Snelling exceeds expectations in this sensitively written account of three women whose lives are forever altered by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

Against advice, Katherine Sommers' husband and son go camping on the north slope of the rumbling mountain. Mellie Sedor's husband accepts a job with a logging company on the mountain to help pay for their little daughter's cancer treatment. Former fashion model Jen Stockton takes her new career as a photographer to the slopes of the Lady, as it is called. The mountain's shadow is familiar childhood territory, a balm to her troubled spirit, though now the mountain herself is troubled. When the Lady blows, these three women—once strangers—are bound together with cords of friendship that make miracles out of tragedy.

The emotional takeaway of this novel is reminiscent of Karen Kingsbury at her best. The characters' issues are neither surface nor easily solved. A challenging, fulfilling read. (Jun., 384 pp., $13.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson