One Mountain Away

One Mountain Away

4.7 17
by Emilie Richards

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With nothing but brains, ambition and sheer nerve, Charlotte Hale built a career as a tough, do-anything-to-succeed real-estate developer. She's at the top of that mountain…but her life is empty. Her friends are as grasping and insincere as she has become. Far worse, she's alienated her family so completely that she's totally lost touch with her only…  See more details below


With nothing but brains, ambition and sheer nerve, Charlotte Hale built a career as a tough, do-anything-to-succeed real-estate developer. She's at the top of that mountain…but her life is empty. Her friends are as grasping and insincere as she has become. Far worse, she's alienated her family so completely that she's totally lost touch with her only daughter.

One terrifying day, facing her own mortality, she realizes that her ambition has almost destroyed her chance at happiness.

So Charlotte vows to make amends, not simply with her considerable wealth, but by offering a hand instead of a handout. Putting in hours and energy instead of putting in an appearance. Opening her home and heart instead of her wallet.

With each wrenching, exhilarating decision, Charlotte finds that climbing a new mountain—one built on friendship, love and forgiveness—will teach her what it truly means to build a legacy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite aslow beginning, Richards (Sunset Bridge) manages to bring readers a well-crafted tale of atonement before death. Utterly alone after years of mistakes ("Knowing what was best for everybody was something I was good at"), Charlotte Hale is diagnosed with leukemia. Facing her mortality, she sets out to redress those mistakes and mend the rift with her daughter, Taylor, a rift that has prevented Charlotte from meeting her granddaughter. Charlotte, who has long craved "power, control, status," begins humbly trying to make amends with small acts of kindness, hoping to achieve her main goal while she still has time. Charlotte is an admirable character, using her newfound powers of self-observation to bring meaning back into her life. Richards creates a heart-wrenching atmosphere that slowly builds to the final pages, and continues to echo after the book is finished. Agent: Steve Axelrod, the Steve Axelrod Agency. (Aug)
From the Publisher
"Complex characters, compelling emotions and the healing power of forgiveness-what could be better? I loved this book!"
-New York Times Bestselling Author Sherryl Woods on One Mountain Away

"A juicy, sprawling beach read with a suspenseful twist."
-Publishers Weekly on Fortunate Harbor

This quintessential beach read is full of intrigue, romance, comedy and a splash of mystery."

-Publishers Weekly on Happiness Key

"Intricate, seductive and a darned good read."
-Publishers Weekly on Iron Lace

"This novel features a multilayered plot, vivid descriptions, and a keen sense of time and place."
-Library Journal on Rising Tides

"Richards's ability to portray compelling characters who grapple with challenging family issues is laudable, and this well-crafted tale should score well with fans of Luanne Rice and Kristin Hannah."
-Publishers Weekly on Fox River, starred review

"Magically interpreting the emotional resonance of love and loss, betrayal and redemption through luminously drawn characters...glows with transcendent warmth, wisdom, grace, and compassion."
-Booklist on Touching Stars

"A heartwarming, richly layered story."
-Library Journal on Endless Chain, starred review

"[Richards] draws these women of different generations together. Richards should've included a special pull-out hanky insert, but readers looking for positive resolutions won't be disappointed."
-Publishers Weekly on Sister's Choice

"When I first began reading ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY, I wondered where the story was going. A few pages later, I knew precisely where this story was going--straight to my heart. Words that come to my mind are Wow, Fabulous, and Beautiful. Definitely a must-read. If any book I've ever read deserves to be made into a film, ONE MOUNTAIN AWAY is it! Kudos to Emilie Richards."
-New York Times Bestselling Author Catherine Anderson

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Product Details

Publication date:
Goddesses Anonymous Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.26(d)

Read an Excerpt

First Day Journal: April 28

Today Maddie is wearing blue, the color of a summer sky. The choice is a good one. Any shade of blue probably suits her, but, of course, in the years before adolescence, most children look wonderful in every shade of the rainbow. At Maddie's age skin is flawless and radiant, and hair is glossy. I think her eyes are probably blue. This is an educated guess, based on the light brown of her hair, the rose tint of her cheeks and her preferences for every shade from royal to periwinkle. I bet somebody's told her how pretty she looks when she wears it. I remember how susceptible girls of ten are to compliments. Her mother certainly was.

