If you want a well-written book with a smattering of American history, rich women with attitude and fast cars, poor women with attitude and limited life chances, live music, cultural commentary, bucket loads of nature and barn loads of shagging, then this is for you.
Woman A is a super rich trust fund baby from one of America’s elite families, and a bit of a secret lesbian player on the side. She drives a fast car fast. She shags ’em and leaves ’em. It’s a cruel, homophobic world in 1930s America, so what else is a girl to do? One day, driving her fast car fast up into the mountains, she stumbles upon dungaree-wearing Woman B and is instantly smitten. Woman B is from a dirt poor farming family who live in isloation up the titular mountain, but also runs a thriving sideline as the best fiddle player in the (local) land. Woman A embarks on a series of long drives in her fast car to woo Woman B up said mountain, under the guise of listening to the sweet music. Woman B plays her fiddle on the porch and Woman B’s family does lots of wholesome country things like hunting, foraging, cooking country delicacies and generally being good, but poor, eggs.
But what’s this? Woman B, it turns out, isn’t just totally swoonworthy in herself, she is actually a deeply gifted violin player. If only she could complete her music education she might have a shot at a career. Woman A, it just so happens, Knows About Music and sets the ball a-rolling.
Lots of country shenanigans and and music shenanigans ensue, and eventually Woman B also learns the joys of attraction to the same sex. There follow some energetic sexual shenanigans, taking in a tour of the property and local mountain. These combine florrid (and ocassionally indescipherable) descriptions with a wonderous array of outbuildings and natural locations for them to enjoy each other in and on. Once they start, it seems there is no stopping – Caro Clarke gives E J Noyes a run for her money in the how-many-times-can-they-shag-in-a-row stakes. How they didn’t accidentally burn the barn down multiple times or turn into giggly jelly and get totally rumbled in front of the rest of Woman B’s family is possibly the biggest suspension of disbelief the book asks of the reader. I was genuinely relieved when Woman A’s Awful Brother drives up in his fast car to inject some peril into proceedings, and to give their private parts time to regroup.
Nature is a significant player in this book, but really the star is the music and how well it’s invoked. You might actually believe you can hear the Bach, Mozart and Beethoven records blasting out across the mountain. You might even put the book down for a minute and put a record on yourself (or type ‘Bach’ into Spotify’s search box).
How can it end happily, you ask? How does a super rich kid (Daddy is now running for senator) live happily ever after with a violin playing mountain hick in 1930s USA? There is a solution, and it worked for me, but I won’t give it away here.
Now, imagine a waterfall, some hay, your favourite naked woman, and a violin gently playing “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes…”
(We were sent a free copy of this to review. Thanks!)