When Mountains Move is the sequel to Julie Cantrell‘s first novel, Into the Free. I have not read the debut novel but found there was enough backstory in the 2nd book that I wasn’t missing any pertinent information.
This is a Christian romance novel about a young girl coming of age in Mississippi at the tail end of the Depression. It’s Millie’s wedding day and while she is deeply in love with Bump Anderson and excited about their future together, she is also in deep anguish over a recent event that she is hiding in her heart — an event over which she had no control but over which she is experiencing great shame. Many times she wants to tell Bump what happened but fear prevents her from speaking.
Millie has had great experiences as a rodeo trick rider and Bump has been to vet school and knows just about everything there is to know about animals, especially horses. His boss, Mr. Tucker, is giving them a wonderful opportunity: a fresh start. He has bought some land in Colorado and right after the wedding celebration they’re heading off with ration cards, a picnic basket, and all their worldly possessions to start a breeding ranch for cattle and horses.
As they get established in their new home, Millie and Bump rebuild their house and barn, mend fences, and make friends. They work side by side but eventually they need help. Millie’s Choctaw grandmother arrives to support her with her native traditions and common sense and Bump hires the son of a former owner of the ranch — against the advice of friends who say he’s a murderer. Complications and misunderstandings arise, as well as threats from supposed friends and danger from the unexpected. Through it all, Millie holds to her father-in-law’s wedding prayer:
When times get hard, as they will, and when marriage becomes strained, as it will, and when Kenneth and Millie are so desperate they want to give up and walk out, may they find strength in You, Lord. May their faith draw them back to one another, and at the moments when they need it most, may they remember the love they feel today.
Cantrell has conceived a compelling plot and setting with believable characters that draw you into the story and won’t let you leave until you turn the last page. Some of the things that happen are predictable and yet the story keeps pulling you on despite that. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the first book now that I know the ending, as it were, but I like the look of the third novel, The Feathered Bone, which is a completely different set of characters and with an abduction plot set in New Orleans. Sounds intriguing. This was a quick read full of interesting native lore and ranch reality as the young couple struggles to keep their marriage together and hold on to their faith. * * * 1/2
To read the first paragraph and a teaser follow this link.