a gorgeous tribute to the resilience of the human spirit. Braving a landscape both unforgivingly harsh and breathtakingly beautiful, Nola, Bridget, Vonn, and Wolf find themselves faced with an impossible question: How much will they sacrifice for a stranger?...

Title : The Mountain Story
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345809025
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Mountain Story Reviews

  • Carol
    2019-03-13 16:07

    Wow! I was totally immersed in this story of survival from beginning to end!Wilfred (Wolf) Truly has had an unbelievably sad and rough life in his short eighteen years......the traumatic loss of his mother, the utter abandonment of his low-life piece of sh*t philandering drunk of a father, (I did not like Frankie) and the thought of losing his one true friend in the world (Byrd) has literally sent Wolf over the edge.With one final trip to the top of Angel's Peak, Wolf plans to end his misery and take the plunge (no spoiler here) but along the way encounters three lost souls wandering through the woods who turn his plan into a disastrous nightmare of an adventure that ultimately gives his life new meaning.A bit of magic from above, a shocker of a sacrifice and a twist at the end made for an engrossing read!

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-02 14:03

    A few months back I started a spate of novels, that I ended up putting aside. My way of having reader's block, having a hard time finding something to grab me right off. Bit, I knew some of these I would want to go back and this was one, after all I usually love this author, so I had to trust she wouldn't write a book I didn't want to read, would she? Of course not and she didn't.When I picked this book back up I was totally fascinated, hooked by the story of Wolf and his despicable father, and his five day stranding on the mountain with the three Devine women. This is a survival story, and the mountain, although there is of course an actual mountain they are lost and stranded on, also, has multiple meanings. Wolf has been hurdling mountains ever since his Mother's death, with his father, his aunt, his friend and his own existence.This is written as a letter to his own son many years later and the reader learns all the perilous things that happened during those five days, when four went up but only three came down. Good survival story, in life and in fact. Wonderful characters, the rotten are truly out for themselves and the good are willing to sacrifice almost everything for those they love. If I have a criticism it is a very small one, this often verges on the melodramatic but the story, the characters andThe writing pulled it through for me. Hope it does for you too.ARC FROM netGalley.

