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On Kingdom Mountain Hardcover – July 11, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mosher's 11th book is the first-rate, offbeat chronicle of Miss Jane Hubbell Kinneson's eventful 50th year in 1930. Ex-teacher, woodcarver, librarian, basketball coach and current self-appointed steward of the wild and pristine town of Kingdom Mountain, Vt., Miss Jane (The Duchess) is entrenched in a battle against her cousin Eben and the town elders who want to build a highway and ski resort on her beloved mountain. Jane, as endearing as she is odd and independent-minded, looks to be in over her head until stunt pilot Henry Satterfield crashes his biplane near her home. Theatrical, dashing Henry recovers at Jane's place, and a romance blossoms. Henry also brings with him an old family riddle from Texas that he believes, if solved, will lead him and Jane to a lost Confederate treasure rumored to be hidden on the mountain. But all manner of heartbreak looms. Mosher (Waiting for Teddy Williams; The True Account; etc.) weaves homespun humor, a provincial New England setting and eccentric characters to create a satisfying, unique novel. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Jane Hubbell Kinneson is the sole owner and last resident of Kingdom Mountain, Vermont, a wild and unspoiled place on the U.S.-Canadian border in 1930. Outside forces led by her cousin Eben are trying to get the Connector, a new highway that will run through the mountain, pushed through. Miss Jane says, "Over my dead body," and means it. On her fiftieth birthday, stunt pilot and rainmaker Henry Satterfield crashes his biplane on her lake. Miss Jane offers him shelter and Henry joins her fight against the Connector. Henry is in Vermont to solve the riddle his Confederate grandfather left him about the location of stolen federal gold. The two go to the state supreme court, put on a wing-walking show, and eventually become lovers. Miss Jane is a fascinating character, and the host of small-town Vermonters who populate the story are little gems, both hilarious and poignant. It's not hard to see where the story is going, but the scenery along the way is well worth the trip. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (July 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618197230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618197231
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,635,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nancy J. Mumford on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
At the library I work in we would catagorize this as a "gentle read" - no foul language, minimal reference to sex and no violence. Yet the story is not saccharine or trite, and the main character, Jane, is a strong, independent woman. Set in the 1930's, Jane is the last of her family left on Kingdom Mountain, which has been owned by her family for generations. She fights to save it from the county officials, who want to run a "connector" road over it to Canada, and at the same time she is helping a stranger decipher a riddle that could lead to a lost treasure on her mountain. Historical fiction with a little mystery thrown in and add a sweet love story - what could be better? Recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Not since A STRANGER IN THE KINGDOM (1989) has Mosher produced so tightly woven a narrative. A comedic performance, with parts of the book laugh-out-loud funny, the novel--an odd-ball romance masquerading as tall tale--is as finely crafted a piece of work as a Shaker chair or Louisville Slugger.
Miss Jane Hubbell Kinneson, a k a "The Duchess" of Kingdom Mountain, is 50 years old, unmarried, and one of Mosher's most memorable and entertaining characterizations. Fiercely independent Miss Jane is a capable farmer and outdoorswoman and at home in the wild; she is also a lady of distinction, a woman of culture with some highly idiosyncratic ideas on matters literary and religious. An ex-schoolmarm and proprietor of the common bookstore and lending library, Miss Jane refers to the celebrated with less than reverence: Henry David Throeau she indicts as "Pronouncer and Proclaimer"; Shakespeare is "The Pretender of Avon"; King James, author of the King James Bible, is a "villainous imposter," and as one of her self-imposed chores, Miss Jane, something of a Pronouncer and Proclaimer herself, is revising the Bible, clarifying matters having to do, as she says, with the "Nazarene know-it-all," his disciples "the twelve fawning slackers," and his "lunatic cousin" John the Baptist.
The Duchess's hardscrabble yet idyllic country lifestyle, and her beloved mountain, are threatened when town fathers, led by Miss Jane's wealthy cousin Eben Kinneson, decide to build a highway across the mountain. To stop the "Connector" Jane goes to war against the forces of so-called progress.
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Format: Hardcover
Set in the Northeast Kingdom, a corner of Vermont butting up against the Canadian border, Mosher's ninth "Kingdom" novel is a "character story" featuring one of Mosher's best-drawn personalities. Jane Hubbell Kinneson, almost fifty and the owner of Kingdom Mountain, is the essence of self-reliance during the Depression which has engulfed the country. Accustomed to fending for herself, she "didn't need much income. She burned her own wood, ate her own venison, moose, and trout, cultivated a large kitchen garden, cut her ice on the river, compounded her own medicines...and had no taxes or electric or phone bills to pay."

A former schoolteacher, baseball coach, and bookstore owner, Miss Jane is also a prize-winning woodcarver of life-like birds. Particularly fascinated by birds "in strife," she sees strife as "the way of the world," and strife is what she has aplenty on her mountain. Her cousin Eben, a lawyer, has big plans to bulldoze a Connector road across Kingdom Mountain in the name of "progress," so that people can save time when they travel.

In the early spring of 1930, as Miss Jane is hauling her ice-fishing shack across the ice of Lake Memphremagog, a spluttering biplane, identified as "Henry Satterfield's Flying Circus Rainmaking and Pyrotechnic Services" makes a crash-landing on the lake ice. Henry, injured, recuperates in her huge barn and is eventually persuaded to move into the guest room in the main house, where he stays for many months. A factor in Henry's stay is the tantalizing legend that $100,000 in double-eagle gold pieces, robbed from the local bank during the Civil War, is buried on Kingdom Mountain.
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Format: Hardcover
I've truly enjoyed every book Mosher has written (especially "Northern Borders" and "A Stranger in the Kingdom"), and his latest is another very good one. Although I thought Miss Jane was a bit too eccentric and some parts of the novel were too precious, nonetheless this story of life in northern Vermont is another wonderful read. The story is engrossing, the action is compelling, the characters are fun, and the vivid descriptions of the setting are excellent (especially since I live in Maine and have spent a large part of my life in Canada). No one writes a story like Howard Frank Mosher (incidentally, I recently talked to Richard Russo, and he is a fervent fan and friend of Mosher's); his novels are magical, heart-warming, and entertaining. I can't wait for his next book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On Kingdom Mountain:A Novel, written by Howard Frank Mosher, is a well written tale about quirky Vermont characters, local folklore of a missing treasure,and the encroachment of an expanding "modern" way of life upon the peacefulness of a tiny town searching for a lifeline . I felt like a member of the Kinneson family shortly after reading the first few pages and relished each Chapter like a child listening to stories being spun by an elderly Aunt as I sat at her feet or in her lap soaking it all into my consciousness. It is quite an adventure and well worth the time to read this delightful novel. Pass this book by at your own peril !
Harry Webb
Wiesbaden, Germany
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