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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Rebecca Monhollon’s Mischief on the Mountain is a story set late in the nineteenth century on a homestead in Tennessee in the shadow of what the locals called the Smoky Mountains, though the name was still unofficial until 1934. A mixture of history, pathos and comedy, it features eleven-year-old Lucy Watkins and her cousin Macy who is two years older. They are together because their fathers are brothers and their grandmother is dying. There are chores to be done, but that does not stop Macy leading Lucy into mischief, some of it dangerously risky.
Mischief on the Mountain by Rebecca Monhollon is like two stories in one, intermingling and merging. It rolls back to a simpler time before modern technology, and paints a vivid picture of the way life was lived, a life of of self-sufficiency. A cow was kept for milk, hens for eggs, and to eat, and everything that would grow was grown, harvested, and stored. Children made their own fun, and Lucy and Macy make more than most in a beautifully written story that often had me in fits of laughter.
Macy’s idea of teaching Lucy and others to swim was to throw them into an icy stream… and so it goes on. A Christmas tree brought home and decorated Macy-style was not appreciated, but even being “whooped” on the legs with a switch didn’t stop the mischief, though a different punishment bore fruit when the two girls saved a life and made a new friend with a tragic past. Ms Monhollon uses phonetic speech a good deal of the time; it’s effective and amazingly easy to read. Mischief on the Mountain is a fascinating book that will appeal to readers of any age.