What the Mountains Remember

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Pub Date Apr 02 2024 | Archive Date May 02 2024

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“Joy Calloway weaves a dramatic, heartfelt story of self- discovery and a hard-won love against the stunning backdrop the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’” 

—Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Time is a River 

At this wondrous resort, secrets can easily be hidden in plain sight when the eye is trained on beauty.

April 1913—Belle Newbold hasn’t seen mountains for seven years—since her father died in a mining accident and her mother married gasoline magnate, Shipley Newbold. But when her stepfather’s business acquaintance, Henry Ford, invites the family on one of his famous Vagabonds camping tours, she is forced to face the hills once again—primarily in order to reunite with her future fiancé, owner of the land the Vagabonds are using for their campsite, a man she’s only met once before. It is a veritable arranged marriage, but she prefers it that way. Belle isn’t interested in love. She only wants a simple life—a family of her own and the stability of a wealthy man’s pockets. That’s what Worth Delafield has promised to give her and it’s worth facing the mountains again, the reminder of the past, and her poverty, to secure her future.

But when the Vagabonds group is invited to tour the unfinished Grove Park Inn and Belle is unexpectedly thrust into a role researching and writing about the building of the inn—a construction the locals are calling The Eighth Wonder of the World—she quickly realizes that these mountains are no different from the ones she once called home. As Belle peels back the facade of Grove Park Inn, of Worth, of the society she’s come to claim as her own, and the truth of her heart, she begins to see that perhaps her part in Grove Park’s story isn’t a coincidence after all. Perhaps it is only by watching a wonder rise from ordinary hands and mountain stone that she can finally find the strength to piece together the long-destroyed path toward who she was meant to be.

International bestselling author Joy Callaway returns with a story of the ordinary people behind extraordinary beauty—and the question of who gets to tell their stories.

Praise for What the Mountains Remember:

“Callaway is back with another insightful rendering of a place and time in history, bringing her trademark attention to detail, warmth, and heart to a story centered around one of the nation’s most beautiful and fabled hotels, the Grove Park Inn in Asheville NC.”?  —Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, author of ten novels and cofounder of The Book Tide 

A stunning portrayal of the building of the Grove Park Inn that reveals not only its grandeur, but also the struggles of the laborers tasked with its construction, Joy Callaway brings the famed Vagabonds to life with immaculate research and rich details in this intriguing, elegantly written historical fiction that readers are going to love!” 

—Madeline Martin, New York Times Bestseller author of The Keeper of Hidden Books

  • Perfect for fans of The Only Woman in Room and A Well-Behaved Woman
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Includes Discussion Questions

“Joy Calloway weaves a dramatic, heartfelt story of self- discovery and a hard-won love against the stunning backdrop the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World.’” 

—Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling...

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ISBN 9781400244317
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Featured Reviews

WHAT THE MOUNTAINS REMEMBER by JOY CALLOWAY is a most enjoyable read with interesting characters, some of them real people, mostly inventors, who lived in the early 1900’s, and a story rich with romance, betrayal, guilt and forgiveness.Although we see blatent class distinction and the plight of the working class, we also are made aware of the value of every human being. This is well brought out in the writings of Belle Newbold, the stepdaughter of Shipley Newbold, the gasoline magnate, who interviewed the architect and labourers who were building the magnificen Grove Park Inn for her article, instead of only honouring the investors…..
The setting is rhe Vagabond camp in the mountains. Belle’s relationship with Worth Delafield is one of convenience. They both do not want to fall in love as they have lost loved ones and carry the pain. We are clearly shown that living a life without love and a sense of belonging is not living at all.
The mountains in which the camp is siuated evoke painful memories for each of them. There are secrets on both sides and the fear of someone finding the truth is very strong. Belle’s cousin Marie Austen Kipp has opposite desires to Belle, of whom she is extremely jealous, and causes a lot of trouble for herself and Belle, who is supposed to be her best friend. We see Belle’s relationship with her mother, as opposed to that of Marie Austen with her mother.
I highly recommend this enjoyable and inspirational novel to anyone who likes a really good story with uderlying substance.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Harper Muse. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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I have been waiting for this one! Thank you to Netgalley for the early read.
Joy takes us to Asheville NC and the building of the Grove Park Inn. It’s a story of the have and have nots. Belle, a recent “have” travels to Asheville with her family, she must continue to hide her poor upbringing or be ostracized. She is quickly drawn to the beauty of the mountains around her and memories of her previous life. As she observes the building of The Grove Park Inn, she is drawn to the workers and wants to tell their story. Of course, there is a love interest and those that want to tell all about Belle. She is determined to find her own way even against the threat of rampant tuberculosis in the area.

