Monday, April 15, 2024

What the Mountains Remember by Joy Callaway (Austenprose PR Book Tour)


Title:  What the Mountains Remember

Author:  Joy Callaway

Narrated by:  Brittany Pressley

Publisher:  Harper Muse

Length: Approximately 12 hours and 16 minutes

Source: Thank-you to NetGalley for the audiobook review copy.  Thank-you Bethany House and Austenprose for the review copy of the physical book.

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.

·       I read this book both physically and on audiobook and kept switching to whatever format worked best for me at the time.  I had a lot of travel during the last couple of weeks, so this worked well for me.  Brittany Pressley was a great narrator.

·       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.


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.


Joy Callaway is the author of All the Pretty Places, The Grand Design, The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, and Secret Sisters. She holds a BA in journalism and public relations from Marshall University and an MMC from the University of South Carolina. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, John, and her children, Alevia and John. Visit her online at


1 comment:

  1. Laura, your review is thoughtful and well-written, as usual. Your description of this book as excellent historical fiction in a unique setting, with interesting characters and wonderful romance, is compelling. It sounds like a beautiful book. And how interesting that you read this book by reading AND listening! I've never done that, but what fun, to mix it up! :)