  • Bill
    2019-02-26 11:14

    I won a copy of The Mountain Story in a Goodreads Giveaway. This is my fair and honest review!Rock Solid 4 StarsJuly 19: A very impressive finish after a somewhat slow 100 opening pages … ramped up quickly and vigorously thereafter into a very strong close. Not sure ... 3.5 or 4.0? I need to sleep on it!July 20: I slept on the story and this morning landed on a strong 4☆ rating! The author so masterfully ratcheted this thing up from a resolute, determined afternoon hike to a life and death struggle with the ever changing moods of Mother Nature compounded by the emotional demons within each of the hikers. Not the usual "hiker gets lost" story though. I'll share more detailed observations when I have access to a PC - I don't dare write a full review on my phone. You'd end up reading a fat-fingered illiterate mess!___________________________________________July 28: I’m back from an absolutely fantastic vacation in the Evergreen State of Washington hiking in the Olympic National Park. How coincidental, or perhaps prescient, that I should be reading a story about lost hikers when I’m hiking in a mountainous and breathtakingly beautiful national park. I did not get lost on The Mountain! The book opens with a letter to Daniel from his dad. Danny is now old enough to hear The Mountain Story, not in person but through a letter, this book. As a matter of fact, Daniel is now a student at Indiana State and older than his dad was when he got perilously lost on The Mountain. Was the timing right for Danny to hear the story? Or was now the time his dad was emotionally strong enough to relive the story? By book’s end the answer is crystal clear!So opens this tale of survival for five brutal November days on the 10,000 foot mountain that explodes skyward from the desert floor in Santa Sophia, California. The 20 minute tram ride carries hikers from the “Mexican climate” at Desert Station at the mountain’s base to the “climate of northern Canada” at Mountain Station. From Mountain Station hikers make their way to the summit. [image error]The day Wolf Truly sets out to hike The Mountain is his eighteenth birthday, the anniversary of his birth but also the anniversary of tragic losses, emotional trauma, missed opportunities and broken dreams, the day everything changed for him. His first time on The Mountain in a year, Wolf sets out alone, without food, water or his pack to come to terms with his emotions. He’s had a difficult life growing up in Mercury, MI and later in Santa Sophia, CA when his father Frankie uprooted him at age thirteen to live with Frankie’s sister Kriket in her double wide trailer in the Tin Town section of Santa Sophia on the edge of the desert. Frankie was very long on womanizing, gambling and drinking but short on employment, personal responsibility and parenting skills. Frankie always said Wolf was a “noticer” and that day on the tramcar at Desert Station he notices Nola, Bridget and Vonn Devine. Was it fate, Wolf later wondered, that he was distracted by the Devine family and got lost with them on his way to Angel’s Peak? On his hike to the rogue trail Wolf’s best friend Byrd discovered with Wolf leading to the 20 foot outcrop they dubbed Angel’s Peak, Nola Devine approaches Wolf for directions to Secret Lake. Nola Devine has a very important and personal reason to get to the lake today. The lake is a hard 1.5 miles away and the clouds are getting low and heavy but Wolf, against his better judgement, agrees to guide them to Secret Lake anyway.[image error]Nola is in her sixties, silver haired and well outfitted for a hike. She looks like she could be a park docent. Her daughter Bridget, in her mid-thirties, is fit and trim, wearing light clothing and expensive running shoes. She’s training for a triathalon. Vonn, Bridget’s daughter and Nola’s granddaughter, is wearing flip flops.No one expected to be on The Mountain for more than a few hours that day!The distraction from Angel’s Peak is both a blessing and curse for Wolf. Fleeing from a menacing swarm of agitated bees gets them off the trail, turned around and lost and a fall down a steep shrouded embankment gets them trapped on an outcrop above Devil's Canyon. From their precarious perch they could see the twinkling lights of Palm Springs far below but secretly Wolf knew no one gets out of Devil's Canyon!The story is told by Wolf and moves between the current situation on The Mountain and Wolf’s past leading up to the fateful day of his hike to Angel’s Peak. While Wolf is the star of this story, The Mountain tells its own tale, revealing the courage, heroism, selflessness and compassion of the wandering hikers.The writing felt like smooth, soft silk to me, a comforting style that kept me deeply engaged and engrossed in such a perilous and treacherous yet hopeful struggle for survival. With each passing day, as hunger, dehydration and exposure to the elements take their toll and steadily break them down, the author skillfully peels back the emotional layers of their lives, revealing their fears and regrets, personal history and family secrets, hopes and dreams, and love found and lost. My senses tingled with life reading this book. I could smell the earth and fallen pine needles of the forest floor. I could feel the numbing cold of the snow and frigid night time air. I could taste those precious few drops of mountain water. I lived the fearful anxiety of frostbite, infection and death. I could feel the pain and suffering Wolf and the Devine family endured without graphic, gory descriptions of violence or injury. WOW! What a story.The ending was unexpected and thought provoking, even ironic, but so satisfying and comforting.[image error]All along I wondered about the connection between the events on The Mountain and the family’s last name. Coincidence? Was the author playing a game with me? Was The Mountain playing a game with the hikers? It’s something!I love the outdoors and love to hike. But be clear, I am NOT a gritty, back country, off the grid type hiker. My wife and I favor well marked trails that are mapped and somewhat gentrified. But I have experienced the fear and anxiety of getting off the trail, turned around and confused. I felt this book. And since I was hiking the Olympic National Park while reading The Mountain Story, I took away a lesson from the book and stopped at Safeway on the way to Spruce Railroad Trail to buy some snacks for the pack … just in case we got lost! The images in this review are photos I took on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State in July 2015. As I gazed at the natural beauty of my surroundings, all I could think about was The Mountain Story!Enjoy!