This book kept me reading most of the night and the next day! Loved Joy’s descriptions of the Asheville area and the detail surrounding the building of Grove Park. I have been to Grove Park several times and it is a beautiful area and building. Joy’s book do not disappoint! She tells a great story against the backdrop of a spot of history and looks at the “have nots” with an eye of beauty.

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Belle and her mother have started a new life after the death of her father. Her mother has married a wealthy man, Shipley Newbold. Shipley does not know that his new wife was poor, and she does not wish for him to know. Belle is going to marry the wealthy Worth Delafield. It is a marriage of convenience, and both do not want a marriage based on love. Belle begins writing of the workman of the new Park Grove Inn, where a group are visiting. Will Belle and Worth grow closer?

I enjoyed this book. I live in NC but had never heard of the Park Grove Inn. Thank you to the author for introducing this inn to me. I would love to visit. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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Oh my goodness what a gorgeous book!!! From the breathtaking cover to every single word written inside Joy Callaway has penned a masterpiece.

The construction of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville in the early 1900s is the setting for the story of Belle Newbold. She is a woman that has a fire inside of her to be more than just a ‘high society’ lady as expected of her. She is “promised” to Worth Delafield and their story is beautiful.

The research that Joy put into this book is evident as Joy’s descriptions and details transport you to that time and place.

Highly highly recommend this gorgeous story!!!

Thank you Netgalley and Harper Muse for the chance to read and review this amazing story!!!

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What a beautiful book!! Meticulously researched historical fiction set during the building of the Grove Park Inn. The setting comes to life and I feel in love with the characters. The story of a young woman who wants more out of life than what is expected of her. Also a wonderful love story! This book has everything I love in a historical fiction read! Highly recommend!!

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I really enjoyed getting to read this, it had a great overall concept of the historical elements. I was invested in what was happening to Belle and thought she worked as a main character. I really felt for the characters in this world and it was well written.

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Joy Callaway has a true talent and passion for telling stories while highlighting beautiful, unique architecture. In this story she has woven her WV roots and NC roots together to give us a hopeful story of love, loss and family. The research put in to this novel shines throughout the entire story.

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I loved this book and knew I would because I had read Joy Callaway’s work before. Belle and Worth were such lovely characters. The ending was wonderful, and the ending with Marie-Austen was humorous. Callaway wrote What the Mountains Remember to share the Grove Park Inn with the rest of the world with memories from her childhood. She conveyed the beauty of the Inn wonderfully, and now the Grove Park Inn is a place I would like to visit soon. The book is very recommendable. The novel was wonderful in its length and pace, which would suit adults and young adults alike. What the Mountains Remember is a good book that I greatly enjoyed and rated five stars.

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I continue to be impressed with Joy Callaway's writing. She captures a time period and place so beautifully. In this case, I've been to Grove Park Inn many times, and she brought its magic and its beginning to life in a remarkable way. The time period details are spot on without ever getting in the way of the narrative.

While the plot can be a bit soap opera-ish at times, it kept my attention from start to finish. Maire Austen is a villain we love to hate. The love story between Belle and Worth is one for the ages.

I especially admired Belle's quest to honor her father's legacy and memory, which was very touching.

I may be in the minority here, but I would love to see a future book from Marie Austen's perspective. She has been through a lot and has a strong personality. I love a good redemption arc, and she is certainly due for one.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance reader copy; all opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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Loved the setting of the North Carolina mountains. Such a beautiful place! I enjoyed my visit
I really loved the first person pov from Belle. She's an interesting person herself. She has many secrets and fears that she feels weighed down with.

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If Joy Callaway is penning a book, I am reading it!!! This one is Joy at her absolute finest!!! Highly recommend!!!

The setting is Asheville, NC in 1913. The Grove Park Inn is being built and Belle Newbold has returned to the mountains. She has been through a lot and a marriage with Worth Delafield has been arranged. Neither is looking for love but there is always that possibility!!

