Hope's Highest Mountain (Hearts of Montana, # 1)
By: Misty M. Beller
Publication: October 1st 2019 by Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she's hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.
Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he's forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.
Micah can't help but admire Ingrid's tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine--with or without his help--he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.
Hope's Highest Mountain was a quick read for me. It didn't take long for the beginning events to set up what was to come. Ingrid was involved in a wagon accident that resulted in her having a broken leg and rib and losing all of the other occupants of the wagon. Thankfully, Micah came upon the accident and was able to save Ingrid's life.
I expected more of the book to focus on Ingrid and Micah being alone together while she healed from her injuries before continuing the original mission of carrying the smallpox vaccines to a village in Montana. But Ingrid was passionate and determined to continue the journey as quickly as possible so that her father, her maid, and the wagon's driver didn't all die in vain. Micah has a history with the smallpox virus as he lost his wife and daughter to it five years prior. To be able to prevent others from suffering the way that they did is what motivates him to help Ingrid on her journey.
For the first part of their journey, Micah and Ingrid travel alone, but along the way, they run into a mother and son in need. Joanna and Sam really round out the story. I felt for Sam as he's about 4 (I believe) which is the age of my daughter. Traveling isn't very fun for a toddler with a lot of energy. I smiled at all of his interactions because he reminded me of my kids. I love how he was more aware than I think people give kids credit for a lot of times. I also related to Joanna as his mother. She's doing the best she can to survive and protect her son.
I loved the slow build between Micah and Ingrid. They were thrust into a team to accomplish a mission. They needed to lean on each other--granted Ingrid did a bit more leaning physically. Yet she provided a lot of emotional and spiritual strength for Micah. Ingrid was easy to love. She was so strong through all that she endured, both physically and emotionally. And their journey was not an easy one. It was packed with life-threatening situation after situation. Micah had a lot of emotional baggage to work through, but I was impressed with his choices and strength of character.
Hope's Highest Mountain was better than I expected. I enjoyed learning a little more about the smallpox virus and at the risk of incurring the wrath of the anti-vaxers, I'm so thankful for vaccines that ensure my own children don't face this illness. Ingrid and Micah both went through so much and I love to read about strong characters that overcome. And I can't wait to read more about Joanna and Samuel (potentially) as the series continues.Hope's Highest Mountain gets 4 Stars. Have you read Hope's Highest Mountain? What did you think? Let me know!