This park is always filled with children. I come here to watch them play, while at the same time I worry they make learning personal facts too easy. I feel absurdly protective, so I make it my job to watch out for strangers who show too much interest or approach them to start conversations.

This is absurd, of course, because to the children, I'm a stranger, too. A stranger enjoying a glimpse back in time to a childhood she never experienced. A stranger scribbling in a journal she resisted for weeks until the lure became too great.

I'm calling this my First Day Journal because of a quote from the 1970s. When I first arrived in Asheville the words radiated in psychedelic colors from posters in every store downtown.

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life."

Ironically, during the time the saying was wildly popular, I was too busy to think about it. For me a day was just something to get through to make way for another. But now, every time I sit down to record my past and my thoughts, I'll need the reminder that every day brings a new start, whether we need one or not.

A shriek draws my attention. The boy laboring up the spokes of the metal dome with Maddie is named Porter. Apparently his mop of black hair makes it hard to see, because he continually shakes his head in frustration, or maybe just in hopes the strands will fly out of his eyes for the time it takes to lumber to the top. I know his name because the other children shout it loudly and often. Porter's something of a bully. Overweight, a little shabbier than the others, a little clumsy.

It's that last that makes the boy pick on Maddie, I think. Porter's figured out an eternal truth. If he makes fun of someone else, no one will look quite so hard at him. While this makes me angry, I understand. The world's filled with bullies, but at birth, not a one of them glanced at the next cradle and plotted how to steal the pacifier out of a baby-neighbor's mouth. It's only later they learn that knocking down other people may help them stand taller.

So while Porter's behavior upsets me, I feel sorry for him, as well. He's still just a boy. I want to take him in hand and teach him the manners he'll need to get by in the world, but Porter's neither my son nor grandson. I'm just a stranger on a park bench, watching children make mistakes and enemies, decisions and friends.

One of Maddie's friends is on her way to the dome right now to make sure Porter doesn't push her. This child, olive-skinned and lean, is named Edna, which surprised me the first time I heard another child call her name. Of course, names are a circle. They come into favor, then go. Today's young mothers probably never had an Aunt Edna who smelled like win-tergreen and mothballs, and chucked them under the chin at family reunions. They find the name filled with music, the way my generation never did.

The child Edna is filled with music. She's a girl who dances her way through life. I think if she and I ever spoke she would sing her words. Edna certainly sings her way into the hearts of the other children. She's powerful here in a way none of the others are. Edna can rescue any situation. She's tactful when she needs to be, forceful when that's required and a mistress of the best way to avert trouble before it begins, which is what she's doing today. If no one beats her to the honor, Edna may well be our first woman president.

Edna waltzes her way up the metal bars with a quick, natural grace, and she's swaying at the top before Porter can work any mischief. From here it's obvious she's talking to him. Talking, not lecturing, because after a moment, I hear him laugh. Not derisively, but like the child he is. I bet Edna told him a joke, because now Maddie's laughing, too. Maddie's a courageous child, and she shows no fear. If Porter knocked her to the ground, she would pick herself up and start the climb again. I think Maddie refuses to let anything get in her way. Better yet, she doesn't seem to hold grudges or rail against obstacles. She simply finds a way to go around them.

I rarely cry. When I was younger than Maddie, I realized how futile tears were. But today my eyes fill as I watch the three children divide the world among themselves. Here's the future, right in front of me. Edna will lead, efficiently, carefully, fairly.