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-13 17:03

    Here's what first attracted me to this book.  Many  years ago, we spent  a long, sweltering Labor Day weekend in the Palm Springs desert, and learned that the only enjoyable outdoor activity that  time of year with temps around 114 every single day, besides sipping cocktails in the pool, was to take the tram up into the San Jacinto mountains.  The tram ride (like a small train car dangling precariously from a cable, surrounded by rocks, cliffs, caverns, and crevices) terrified me--I think I had my eyes closed for most of the trip up--but the mountain itself was a cool 75 degrees, and we spent a great day up there.  I wanted to spend the whole weekend in the park; forget our desert hotel with its a/c issues.For the four characters in The Mountain Story, however, things did not go so great up there in the park. The tram was the least of the terror they would experience.  Our narrator, Wolf, has written down all he remembers from the 5 days spent lost and stranded up there with 3 women, and this journal is for his only son to read someday. No one else knows all that they endured, the entire truth.  A depressed Wolf had planned to take a flying leap off the mountain on his 18th birthday, while the women had their own agendas.   Never planning to come out alive, he didn't bother to pack water or food.  The women were ill prepared as well, the youngest in flip flops for crying out loud.  So when they found themselves lost, Wolf felt needed and appreciated  for the first time in a very long while.  He really was an admirable, strong young man, given such a dysfunctional upbringing; but the wilderness with all its mysteries and surprises was the main character.  I think Lansens did a superb job bringing this all to life.  Loved it to death.

  • Book of Secrets ☘
    2019-02-17 14:05

    I was surprised by this book. I was expecting a survival story, action/adventure, but it was so much more. Deeper, moving, and heartrending. The writing was lovely. Definitely a tale that sticks with you.The book is written as a letter from Wolf to his son Daniel, as he prepares to leave for college. It's been twenty years since Wolf was lost on the mountain with three other people, and not everyone returned home. Wolf feels that Daniel is old enough now to know the truth.The Mountain Story isn't just about surviving the harsh elements of nature, no shelter, going days with very little food or water, it's about Wolf managing to survive his entire difficult life. Compelling blend of coming of age, friendship, sacrifice, loss, suspense, and of course, survival. I was quite surprised at the big twist at the end!!Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennifer Hicks
    2019-02-19 12:11

    A fantastic, brilliantly plotted survival novel. A beautifully written coming of age story. An amazing character exploration. Each of these is rare enough, but imagine finding all three rolled into one book? That's what Lori Lansens' The Mountain Story was to me. I'm a longtime fan of Lansens', from the time I picked up "The Girls" on a whim at an airport before a flight. (By the way, aren't those the absolute best surprises...when you know nothing about a book, buy it and fall in love with it?). I think this is her best work to date.

  • Susan
    2019-03-07 11:02

    I was quite excited to receive the ARC for this book as I loved Rush Home Road and The Girls. This book disappointed me - the writing is not up to her previous efforts and could have been edited much better. While the characters are compelling, I never quite believed them as real people or the situation on the mountain to be real. I finished the book to find out what happened on the mountain. There was just too much that caused me to question the story line.

  • Gina *loves sunshine*
    2019-03-18 13:00

    My take - if this is your favorite genre - I think this book is a good read and you should add it to your list!! This is not my favorite genre, so when I read this type of general fiction/light thriller I really expect to be blown away....I know, I know it's a really high expectation, LOL! But, I'm keeping it! This book started out pretty riveting - you get a little background of the main character Wolf, why he's at his current hiking spot, you are introduced to the group that is with him, and the plot sets up nicely. I was so dialed in!! Once the group has realized they are lost and the flashbacks start, it did just level out for me. I found myself uninterested in the group of ladies, hating Wolf's Dad, I always need something to root for...I wasn't sure what! But I loved Wolf and I loved his relationship with Bird. So overall, it was good, I was entertained..learned a few things, which I always love!!!

  • Perri
    2019-03-08 17:17

    Survival, coming of age, sacrifice, friendship, suspense,a hint of mysticism-mid year and this is my favorite read of 2015.

