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“Across the Blue Ridge Mountains paints a picture of the life and times in the Blue Ridge Mountains just before the coming of Shenandoah National Park like no other book I’ve read. It transports me there with accurate details in an immersive saga.”
--Sue Eisenfeld, Author of Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal
"An ambitious, important and beautifully written first novel by a gifted new writer. Maggie Marangione deeply knows the Virginia mountain towns she writes of and the hard lives within. In Mary Dodson, she has created a clear voiced, brave and unforgettable heroine equal to the myriad challenges she faces. I read this book in blazing gulps, and thought about it for days after I finished the last page."
--Tom Barbash, author of The Dakota Winters
Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
My novel, Across The Blue Ridge Mountains, is set in the early twentieth century in the small town of Elkton, Virginia during the social and political changes of industrialization, women’s equality, the Eugenics movement, and the removal of mountain families for the Shenandoah National Park.
Mary, the protagonist, makes a fateful decision to run off with a grifter to escape her abusive mother. The novel follows her exile from her family, abandonment in a West Virginia coal camp, and how she eventually flourishes with a family on Hightop Mountain in what is now Shenandoah National Park. Surrounded by nature, she heals from her traumas and discovers the power of female friendships. Empowered, she confronts the long arm of the federal government when over 1,000 families are told to abandon their homes and she fights to save her home and way of life. Even when the government burns down her home, her resilience and grace in the face of adversity become her beacon and ultimately deliver her from herself.
Across the Blue Ridge is comparable to the plots and characterizations in Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. Writer Tom Barbash, a New York Times bestselling author who edited my novel, said it put him in mind of The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus.
Across the Blue Ridge Mountains was published by Moonshine Cove Publishing in August 2022 and is now available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
M.S. Marangione was recently interviewed for local podcast X2 Comedy Virginia is for Laughers.
“Discover the inspiration behind the novel’s main character Mary and learn about ‘her world’. Get the author's more in depth personal take on the woven complexity of life’s unwanted circumstances and how sharing their stories can bring healing from the impact on these families.”
Feel the impact of storytelling in this week's episode! Join us for an enlightening and delightful discussion with M.S. Marangione on her book, Across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hear what brought this New York native to Virginia and how she developed a curiosity for these displaced families, learn about In her research and its challenges, and discover the inspiration behind the novel’s main character Mary.
All this and more in Episode 84 - out now wherever you listen.