There must have been a tremendous amount of research put into this book as there are so many details that brightly shine through!! The workers who are building this beautiful Inn are very important to this story!!

This book will be out on 4/2/24 from Harper Muse and I highly recommend you preorder!!! Thank you for an early digital copy.,

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This book has my heart! I love Joy Callaway’s writing and how she brings to life historical time periods full of turmoil in a heartfelt, emotional way. Her latest, What the Mountains Remember, holds a special place in my heart since it is set during the building of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. The Grove Park is one of my favorite retreats for its beautiful mountain views and masterful craftsmanship, and I absolutely loved learning the details about its origins through this book.

Joy does a fantastic job at drawing the reader into Belle’s world of 1913 Asheville and her precarious place in society. I love how Joy mixes in the details of both the high-society world Belle inhabits now (including Henry Ford and his Vagabond road trips!) with the very real life that most blue collar workers faced. Her descriptive language about the stark contrast, from the fanciful dresses to the dilapidated cottages, made the book come to life before my eyes.

I was also fascinated by the discussion of Asheville’s sanatoriums for tuberculosis - I had no idea about this part of its history! As always, Joy’s extensive research shines in a compelling story that flows beautifully. And the romance between Belle and Worth was perfect!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about early 20th century history and anyone who loves a good story told in a beautiful way! I adored every word, and it will definitely be one of my top reads of 2024!

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Little did I know when I began reading "What the Mountains Remember" by Joy Callaway that I would be transported to a place I carry deep in my heart - Asheville, NC. Oh, the numerous times that I have visited the Biltmore Estate and gazed over the Blue Ridge Mountains and dreamed of one day living there. Even though the story is written in the narrative (not my favorite), I could not stop reading until the very end and desperately didn't want it to end. The Grove Park Inn being constructed in this story still stands today.

The characters of Belle and Worth and the heartbreak they carry spoke to me in a whisper and then in a shout. Can their wounds be healed?

A copy was provided for my review, but all opinions are my own.

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Loved this book. See goodreads review. Loved the story of Grove Park Inn and the Belle and Worth story. Loved Belles treatment of the everyday people

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I already know this will be one of my best books of 2024! Grove Park Inn is my favorite historic hotel destination. Loved everything--the immaculate research, the swoonworthy romance, the hilarious Marie Austin, Belle's passion for storytelling and journalism, the inside look into the building of GPI and also into the Vagabonds camping tours. As a journalist myself, I liked going along with Belle on her discovery interviews and her passion for revisiting those interviews in the hours after she conducted them really resonated with me. Five stars!

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** “Everyone — every person in front of us and everyone on earth — is living a grand story no matter how small it seems, and our greatest hope, I think, is that at some point it catches another’s eye and becomes their favorite.” **

Joy Callaway delivers a delightful story based on historical events and the creation of an iconic hotel in “What the Mountains Remember.”

Belle Newbold has not seen the mountains since her miner father’s death in the mines of West Virginia. But when her family — stepfather and gas magnate Papa Shipley and her mother — are invited to one of Henry Ford’s and Thomas Edison’s Vagabonds Tour in Asheville, N.C., she must face the mountains and what they represent head on.

Some of the activities include viewing the near completion of the Grove Park Inn, a highly unique structure made out of concrete and stones from the mountains. As Belle’s fascination grows with the process and the people who are bringing the structure to life, she is asked to write the story of the people building the hotel. While doing so, she also gets to know better Worth Delafield, the man she plans to marry. Both are searching for a marriage filled with kindness and compassion but not love.

Will Belle be able to overcome several obstacles all while hiding her true past identity as well as her growing feelings for Worth?

Callaway does an incredible job of diving deeply into a real event with real people, all while creating fictionalized characters to further develop her story. Readers will love Belle and Worth, relating to their past struggles and traumas. They will also feel the inspiration the hotel’s workers provide.

She also fills “What the Mountains Remember” with several great themes, like there are no small lives or stories (“It is easy to consider yourself ordinary, worthless even, when you mistakenly think of your contribution as small. No one’s life is small”); guarding one’s heart; dealing with jealousy; finding your purpose; the power of love; and love sets a person free.