  • Ron S
    2019-03-18 11:48

    Lansens does well with dialogue and the interior thought processes of her main protagonist in this story about three generations of women lost on a mountain with an 18 year old that's gone there to commit suicide. Unfortunately the descriptions of the physical environment are poor and the overall story feels like something cooked up to meet a creative writing class project deadline at the eleventh hour. While I very much wanted to enjoy this book, Lansen just didn't pull it off for me.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-10 14:13

    This is my first Lori Lansens book and it won't be my last. I thought this was a great story that combined coming of age, grief, getting lost on a mountain, regrets, love and the ultimate sacrifice.

  • Linda
    2019-02-19 10:07

    Give me anything that is outdoorsy, about Nature, about hiking and I'm there. However, this one was far beyond that.Lori Lansens gets beneath the skin of her main character, Wolf, and we are absolutely along for the ride. Young Wolf has had a childhood sauteed in neglect, rejection, and bottomless grief. His father, Frankie, wears his ineptness like a badge of honor. His idolized mother died when he was very young and her memories are angelic with the fragrance of lemons and wrapped simply in a flowing white dress.Wolf is determined to climb to the top of a peak in southern California to deal with the life he has been given. But his path, literally, is crossed by three strangely unique women who will share a life-changing experience with him that he could never have predicted.The Mountain Story engages us in the lives of these characters and digs beneath the surface to reveal the rawness that festers there. Yes, the ending seems to wrap everything up in a tidy bundle, but the ride was so well worth it. I'm sure that they are signing movie contracts even as we speak. It would make a really good movie with all the right actors in place.I like Lori Lansens' style of writing. One of my favorite parts in the book was when Wolf and Frankie get to Aunt Kriket's deplapitated Tin Town trailor and Wolf meets all the little pantless tikes for the first time.An enjoyable book and I'm looking forward to more from this talented author.

  • Carole
    2019-03-19 09:04

    This book starts out a bit slow, but it really picks up in the last quarter. It's the story of Wolf, who goes up the mountain with no intention of coming back alive. It's about his best friend, Byrd, and the relationship Wolf has with his father. On the mountain, Wolf meets 3 women who are lost. Stranded together, they form a very close bond, borne of the hardest circumstances endured together. I kept thinking what a great movie this would make! I didn't read "Wild", but saw the movie. If you liked that, you'll also want to read this.I loved Lori Lansens' book, Rush Home Road too. She's an author I'll read more from.

  • jo
    2019-02-20 17:18

    whoa this book. who knew you were so incredibly good, lori lansens?

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    2019-02-22 10:51

    I’m a nature girl, so I was greatly anticipating this read. In the end, it was a good, solid story. The characters have interesting backgrounds, the setting is ripe for adrenaline-pumping action. Toward the latter half of the book, the author does a tremendous job of whisking the reader through pages of intense emotion and danger.And yet for me personally, there was a bit of disconnect to the situation and the characters, themselves. I didn’t begin to engage until the halfway point, and even then I wasn’t able to get fully under the characters’ skin. What’s more, I felt I had to draw heavily upon my ability to suspend disbelief in order to continue reading. Maybe I’m a little too familiar with natural settings and wildlife to have bought the reality of several situations that, while entertaining, caused me great pause. In the end, I really did care about the outcome – and was surprised by a few revelations – which made this a good, not great, read.The language in this novel is straightforward and easy to read (sometimes, I wondered, reminiscent of a YA novel?). As a result, I admit to being a bit disappointed by the details of the natural setting; I had hoped to be transported with sensory detail that allowed me to smell and taste and feel the surroundings (I generally reserve my 4 and 5 star reviews for those books that can transport me with language). I must mention that I appreciated the author's respect and treatment of Native American culture and enjoyed the blurred lines between the spiritual/supernatural/hallucinatory events of the novel.The verdict: Every reader experiences books differently. What may be my favorite may be one you loathe. And clearly, on this one, I’m in the minority with a “good” rating vs. a “really liked it” or an “it’s amazing” rating. It was good -- solid as I said earlier. And for those who like endings with closure that include some sunshine and roses mixed with clouds … Read up!Sidenote: In the hardcopy version, the cover art is so symbolic of a particular scene -- which was such a great show of artistry by the designers (who clearly READ the book and appreciated the intensity of that scene). As well, the interior sections (divided into days vs chapters) include wonderful artwork as well: a panoramic view of a forest. A nice additional touch!

