The Legend of the Mountain Ash by Ruth Sims
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
The Legend of Mountain Ash is a wonderful story. I’ve read it before and remembered the story as soon as I read the first lines. It’s one that sticks with you, pulling emotion that you don’t want to fear and wonder at the magic offered. It’s not an easy story but Sims rarely offers that. Instead it’s sad, painful, uplifting, and offers happiness but not before the sacrifice. The writing is beautiful and perhaps some of the author’s best so if you haven’t read it, you should for that reason alone.
Ethan and Davy return to the America after World War II and eventually find themselves living in an isolated cabin in the woods after an aborted attempt to live in a small town. Together they build a life. It’s hard and marked by back breaking work but they’re happy and in love. They etch out a home, plant crops, raise animals, and love each other. Years later a stranger enters their life, heralding loss and pain but perhaps eventually magic and salvation but only at the end of the journey.
The story is deceptively simple. It’s a tale of magic, love, pain, sacrifice, and happiness. The language is beautiful and powerful with no words wasted. Each description brings the vivid colors and hardships to life while tears and laughter ring out and leap off the page. Sims’ prose is enchanting as it draws you in from the very beginning and never lets you go. There is a sense of wonder and bittersweet foreshadowing. The characters are accepting even as they ache for more.
The Legend of Mountain Ash is a fairytale and a love story wrapped together in a moving tribute to love and sacrifice. The depth of emotion this short story draws is a real testament to the author’s skill. It’s not an easy journey but one you’ll be glad to take. The ending of course will have you smiling through the tears.