Jessie's Mountain
Kerry Madden
Viking, 2008

Jessie's Mountain


Madden brings the struggling yet loving Weems family refreshingly to life in her third story in the Maggie Valley trilogy following Gentle’s Holler (2005) and Louisiana’s Song (2007). Set in North Carolina ’s Smoky Mountains in 1964, almost-13-year-old Livy Two, one of ten children, again provides a poignant and spirited lens through which events unfold and a lot of growing up occurs. Determined as ever to help support her family so they can stay in their beloved holler, Livy Two, a gifted songwriter, singer and guitar player, runs off to Nashville to audition for Mr. George Flowers of Music Row. But her ten-year-old sister follows, nothing goes as expected and their abrupt disappearance affects everyone she cares for deeply. “A brave girl—full of heart," she is sometimes torn about secretly reading her mother’s girlhood diary from the ’40s, uncharacteristically given to her by Grandma Horace. In part sparked by the entries and bird drawings, she hatches a plan that, with everyone working together, really does make a difference. A fitting end to the trilogy, Madden has created a heartwarming family story bursting with love and mountain music.

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