Fans of historical fiction and stories about actual historical events and places will love this novel, which is due out April 2.

Five stars out of five.

Harper Muse provided this complimentary copy through NetGalley for my honest, unbiased review.

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This historical fiction novels follows Belle Newbold as she travels to Asheville for a camping excursion with The Vagabonds (a group of notable men of the time with names you will most definitely recognize). While there she reconnects with her intended, Worth, a match made by her wealthy stepfather but one of which she approves. They tour the Grove Park Inn during its construction and Belle feels a connection to the workers. From a mining town herself with a father who was a miner she is given the opportunity to tell their story.

As a lover of Asheville this story holds a special place in my heart, but I know people even unfamiliar with Asheville will love this book. Belle pushes societal norms of the time with the support of loved ones. The push and pull of belonging to one class or another causes her to rethink her identity and find peace in the in-between.

This is a story about class, about a city on the brink of ruin, about family, and most of all about love. The story is completely immersive and the characters so complex that I was invested in their personal growth. Belle is a true heroine of historical fiction.

Thank you for this advanced copy!

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What the Mountains Remember is an engaging novel based on the history of the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. The story takes place while the inn was being built in 1913. It revolves around Henry Ford’s Vagabond camping tours, which I had never heard of before. Essentially, “glamping” in the early days of the automobile. I want to be a Vagabond!

Belle is the perfect heroine for this story, with a secret background of a poor mining family. It was easy to share her frustration with her ditzy, entitled step-cousin who kept getting in the way and causing problems. I was fascinated to observe the building process and the setting of the beautiful Grove Park Inn right along with her.

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Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Focus, Harper Muse, and Joy Callaway for the opportunity to read the ARC, "What the Mountains Remember." I absolutely loved everything about this book.

I was so excited when I realized the story revolved around the building of the amazing Grove Park Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. I lived near Asheville for several years. Every year I visited the Grove Park Hotel for the annual gingerbread house competition. I also enjoyed going there often to sit out on their terrace and enjoy a meal or drink with an amazing view of the mountains. I think the author, Callaway, did an amazing job of describing the area in and around Asheville. She especially described the blooms and vegetation in spring. One of my favorite past times while I lived there was hiking in the mountains in search of the many different wildflowers that bloomed there in the spring. I was able to envision (and smell) the azaleas, magnolias, mountain laurels, lady slippers, and many other flowers Callaway described so vividly.

I also loved her overall theme of all people being equal to one another. She did a phenomenal job of showing how important the financers and the construction workers were to the final outcome and masterpiece of the Grove Park Hotel. Callaway showed how all of the people involved with the building of the Grove Park Hotel strived to make it the best it could be. She also described how hard the tuberculosis virus hit all of the people living in and around Asheville. The city of Asheville was dependent upon this grand hotel to help bring their town back to life.

I thought this story was incredibly interesting and I learned so much about the area I had lived in for years. I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy reading about this marvelous hotel and the difficult circumstances the workers had to overcome in order to build the exquisite and lasting structure of the Grove Park Hotel. This book got a five star from me and I plan on reading more books by this author, Joy Callaway. #WhattheMountainsRemember #NetGalley #JoyCallaway

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"Everyone - every person in front of us and everyone on earth - is living a grand story no matter now small it seems, and our greatest hope, I think, is that at some point it catches another's eye and becomes their favorite. I find that fascinating."

Another memorable, historical story from Joy Callaway. She's got such a way with writing, so vivid and lush in her descriptions and the words just flow smoothly. The above quote is just one example. I enjoy reading about and learning more about the areas in her books - this is the first time I've learned about the Vagabond camper excursions and the Grove Park Inn. Belle and Worth were fantastic characters to lead this story, the setting is memorable and it's just an enjoyable book.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

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Since I know her family, I am ashamed to admit that this is the first of Joy Callaway's books I have read, but it won't be my last. Her attention to detail of place, time, and person is amazing, and the story she weaves is enthralling. I was there at Grove Park Inn, holding my breath as the men carefully placed the roof tiles, praying they would not fall. I could see the beautiful sky through the skylight. I could feel the mountains calling to me as they did Belle. Joy's characters are amazing. I felt I knew Belle immediately. I wanted to smack Marie Austen and tell her to grow up. What a frustrating character! Seeing the famous men of the time in a fun and casual light made them more personal. I could feel Belle's struggle with love and her history as she tried to find her place in a time not entirely kind to women. I love that Joy wrote Belle's article to tell of the little people behind the Eighth Wonder Of The Word. As Belle (and Joy) said "No one's life is small". Thanks to NetGalley for introducing me to Joy's work. I am proud to give my honest review of this wonderful book. I loved your book, Joy!