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-28 12:13

    so, probably 4.5-stars. i was completely caught up in this story! i find lansens to be a beautiful writer - she takes on really tough themes, is great at weaving her storylines together, and sustains a very lyrical quality to her prose. lansens is an author i adore, and she is skilled at breaking my heart, yet filling it up again -- without teetering into the schlocky or (badly) sentimental. at its heart, a survival tale, the mountain story was harrowing at moments. but the heart and sensitivity lansens brings to her writing made for such a terrific read. against crazy odds, in life and on the mountain, survival and redemption are possible. (i am still mulling two acts within the story... not sure if they totally worked for me, though they didn't take away from things too much for me. but it's what's holding me back for a full 5-stars. after a year of fairly 'meh' reading, this book has definitely been a bright spot!!)

  • Christine
    2019-02-17 17:07

    “Dear Daniel, A person has to have lived a little to appreciate a survival story. That’s what I’ve always said, and I promised that when you were old enough, I’d tell you mine.”So begins the letter from a father to his son telling the story of Wolf Truly’s life and the five unforgettable days and nights he spent on the (always unnamed) Mountain. Life had never been kind to Wolf and when it became more cruel than he thought he could bear Wolf intended to climb to Angel’s Peak at the top of the Mountain and jump. It was the day of his eighteenth birthday. Not planning on returning from his excursion he left his backpack at home leaving him with no food or water. Almost as equally unprepared were Nola, Bridget and Vonn, the Devine women – mother, daughter and granddaughter – one with a mission, one with a grudge and one with a secret. When the paths of these four people cross it begins an unfortunate series of missteps. They find themselves stranded – their only hope of making it off the Mountain alive being their wits and each other. This story is the ultimate “you can’t get there from here”. Wolf and the ladies can always see the lights of the city below and even the local trailer park named “Tin Town” and they look so close, so achievable and so inviting. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving and not only when speaking of landscapes. The book cover states, “The trial they undergo together is thrilling and heartbreaking, funny and nail-biting and profound.” No false advertising there. It certainly is all those things. Lori Lansens has been on my “must read author” list since Rush Home Road. Her books have never disappointed me and that carries on with “A Mountain Story”. She gives me characters whose lives are far from perfect, who question themselves and their motivations … who often stop and ask “why me?” … then they persevere placing one foot in front of the other, like we all have to do in real life. Ms. Lansens’ writing takes the readers on every painful step right along side of the characters from the gut-wrenching ride on the tram to get partially up the mountain through to the cold, hard rocks, and the hunger and thirst being endured to try and get back down. Excellent writing! An amazing setting! A great story! Another wonderful book by Ms. Lansens.

  • Victoria
    2019-03-02 15:12

    Each of Lansens' earlier novels, I have greatly enjoyed - starting in 2009 when I read The Girls. My anticipation for this latest novel is pretty high, too, considering it has been three years since the release of The Wife's Tale. On its face, this is a survival story of five days in the mountain above Palm Springs, CA. The book is framed around a letter from Wolf Truly to his son, Daniel, as he goes away to college and Wolf feels like he can finally share the true story of all that transpired when he and three strangers found themselves lost in the wilderness of the mountain. And there are plenty of details of their survival from thirst, hunger, wildlife and injuries - all set in a beautiful backdrop that perfectly combines the horror with the beauty of it all. But it is a lot more than just a survival story. It is a coming-of-age story, too, for the narrator, with plenty of flashbacks into Wolf's previous eighteen years of life. All of the characters quickly come to life and there are some scenes - like Wolf's first meeting with his best friend, Byrd, that are downright hilarious. But there is sadness, here, too and plenty of genuine emotion and beauty. It's also a lot about family and the bonds of love that both constrain us and can give us wings. This book is beautifully and tightly written. My only minor complaint is that I wish there was a bit more to the after... I just didn't want this one to end! Still, I absolutely loved reading it and sincerely hope that it won't be another three-year wait before this talented author publishes another book!

