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Growing up poor and desperate on the edge of a lush mountain resort leaves Gary Richardson hungering for a better life, not only for himself but for his friend turned lover, Seth Morgan. Seth’s dreams aren’t so large - he’s content with Gary and enough spare cash for greens fees.
When even a prescription of antibiotics seems out of reach, Gary’s not above spending some time on his knees to make sure he and Seth have what they need. Gary would do anything for Seth.
When an unheard-of opportunity knocks, Gary can answer or resign himself to living on tips from affluent tourists.
Second chances are hard to offer when Seth’s trust has been betrayed. He has to let go and hope the man he loves will find his way home.
What listeners say about Return to the Mountain
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Sometimes you can go back home
Gary and Seth are childhood friends that have been through it all together. Gary's homelife is chaotic and abusive while Seth has a calmer existence and a mother that loves him dearly. Gary falls in love with Seth as soon as he's old enough to know the meaning of the word, Seth takes a little longer. As the years pass they grow closer and though they are barely scraping by, as long as they're together, Seth couldn't be happier. Gary has big dreams and hopes and makes a terrible choice to ensure those dreams, a decision that costs him everything but the job making all the money he's always wanted. But what's riches without the love of your life?
What I've enjoyed about this series is how each book is different. It's a series, all books set at a Mountain resort Wapiti Creek, but each story has a different feel to it and stands on its own well. This particular book explored the consequences for ones actions, no matter the intent. Gary wants the best of everything for Seth, feeling like his friend turned lover deserves the very best in life. But the steps he takes to ensure that future are misguided and irrevocable. Seth could care less if he and Gary have to move back home to his mother and spend the rest of their lives sleeping on his tiny, twin bed. They need to be on the same page or the life each of them envision will be nothing more than a dream.
Finn Sterling has really done an amazing job with this series from book to book. While there is a variety of characters, some moving through several books, Sterling always manages to give each their own voice. He packs a punch with tones, inflections and nuances as well that bring the emotions Singer wrote out for Gary and Seth to life. There's a particular part in this book where Gary and Seth are talking on the phone and Gary has to face the consequences for his actions. I truly felt the desperation Gary felt and the pain Seth felt in that moment. Great job Sterling!
My only hiccup was there were times when the story didn't flow well from one part to the next and a particular relationship between Gary and a despicable asshole went in to far too much detail for my liking. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I would recommend this series to listeners that like flawed, three dimensional characters where the struggle is real, but leads to right path, eventually. I would also recommend starting with book one simply because it's like listening to one long story broken into five parts.
- Morgan A Skye
Not the best in this series
Any additional comments?
Gary and Seth are high school friends turned lovers. Gary had an exceptionally sucky childhood with an abusive father. Seth’s mom is wonderful but Seth is a bit “slow” and though he has a lot of natural golf talent he doesn’t quite have what it takes to go pro.
Gary sees the world and wants to experience all it has to offer in terms of luxuries and things he never had as a kid. He wants that for him AND Seth. Sometimes he’s even willing to do morally ambiguous things for opportunities to make things better for him and Seth.
Seth only ever wants to love Gary.
After high school Seth and Gary do various jobs (caddy, waiter, etc.) but Gary has those dreams of riches driving him. When some New Yorkers come to the mountain to golf and Gary overhears them talking business, he wants in.
The business “project” involves some more moral ambiguity, and moving to New York for a bit, but Gary classifies it all as getting a foot in the door and a leg up in business and since all he has ever wanted is to take care of himself and Seth, it feels “okay”, if not “good”.
Things do manage to take off for Gary (briefly) but the financial success is countered with romantic failure when Seth learns of what Gary has been doing to “help” things along.
Eventually Gary learns that money isn’t the answer to everything, that honesty and love are more important than financial success and that Seth is the most important thing of all.
This is quite different from the previous books in the series. There is still the attention to detail (Golf and Finance) that PD is so good at providing. There is still Wapiti Creek, the small mountain community we’ve seen before. There is still two boys in love.
However… in terms of “feels” this diverges from the path. In my opinion, Gary is really, really hard to like. I never felt good about how he handled his relationship with Seth. He was sorta like a big brother/parent at times and then sometimes like an adoring fan/boyfriend. I really, really didn’t like his justifications for cheating and the fact that all he could focus on was money. I think I understand WHY he felt that way and it was explained well, but I just never LIKED him as a result of his choices.
I really liked Seth and since I had a hard time with Gary I had a hard time rooting for them as a couple. Part of me hoped a new character would be introduced who was worthy of Seth.
Since the relationship between Seth and Gary is established early on, the slow burn is gone from the story.
Though Gary “redeems” himself by the end of the book, I still didn’t feel comfortable with his “turnaround” and so didn’t feel great about the longevity of them as a couple.
Overall, I would have to say this is a book in the series I’d skip, especially if infidelity is a trigger for you.
Finn Sterling did another great job with the narration, giving us a New York accent and growly old businessmen. My only complaint was that Gary’s voice seemed consistently pre-teen and that didn’t fit with his personality of a “do anything to move forward” kind of guy. I get that he’s got an “angelic” face, but his voice and tone could reflect the hard edges he earned at the hands of his dad and in the business world.
World Building/Characterizations 5
Overall 3.4 of 5 stars
Not a Favorite
Any additional comments?
This was so not part of the Mountain series. This story was just, I don't know...I didn't like it. And the cheating, I just couldn't get into or feel sorry for the characters. -shrugs-
Of course it was written well and the narration was fantastic but the story itself didn't have appeal for me.
- Glenn Johnson
Eh...not totally horrible
What did you like best about Return to the Mountain? What did you like least?
I really liked the writing style of the author. But I failed to connect to the main character. Just wanting to be rich is hardship enough to do that? Lol I didn't find sympathy for the character. This also had very little to do with previous books in the Mountain series.
What does Finn Sterling bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He's an amazing actor and honestly makes me forget that I'm hearing the same person through the entire story.
Was Return to the Mountain worth the listening time?
Yes because it is part of a series I was already quite fond of.