REVIEW: The Black Mountain

I found this in the Oxfam second hand bookshop in Nottingham and it excited me for two different reasons: 1) it is a Kate Mosse book that I haven’t read and 2) I had never heard of Quick Reads and wanted to know more.

Let’s start with reason number two. Quick Reads is the Brainchild of The Reading Agency and gets well known authors to write reasonably short books in order to encourage more reading for pleasure among the population of the UK. There are both adult and children’s Quick Reads. This book was published as one of the Quick Reads 2022.

Quick Reads 2023 were published for general consumption on April 13 and feature Agatha Christie, Jojo Moyes, Dreda Say Mitchell, Bernadine Evaristo, Roddy Doyle and Peter James. Authors in other years have included Santa Montefiore, Graham Norton, Caitlin Moran, Paula Hawkins, Oyinkan Braithwaite… oh yes, we have some really big names here, huge.

Now I do not need any encouragement to read for pleasure, I do it every single day. Neither do I need any encouragement to read a Kate Mosse book, to date I have read five of her historical novels (six including this one) and one non-fiction book all of which I have enjoyed very much.

The Black Mountain is different from all the other books of hers I have read, mainly in that it is less than one quarter of the size of most of them. This runs to a very slim 130 pages (it is a Quick Read after all).

Set on the island of Tenerife in 1706, Ana’s father has just died and everyone believes it is suicide. Ana is trying to support her mother and younger twin brothers by keeping the family vineyard going just outside a small town on the north west coast of the island in the shadow of the Black Mountain – a volcano that legend says has the devil inside it.

The volcano has not erupted for 1,000 years and no one thinks it is a threat but when Ana notices the air feels heavy and the birds have stopped singing, she races to save her family and the townspeople from destruction. And can she discover what really happened to her father?

I love Kate Mosse’s books, I always enjoy the twists in the plot and am very fond of her characters. I feel I learn something too. What I know about Tenerife in the early 1700s you could write on the head of a pin and I enjoy discovering something about a different time and place.

I thoroughly enjoyed this though I did want it to be longer.

These Quick Read books are just £1 and you could probably finish one on a long train journey. I shall look out for some more, I think they are perfect for trying out a new author you haven’t read before or even catching up on a favourite one like I did.

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