  • Kelly
    2019-02-25 17:11

    The Mountain Story is a story of survival and so much more. On his 18th birthday, Wolf heads to a mountain to take his life. His plans are thwarted when he tries to help 3 women find their way to the Secret Lake and they become lost in the wilderness. The survival story is riveting, but Wolf's backstory is also riveting. I have been a huge fan of Lori Lansens since reading "The Girls" 2 years ago.

  • Audrey Martel
    2019-02-21 09:18

    Coup de coeur !

  • Debra
    2019-03-04 08:52

    For me this was book was good not great. I liked the premise that this book is really a letter written by a father to his son. I had read many reviews on the book and had very high hopes for it. Maybe my hopes were too high. I do like how the story unfolded and we learn about each character in this coming of age story. Each character is unique and Wolf's back story is told throughout the book. There is a reveal at the end but even that didn't have too much flash or zing for me.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-18 14:48

    Lori Lansens wrote one of my favorite books, The Girls. It's a book that I try to get everyone I know to read. She doesn't produce a book every year and not nearly often enough, in my opinion. But, when she does put another book out there, I always want to read it. I am a little behind in my reading, so I just got to The Mountain Story, released last year. It was, of course, one I should have read sooner, because, well, it met all my expectations of an incredible story. There is man vs. nature and man vs. himself driving this tale, with heartbreaking hardships and relationships to overcome in trying to reach safety and peace. It's a coming of age story, but so much more.Lansens provides just the right amount of background at just the right time, pacing it throughout the struggle of four people trying to survive being lost on a mountain. Wolf Truly is the narrator, who is telling the story to his grown son, a story Wolf has kept inside since that fateful day he turned eighteen years old and decided to go up the mountain to take his life. Why Wolf feels the despair and the need to take his life is slowly revealed in the backstory that the author weaves into the story of the wilderness ordeal. But, Wolf's intentions to leap to his death are thwarted by three women--grandmother, mother, and daughter--who engage him in their attempt to find a place called Secret Lake. Because Wolf is who he is, he can't abandon the Devine family women to wandering. But, as sometimes happens, good acts aren't always rewarded with good results. Due to a distraction by one of the women, the four become lost and stranded. Wolf has taken the tram countless times up to this mountain to explore with his friend Byrd, but even Wolf's experience is no match for the wild side of nature. The book's description states that there a four people who are lost, and there are three people who survive. Lansens does a great job with red herrings, as the reader tries to guess who will live and who will die. The description of the mountain, its different terrains, the deceptive wind, the live-threatening temperature changes--Lori Lansens writing of these is absolute genius. She aptly portrays both the beauty and the danger of the mountain, never to excess, but always to completion. The characters are all complex meshes of how life has chewed them up and spit them out. The dialogue is pitch-perfect, with humor seeping into the decisions of life and death. The Mountain Story is a book written for the description of a compelling read. Like the characters, no one comes away unchallenged or unchanged.