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I loved this story by Joy Callaway! What the Mountains Remember is the story of two people determined to not fall in love. Worth and Belle truly believe that love only leads to heartache because of past experiences. Their relationship is to be a practical one, with no emotion attached to each other. However, the reality is that life doesn’t work that way. Join them as they face their past and hope for their future. You’ll be glad you did!

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Joy Callaway, a master southern storyteller, returns with an exquisite tale, WHAT THE MOUNTAINS REMEMBER, exploring the history and building of the iconic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

A story of ordinary people behind extraordinary beauty.

Readers meet Belle Newbold in 1913 and later in Asheville, North Carolina. Her parents have been invited along for a glamping adventure. Her stepfather, Shipley Newbold, a gas magnate, is friends with Henry Ford. Women of elevated social status do not spend time outdoors, camping, or more than an hour or two in the elements, so she is curious about this adventure.

Her mother had forbidden her to speak of the particulars of their former life the moment she met Papa Shipley. No one knew of their true history and never would. Her father had been a coal miner. Papa Shipley was a millionaire who owned most of the gasoline wells in Indiana.

Before the term “glamping” was coined, American trailblazers Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs were some of the first to set up camp in style.

The group called themselves “The Vagabonds” and took almost yearly vacations across the US from 1914 to 1924, contributing to creating the great American road trip as we know it today. In the summer of 1918, these four men stopped in Asheville at the unfinished Grove Park Inn.

Belle's future fiancé, Worth Delafield, owns the land used for their campsite. Their marriage would be arranged, and she has only met him once. Will the Blue Ridge Mountains be any different than the mountains in West Virginia, where she has fond memories of her birth father?

Belle is delighted to receive an invitation to tour the unfinished Grove Park with the owners behind the project, Fred Seely and Edwin Wiley Grove. She soon learns much about Grove Park Inn and the community. She is asked to research and write a newspaper story about the inn's construction and the workers involved, documenting the stories behind the construction of the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Belle also learns that once a tourist attraction, the town seems to be sanatoriums housing tuberculosis patients. There are many with TB and what about the workers building the inn?

In her latest novel, North Carolina novelist Joy Callaway takes readers to the legendary Asheville hotel during its construction in the 1910s with meticulous research, expertly blending fact with fiction with a retelling of the South's grandest hotel.

The construction process was fascinating! If you have spent time there, you will appreciate it even more after reading WHAT THE MOUNTIAN REMEMBERS. This is also Belle's story of self-discovery, class, and tribute to those responsible for building the inn, ironic and timeless with breathtaking views and backdrop. A must-read for North Carolinians.

I am not a huge fan of historical fiction or romance (preferring mysteries, thrillers, and literary fiction); however, I do like Southern fiction, and the minute I saw this cover, without reading the summary, I knew it was the Grove Park Inn and had to read it. It is a mystery as well as historical. The inn is grand with a cozy lodge feel, a large stone fireplace that is so inviting, views on every level, stunning architecture, and elegant exterior and interiors. I highly recommend going in the fall and during the Christmas season.

As a Charlotte, NC native (like the author), I have often stayed at The Grove Park Inn (now The Omni Grove Park Inn 2013). As a regional VP hotel consultant for many years, I had the pleasure of consulting with Grove Park, touring every department, and meeting with each of them. It is a sight to behold, especially the spa! Whether you choose the old or the new accommodations (I have stayed in both), the Inn is rich in history, time, place, and character. It is exquisite. You will be transported back in time while enjoying the luxuries of the modern day for a memorable experience. I have recommended the hotel to many over the years and look forward to returning.

Thanks to Harper Muse and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy for an honest opinion.

The audiobook, narrated by Brittany Pressley, a favorite, enhanced the overall story with a stellar performance, bumping the rating from 4 to 5 stars.

