Vermonter Mona Duval loves the covered bridge beside her store. She loves local history and the rugged, rural nature of her home state. But when an ice storm collapses the bridge, she is bereft. Frank MacFarland, a seasonal resident who is beguiled by Mona, lends his political expertise to help rebuild the bridge. But they meet with powerful opposition. Tensions arise in the town, compounded by resistance to the soon-to-be-voted on Freedom to Marry bill. And then, unexpectedly, Mona’s abusive ex-husband arrives. Wild Mountain is a page-turning, beautifully written novel about the love between Frank and Mona, the love of place, freedom to marry, and freedom from the past, by a writer whose prose has been compared to Alice Munro’s.
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WILD MOUNTAIN BOOK GROUP GUIDE
1. Is this Mona’s story or the town’s?
2. A major theme in this novel is love. Discuss.
3. Setting figures heavily in this novel. Could the story have been set anywhere else? Would a city neighborhood have been a possible setting? Why or why not?
4. Difference is a major theme in the novel. Gus is differently-abled, for instance, and some people are LGBT and suffer discrimination. But some people are also old and opinionated and young people in the novel make choices that surprise. What is the author saying about difference and how we handle difference?
5. The author is a psychotherapist. How do you feel her work background shaped her writing?
6. The loss of the covered bridge is where WILD MOUNTAIN begins. How does history—both personal and community history—become important to the plot?
7. A debate occurs in this novel about who has the right to marry. How does the novel portray marriage?
8. How is faith portrayed here?
9. The novel seems deceptively simple at first but has major underlying themes about defining experiences in people’s lives. How did Kilgore manage to this, do you think?
10. Frank is someone we all know or at least, he feels like he is. What about Frank’s character is key to this novel?
11. Mona’s store is central to her community. Would the novel be different if her job had been different?
12. How does the author use symbolism in WILD MOUNTAIN?
13. Is this a coming-of-age later in life story? Can we come of age more than once?
14. Is this a novel about compassion? Passion?
15. What do you think happens next?