  • Krista
    2019-02-25 09:02

    Dear Daniel, A person has to have lived a little to appreciate a survival story. That's what I've always said, and I promised that when you were old enough, I'd tell you mine. It's no tale for a child, but you're not a child anymore. You're older now than I was when I got lost in the mountain wilderness.Five days in the freezing cold without food or water or shelter. You know that part, and you know that I was with three strangers, and that not everyone survived. What happened up there changed my life, Danny. Hearing the story is going to change yours.By way of prologue, The Mountain Story opens with this letter – penned by Wolf Truly to his son as he departs for college – which explains that what follows is Wolf's long withheld account of what happened up on the mountain; a story that young Danny had only vague information about; a story that even Danny's mother had never fully heard. There's genius in this opening: not only do we instantly know that not everyone survived this ordeal, but also, if learning the story is going to change Danny's life, too, just what did Wolf get up to on that mountain? The tension that this creates made for a suspenseful and enjoyable read.The reader gets the impression that Wolf never told his son much about himself before and we quickly learn that Wolf's was not a happy childhood: a dead mother, criminal father, and an unhappy uprooting as they moved from Michigan to a trailer park in the California desert – called “Tin Town” – that sat in the shadow of an unnamed mountain. Wolf alternates between his survival story and his personal history, and both are equally compelling – just as we're eager to learn which of the strangers is going to die, we're eager to learn more about Wolf; just what brought him to hike alone on the mountain that fateful day? And we don't just wonder who dies but how: will it be a reaction to a bee sting, or will someone unwittingly walk off a cliff, or will it be the coyotes, the mountain lions, the dehydration, the cold? There is so much danger, without seeming gratuitous, that I honestly had no idea who wouldn't be making it down alive until it happened.Author Lori Lansens writes in spare prose here, cataloguing the facts of a life in the same way that she notes the botanical and geological variety of the mountain, but even though the writing was never florid, I'm left remembering so many vivid scenes; so much emotion. And although there may be some twists towards the end, they weren't cheap tricks – everything is set up along the way. That's all I'm going to say – because any spoilers would be a shame for this story – and will end as Wolf did his letter to his son:Remember our family motto – there will be sway.Oh, but one small complaint: I read the edition with a yellow canteen on the front, and if it's important in the story that everyone scratched their names into the yellow enamel coating, why use a picture of a tin canteen with a yellow canvas covering? Details matter!

  • Barbara
    2019-02-27 16:51

    Several years ago, I read – and loved – “The Girls,” so when I saw that its author, Lori Lansens, had a new book out, I quickly bought it. Good move, Barbara. I was drawn into the story on the first page and stayed there to the last. The plot caught me up and held me tight, much as the eponymous mountain did the four main characters.The book is well written, rich in realistic and clever dialogue, prose that is picturesque without being pretentious, and perfect pacing. I liked the main character, Wolf, from the get-go, and came to care deeply about the others as well. A mystical element surrounded many of the characters and the mountain on which they were lost. Lansens does this really well. And humor? She does that, too.A critic might want to know more about the lives of the three Devine women pre-mountain, but every author has to choose a focus, and Lansens’ was Wolf. Similarly, a critic might feel that the ending was too pat. I cared enough about the characters to buy into it.While not heavy with earth-shattering issues, “The Mountain Story” is a very, very good read.

  • Carol
    2019-03-10 11:59

    On the mountain, bad judgement and bad luck are the order of the day and your heart will be in your throat as the inevitability of death draws ever closer to one young man and three generations of city women lost in a very real and dangerous mountain wildernessWolf’s personal story is told in sections that take us from his childhood to the “now” moments of the book, allowing us to understand what brought him to the mountain in a suicidal frame of mind. I enjoyed the way the author wove the two stories together, and was especially fond of Wolf’s close friendship with his friend Byrd.

  • Sharon Huether
    2019-03-05 10:04

    I won this book from Goodreads first reads. This was a mountain top experience. Memories, ghosts and reality all mixed together in this adventurois story. Nola, Bridget, Vonn and Wolf ride the tram to the mountain top. Plans were to spread ashes of Nola's departed husband. Plans changed. They were fighting with the elements for survival. 5 days on the mountain. Search and rescue found them except one member of the family . Great story. I highly recommend it.

  • Mich
    2019-02-25 13:50

    Like this author a lot. This did not disappoint. Not a light read by far. Would def recommend this one. Yea!! I love when I read a good book!!

  • Kerry *Soulcaster*
    2019-03-06 11:59

    *4 stars*The hook: Five Days. Four Lost Hikers. Three Survivors. Of course I was guessing the whole time which character was going to bite the dust.The surprising thing about this book is that it's not just a typical survival story. Sure, it's suspenseful and full of the things that I was expecting - harsh weather conditions, brutal injuries, sheer cliffs, coyotes, vultures and rattlesnakes. However, where Lori Lansens excels is in the careful development of her characters and her plot, as well as in the way she chooses to deliver the story - as a letter written by a father to his son telling not only of those five days on the mountain, but also about the eighteen years of his life leading up to this event. I was left reeling by the end.This is a perfect example of why it's fun to participate in a reading challenge - I wouldn't have thought about reading The Mountain Story if I didn't need to choose a book about the outdoors. Second book crossed off of my 2017 MacHalo Reading Challenge!

