Rating: 4.25 stars
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Growing up poor and from a broken home, Gary Richardson longs for the wealth of the rich businessmen he caddies for at the Wapiti Creek Golf Club. But the one thing he wants more than that is his best friend, Seth Morgan – the most talented golfer Gary knows, the boy Gary has protected and looked out for as long as they’ve known each other. After his father tries to steal his savings, Gary moves in with Seth and his mother until they complete high school.
Falling in love with Seth was meant to be and four years later Gary is frustrated that they are still living hand to mouth, wanting more for Seth and himself than working two jobs each and having nothing to show for it. Seth has had no aspirations of turning into a pro golfer, although he is good enough. He is content to play the public golf courses as long as Gary is by his side, happy with their life and the things they have. But after Seth gets sick and their savings slowly depletes to nothing, Gary is determined to find a way, any way, to make their lives and bank account better.
Now living in Wapiti Creek amidst the rich tourists, working as a waiter and caddy, Gary meets a hedge fund analyst while working on the golf course. After a brief lunch, where Gary learns as much as he can about the finance world from Ricky, the analyst offers to introduce Gary to his boss. But there’s a catch, one that Seth would not like, yet one Gary is willing to compromise himself for in order to be rich and to be able to provide for both he and Seth.
Leaving Colorado for the financial mecca of Wall Street with hopes of a wealthy future may be the one thing that will ruin him if Seth ever discovers the details of how he actually got the deal of his lifetime. So Gary is determined to keep Seth in the dark, it will only be three months anyway. Will Gary’s dream of wealth be able to keep Seth happy when all he ever really wanted was Gary?
Return to the Mountain is the fifth book in PD Singer’s The Mountain series. I have been a fan of this series since book one, and I’m still a fan, but this book riddles the reviewer in me. My head says one thing, while my heart says another. There are parts of the story that I really liked. For one, I really liked the plot. It’s a struggle for a better life, to make dreams come true, but at what cost? Gary’s journey of greed to loss is a frustrating, infuriating, yet entertaining pager turner. It’s quick paced, engrossing, and very well written.
I think Gary is where the battle inside the reviewer lies. Technically, Gary is a great character. Singer is a master of characterization. But personally, I have mixed feelings about Gary. He is selfish and greedy and manipulative throughout most of the story. He treats the man he loves like an idiot, like a child who is unable to help make decisions that affect their future. He frustrated me. I wanted to smack him in the back of the head and tell him to grow up and stop thinking about himself. I think he really meant well, but his idiocy and greed blinded him. In the very end, I really did like him, but it took a lot to turn him around in my eyes.
And Seth, I really loved Seth. He’s not the quickest runner on the track…slow and steady, and all that. But he’s not an idiot. He thinks things through, reasons them out in his head. His common sense and knowledge serve him well when it comes to his partner’s secrets. He’s really a great character – compassionate, loving, content, forgiving, trusting, and smarter than anyone gives him any credit for. I love his heart. Seth is what makes this story so great.
The cheating issue had me in a constant “what the hell” state. The morality in me says that there is no way that it’s okay. But this story is written so well that I could feel Gary’s desperation, his need that led to his indiscretions. It is not something that I can personally understand, but to experience it through this author’s words, through Gary’s eyes is completely different and almost understandable…almost, at least with Gary’s reasoning.
So, I really did like Return to the Mountain. The story was very well written along, including such wonderful characterizations. It’s a story I couldn’t put down. It was frustrating and sad and sweet. What I like most about this author is that she can take a subject that may be frustrating or taboo and make me like it or at least kind of understand. She puts it into a real life setting where it is believable. There were times that I really wanted to dislike this story and Gary, in particular, but I couldn’t. It’s a wonderful, heart-wrenching, hope filled story, and now I’m crossing my fingers to hopefully read Ricky and Jon’s story soon.
Skeptical of his boyfriend’s insistence to learn to cross-country ski, accident prone Allan Tengerdie, having only recently healed from his most recent downhill ski-related injuries, reluctantly agrees to give it a try, if only to spend time with his lover. But keeping up with Mark is another story, although he tries anyway. When the day’s activities take a toll on Allan, it’s easier to give up than go again. But will Mark find a way to convince his lover to keep at it?
This short is a pleasant peek into the everyday lives of Mark and Allan from Fall Down the Mountain. I enjoy the normalcy of their relationship. The love, the bickering, the faith, the growth – this story highlights the realistic progression of their beautiful relationship. This short is an object lesson for Allan with the goal of learning to trust himself and Mark. Mark has been one of my favorite characters since he first appeared in the second book of this series, and the way that Singer shows his growth and maturity as a character is fantastic. Allan continues to support and have patience with Mark and their relationship.
Cross the Mountain is a very short and sweet read. It’s the story of a budding relationship of one of my favorite couples from The Mountain series. I hope to see more of Mark and Allan in the future. If you are a fan of P.D. Singer’s The Mountain series, and especially if you are a fan of Mark and Allan, you won’t want to miss this free short.