Blog review posted @
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars
Pub Date: April 2, 2024
April 2024 Must-Read Books
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A historical fiction romance you won't want to miss if you adore anything with a Jane Austen feel to it. What the Mountains Remember follows the main character Belle Newbold, the step-daughter of a wealthy oil and gas man who is taking his family on the trip of a lifetime with the Vagabonds of the early 1900's.

The main characters of this story are on one such "glamping" trip along with the Vagabonds and observe the construction of the iconic Grove Park Inn.

Belle Newbold is captivated by the hotel and all that goes into it's construction, including the people behind its creation. She spends much of the story meeting with the craftsman to interview them and writing their story. Which was a questionable profession for a woman during this time period. Not to mention that tuberculosis is running rampant in these parts during this time, putting the construction at risk and everyone involved with it.

While the story focuses much of it's time on this building, and I loved learning so much about it, I was also transfixed by the multifaceted character of Belle and her betrothed, Worth. Belle has a secret history that she cannot afford to let anyone find out. But she knows she needs to marry soon to ensure her future and refuses to have a love match. She saw the devastation her mother endured at the loss of her father and her resolve is strong in that she never wants to experience that kind of loss.

A young man from the same wealthy circles as her step father has agreed to marry her, but he also carries his own secrets, and they are meeting during this trip to assure their engagement and learn more about one another. As their interactions increase and they realize they both share a love for the same sorts of things - including their interest in all types of people and the nature of the world around them - they're both terrified of falling in love. The exact thing both of them want to avoid.

It's a breathtaking journey across a landscape that you can't help but fall in love with and characters that will warm your heart with their kindness and outlook on life. Plus, a wonderfully dreadful cousin that Belle must contend with whose jealousy borders on mania. Her dangerous behavior puts not only herself at risk, but everything that Belle and her mother have worked to put behind them.

My favorite quotes:
"I appreciated the way he stood up for me, the way he saw value in who I was beyond a vessel that would someday bear him children."

"There are three options when a woman is ignited into fury. She can fight, she can let it consumer her, or she can flee."

"Mother always told me you could see love plain in a look, though the beholder and the beholden would never see it. It's a gift, perhaps, from God to show us that true love isn't just a phantom."

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“I hadn’t bargained for the way my heart startled and buckled at the sight of the spring-green hills cloaked in cloudy smoke, the way my soul seemed to scream and fall to its knees at the smell of the earthy-sweet smell of home.”

I haven't read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was immediately enamored with her beautiful and lyrical style of writing, and by this heartfelt story.

Her characters felt so real, and her vivid descriptions had me feeling like I was seeing and feeling the same things that Belle was.

I loved how Belle and Worth gave each other unconditional love and could see who the other person really was. They had both experienced heartbreak, and it was heartwarming how they found healing.

The inclusion of real life historical figures was a great touch, and obviously well researched.

I really loved the way the author honored seemingly ordinary people, and the theme of how everyone makes a difference and has an impact on others.

This was a beautiful story of love and loss, but ultimately of healing and finding joy and peace. I loved it!

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Muse Books, and Austenprose PR for a copy!

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What The Mountains Remember by Joy Calloway is a lovely historical romance set against the backdrop of the mountains of Ashville, North Carolina and the building of Grove Park Inn. Belle Newbold has not been in the mountains for a long time. She travels to meet her arranged fiancé, Worth Delafield. Bella and Worth hold many secrets and while camping with Henry Ford’s Vagabonds, facing the past, and watching the Inn built they see their secrets unravel and their lives change.

I enjoyed this historical romance and my time in the mountains. It was fascinating to learn about the building of Grove Park Inn, early automobiles, and the Vagabonds. I connected with Belle and Worth as characters and enjoyed walking with both of them as they transformed and fell in love. The themes of loving and grieving deeply resonated with me. The author did an amazing job honoring those who built Grove Park Inn.

This was a beautiful and deeply moving historical story. The characters touched my heart and will stay with me. I highly recommend What the Mountains Remember by Joy Calloway.

I was given a copy by the publisher and not required to write a positive review.

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Do you prefer to read indoors or outdoors? I love both!