  • Mary White
    2019-03-02 08:58

    On his eighteenth birthday, Wolf Truly boards the tram that takes tourists up the mountain overlooking Palm Springs. He loves the mountain and has spent many happy hours on it, shooting nature photographs with his best friend Byrd and avoiding his unhappy home life. This is to be his last visit; he plans to end his life on this day. But the universe has other plans, and Wolf soon finds himself entwined with a trio of women who have a mountain quest of their own. After an unlucky chain of events, the four become lost on the craggy peak and The Mountain Story recounts the five traumatic days they spend trying to survive.In the process of writing this novel, Lori Lansens spent some time on Mt. San Jacinto, an actual mountain on which the fictional one in her story is based. Her appreciation and awe for the area’s natural beauty comes through, and a respect for the place’s inherent dangers. For his part, Wolf is interested in the mountain from the moment he finds out he and his father will be leaving Michigan for the sunny desert of California. His childhood has been rocky and unpredictable; he was barely raised by a drug-addict father who has never recovered from Wolf’s mother’s untimely death. When they arrive at an aunt’s place in California, a tumultuous situation that is even worse than what they had before, Wolf finds a reprieve with Byrd, who shares his interest in hiking the mountain and learning about its habitat. Leaving the arid heat of the desert and rising to the cooler, forested heights must have felt like traveling to another world, and Wolf is sold from the beginning on the adventure.The women who become stranded with Wolf represent three generations of the Devine family, and they have their own issues and family crises. Lansens expertly weaves their history, and the history of Wolf’s life up to that fateful day, into the unfolding drama on the mountain. The foursome are threatened by wildlife and pummeled by the elements; theirs is a physical and mental struggle, as each has arrived at this place with baggage. But these aren’t your typical heroes. Lansens paints these characters with all of the contradictory colors of humanity. At times they are unbelievably generous and valiant, at other times, selfish and short-sighted. This juxtaposition of human aims and striving alongside the behaviors of the non-human life on the mountain is one of the strengths of the novel. Everything can be boiled down to basic needs and wants, Lansens seems to be saying, when survival becomes your main desire. And for humans, one of these needs is family, although we can find it in unexpected places.In an action-packed story, often attempts to integrate backstory slow and detract, but not in this case. The mountain portions were riveting, but the story of Wolf’s childhood and descent to suicidal thoughts had the same forward momentum; in fact, both aspects of the tale seemed to build to the same, eventual boiling point. This is certainly what I’d call a page-turner and yet, it introduces some thorny concepts too. What is the nature of family, and what do we owe each other? How strong does your survival instinct need to be? How much can we truly fight against the forces of nature and fate? The Mountain Story is a great summer read, delivering a compelling story and much to contemplate in its wake.

  • Beth
    2019-02-20 13:11

    I enjoyed The Girls and Rush Home Road by this author, so was happy to snag this new one from a stack of ARC books I had the chance to pick from.This is one of those stories that made me think, which I like. I had no idea that such a large mountain existed outside of Palm Springs, with such diverse biomes and high elevations. Having lived in Tucson, though, I can understand the concept of going from desert to pine trees in a short period of time (as there are similar mountains there). I'm just not sure I entirely understood the challenges and dangers related to these kinds of changing terrains and weather patterns - but the characters in this story definitely found out. It makes you wonder -- what would you do if you were stranded in such a place, and in the situations they found themselves in? How would it change the rest of your life?The writing in this book is good, and the author is a great storyteller. I was sucked in, I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen. There were a few minor typos, but that's to be expected with an ARC. In the end, the story concluded in a mostly satisfying manner, with a couple small twists. Overall, a good read. I'll be passing this along to friends.