The Gulch Jumpers

Fiction - Womens
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 12/05/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Donna Parrey for Readers' Favorite

A book that gives you characters you care about, worry about, and celebrate with is one that knows how to pull its readers in. The Gulch Jumpers by Catherine Pomeroy is such a book. Our heroine, Ellie, is a competent lawyer who throws herself into work projects to avoid the painful place her mind dwells on when she’s not busy. The discovery of a mysterious box in the back of a closet shelf launches her on a quest to discover its owner that takes on epic proportions. Ray, an elderly homeless man, and Brandy, an old friend of Ellie’s who has fallen on hard times, bring their lives into the story as well, as they embark on a journey through the deep South. The book is a quick read divided into three logical parts, but readers may not want to put it down.

The Gulch Jumpers has a strong storyline that explores contemporary issues without being preachy – issues such as past racial injustices, the effects of drug addiction, and the grief of losing loved ones. Author Catherine Pomeroy is adept at using prose to expand on feelings when written dialogue can’t possibly match the internal dialogue a character is experiencing. “Conversation begins. It is halting, tentative, and awkward at first, like a square boulder rolling clumsily down a slope, but then it picks up steam and starts hurtling, out of control…” Pomeroy’s description of Ray’s thoughts over four pages at the book’s climax is simultaneously heartrending and joyful. With blue-grass music at its soul, The Gulch Jumpers is a lyrical masterpiece that readers will not soon forget.

K.C. Finn

The Gulch Jumpers is a work of fiction in the women’s literature genre. It is suitable for the adult reading audience and was penned by author Catherine Pomeroy. The book follows Ellie, a young lawyer who discovers a box of song lyrics and tracks down their writer; an old musician living on the street named Ray. Ray’s life was torn apart by a tragedy that stopped him and his band, The Gulch Jumpers, from finding success, but now with Ellie's help, the two embark on a cross-country trip accompanied by recovering addict Brandy in order to fix what was broken for all of them.

Road trips are a hugely engaging type of story, and Catherine Pomeroy doesn’t waste an ounce of potential in this heartfelt and compelling tale of three people each seeking to heal from the various wounds life has given them. Whilst missing an actual soundtrack, the bluegrass influences in Ray’s story can be felt throughout and I found myself browsing my music collection to look for tunes that Ray and his band made me nostalgic for. Each of the characters in The Gulch Jumpers feels very grounded both in the emotional toll life has taken on them and in their determination to find a way through the pain. The way their stories intersect and their rapport develops is simply stunning storytelling, and through their three strands, a beautiful tapestry is woven throughout the pages of the book. These elements all work together to make the serious themes of the book all the more vivid, opening the floor to explore the issues of racial discrimination, grief, and addiction.

Pikasho Deka

The Gulch Jumpers is a slice-of-life drama novel written by Catherine Pomeroy. Trapped in her own home during a powerful blizzard, Ellie Sanders, an attorney, finds an old shoebox full of song lyrics and drawings in the closet. While gifting her old belongings to the Mission of Hope, a homeless shelter, she meets the man responsible for writing those lyrics, Ray Jones. A former member of a bluegrass band, Ray relates his story about how he lost his way after tragically losing his wife and daughter, Sally, fifty years ago. Ellie and Ray soon form a burgeoning friendship, and she vows to help Ray recover his spirit by finding his lost daughter. Accompanied by Ellie's old friend, Brandy, a drug addict, the three embark on a journey across the crossroads of Appalachia.

Full of charm, heart, and humor, The Gulch Jumper is an absolute joy to read. There is something about self-discovery journeys that makes you feel warm and nostalgic, and Catherine Pomeroy's beautifully crafted tale does that in spades. The characters feel like people who exist in the real world, and you can't help but care for them. While trying to help Ray find his lost daughter, Ellie discovers her own shortcomings and is forced to confront her traumatic past. The dynamic between Ellie, Ray, and Brandy acts as the bedrock of the narrative. Ellie and Brandy's constant bickering and conflict make for a lot of entertaining moments. If you enjoy well-written slice-of-life stories, you'll find The Gulch Jumpers a rewarding reading experience.