Porter will try to disrupt everything around him, but if Edna can influence him, he may find a better place. And Maddie? Maddie will struggle with whatever life throws at her, but she will always prevail.

For the moment, though, the three are simply children, laughing at Edna's well-timed joke while I wipe my eyes on a park bench thirty yards away. When I look up, I see Maddie's grandfather, Ethan, start across the baseball diamond beyond us to fetch his granddaughter.

I turn away quickly to make sure he doesn't see me. I wonder, though, if he did, would Ethan feel a glimmer of sympathy? Would he understand why I'm sitting here, watching a child I've never spoken to? Would he join me on this narrow park bench and tell me about the granddaughter we share, the granddaughter we haven't discussed since that terrible night ten years ago when we stood at the window of a neonatal intensive care unit and broke each other's hearts?

As I gather my purse and sweater, and slip my heels back into my shoes, I contemplate what to do next. I'm struck by how many possibilities confront us each moment, possibilities we rarely notice. We move on to the next decision by habit, then the next, and we never look around to see all the paths leading to other places, other lives. Right now I could meet Mad-die's grandfather halfway across the diamond and ask him to talk to me, even to introduce me to the young girl who is so much a part of both of us.

As always there are too many choices to contemplate fully, but as I stand and turn in the other direction, I know I'm making the only one I can.

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One Mountain Away 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so looking forward to reading this book. And Emilie did not disappoint! She never has. When you read an Emilie Richards book it is so easy to feel like you know the characters. They become like family and friends. The only thing I do not like about her books is when I read the last page! I know how much I will miss my friends. Asheville NC is home for my family although I do not live there now, I really enjoyed Emilie mentioning places that bring back wonderful memories. Be prepared to get emotional as you feel the story of each character. Their lives will touch you as you can't help relating to each one. The characters are so real and believable. As always, I would love to read more about those in the book. Where are they now, how are they doing,etc? Emilie, we love your series! Thank you for another wonderful book. PS if you ever have the opportunity to meet Emilie Richards, take it! She is a lovely person, and so is her husband.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was sorry to see this book end. I enjoyed the characters and hope the author revists them to continue their stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Emilie Richards and this book is one of her bests.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down. A great read
Loves-to-read-41 More than 1 year ago
Another great read from Emilie Richards. This would be a good book for a book club. Like all of her books there is a lesson to be learned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tylakno1 More than 1 year ago
Good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, but didn't think it was a good as some of her others. Emilie Richards is an excellent writer and addresses problems in everyone's life at one time or another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tear jerker couldn't put it down loved this book by Emilie Richards a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all Emilie Richards' books so had pre-ordered on Nook and could not wait to read it. I finished it one day as could not put it down! It is one of the most powerful stories about life, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, fathers, forgiveness; Life is too short to hold grudges, and how people come into our lives with great meaning and purpose. I loved the characters and how 3 different women find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy and how each was handled. I also loved the Asheville, NC setting as I am a native of NC and have lived in the southeast all my life and now live in West Palm Beach, FL; however, last fall returned to Asheville, NC to do some consulting work for the Grove Park Inn (fantastic place – make sure to get a rocking chair view and try the underground spa!) mentioned in the book, as well as spending time in Highlands, NC, which is where I visit each Fall. The mountains hold a special place for me as you feel close to God and there is peacefulness there, so the setting was fitting for a book of this nature. I highly recommend as one of the top books and I read over a 100 books a year. One of Emilie’s best (and they are all good), but this one was special. I would love to see a sequel and continuation of Harmony as she was a character you fell in love with, as she grew from the scared insecure woman to finding her place, due to Charlotte’s warm and open heart. A Winner! (PS I think I went thru a box of Kleenex)
mysterygirlSC More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Emilie's books but this one really grabbed me. I finished it last night and it is "still with me" It was sad and uplifting at the same time and as I read I felt like I was there and a part of the story. I would give it more starts if they were available.