What the Mountains Remember by Joy Callaway is the story of a young woman named Belle Newbold set in 1913. Belle was a miner’s daughter, but after her father’s death, her mother remarried a titan of industry, Shipley Newbold. Both Belle and her mother are afraid that their past will be found out and they will be thrown out of their life of luxury. Belle is determined to marry for convenience to make sure she has a good life where she never will have to worry about hunger. Worth Delafield seems like the perfect match who can give her all that she asks for. When Henry Ford invites the Newbold family on one of the Vagabond camping trips, Belle gets to know Worth better and determine what is important to her in life.

I just discussed how I want to visit North Carolina and visit the Biltmore estate as part of a review last week. This novel gave me another North Carolina point to visit, Grove Park Inn, which is called the eighth wonder of the world. This Inn is in Ashville, North Carolina and it was a major construction project in the early 20th century.

My thoughts on this novel:
• I loved that this novel focused on how buildings are usually remembered by the person who financed them, but the architect and construction workers who made it possible are often overlooked. I will also put engineer in this category as I have spent my life designing large projects that dignitaries get gold shovels at while I stood in the background. I loved how Belle loved to talk and learn about all the people who worked on this construction project.

• This book was a love story to Asheville and the Appalachian mountains and the people who lived, worked, and died there.

• I really disliked Belle’s “friend” Marie Austen. Marie Austen had a lot of cringe worthy behavior in this book both to Belle and to men. She might win the award for worst fictional friend ever.

• It was interesting learning about the TB crisis in North Caroline during this time period. It’s interesting and sad that there was a real fear that TB hospitals would overtake the community.

• I loved the characters of Belle and Worth. I loved learning more about them and how they learned more about each other and came to an understanding. I also loved how Belle was able to work on an article about the Grove Park Inn and highlight the workers. I enjoyed that she had a coming of age herself and discovered what she really wanted out of life.

• This novel has a marriage of convenience and friends to lovers’ tropes. The romance was beautiful in this novel.

• The camping trip with the Vagabonds was very interesting, but the Vagabonds were very much minor background characters. It left me wanting to know more about their adventures.

• There was a great author’s note at the end of the novel that discusses how the author has visited and been fascinated with Grove Park Inn since she was a child. It discussed her research and changes that she made to make her story work.

• This was my first Joy Callaway novel, but it won’t be my last.

Overall, What the Mountains Remember by Joy Callaway was an excellent historical fiction novel with a great unique setting, interesting characters, and wonderful romance.

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The Grove Park Inn, known in 1913 as the “eighth wonder of the world,” draws readers to Asheville, North Carolina, in the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville’s mountain setting and fresh air have become known as the perfect place for sanatoriums for tuberculosis patients. Edwin Grove and his son-in-law, Fred Seely, are investing in an amazing hotel hoping to secure Asheville’s future by recentering the economy on tourism.
At the core of Callaway’s story is the actual building of Grove Park Inn, the plight of hundreds of laborers, and a tuberculosis pandemic. Callaway lays a solid foundation of the area’s rich history filled with well researched details walled in by Belle and Worth’s intriguing social conundrums. Belle realizes her dream of following in her father’s footsteps and accepts the task of writing the story of Grove Park Inn. With this self-discovery she is immediately transfixed by the craftsmanship that this “marvel upon marvel” will require. Joy Callaway intricately dovetails details of stone masons fitting boulders into the walls of the Great Hall and descriptions of rebar and scaffolding involved in tiled roofing, with the comedic contests of the Vagabonds and the outlandish “camping” scenes of the elite socialites and the waitstaff.
A theme of unconditional love is deeply forged into the relationship of Belle and her mother, Grace. They live in fear of their past being discovered by Grace’s new husband and Belle’s betrothed, Worth Delafield. Callaway’s development of the mother/daughter relationship of secrecy and deceit is layered on top of Belle’s skewed perspective of how she views marriage and family, neither involving love. This view creates a lot of angst, frustration, and tense social scenes. Worth Delafield, dealing with the tragic loss of his family, is also operating out of fear. This plot line winds up and down the mountain roads and into the hills. Belle’s faux life also involves the villain, Marie Austen, her self-centered, irritating, deceiving “best friend.” In the midst of the marriage matches and mismatches, the Grove Park Inn is getting closer and closer to completion! Callaway creates anticipation as exhilarating as the mountain air!
Finding purpose and truth is at the heart of What the Mountains Remember.

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