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The Frost and the Belle

Mark Christopher Mathis

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ISBN 10: 1519795785 / ISBN 13: 9781519795786
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Frost and the Belle

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: 2015

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: Good

Edition: First - may be Reissue.

About this title

Synopsis:

James, along with his brother Rob, teenage son Amble, and dog Belle are heading into the Sierra Nevada mountains to hunt White Tail Deer. When the horrors of nature come crashing down upon them, James will have to decide how far will one father go to keep his child alive.

Review:

A chilling story about a family struggling to survive in the frozen mountains--and to overcome the challenges of their pasts.  Reviewed by Robin Farrell Edmunds February 11, 2016  Foreword Clarion Reviews
Mark Mathis's The Frost and the Belle is a sobering story, replete with chilling truths, about a family's struggle to survive the elements.
Hoping to bond with his estranged older brother and to share some quality time with his own twelve-year-old autistic child, James McAllister reluctantly agrees to a five-day hunting trip in the Sierra Nevada, but the trip goes dreadfully wrong.
At almost forty, James is a divorcé and the father of two children. He is also dealing with the sudden death of his mother. He is reunited with his older brother, Rob, at her funeral. The narrative comes via James's diary entries and begins midway through the action, with flashbacks fleshing out these previous events. This diary device is used to mark time throughout the book, with the exception of a few chapters focusing on James's youth and marriage.
James's son, Amble, and his service dog, Belle, are along on the ill-fated trip. James is portrayed as being a good father, and his main concern is always Amble's welfare. Rob, a big bear of a man, works to make amends with the family he walked out on years earlier. Much of the backstory focuses on the McAllister brothers' dysfunctional childhood, on their opposing reactions to their Uncle Shaw, and on James examining his ten-year marriage to Lee and how having a special-needs child affected their relationship. These characters dig deep, and there is much to appreciate about these backstories, despite a devastating and almost unbelievable conclusion.
Dialogue reads as authentic, especially the interactions between the two brothers and between father and son. When hunter and woodsman Rob explains in detail that a dead deer was probably attacked by a wild animal, James chuckles, "A little In The Woods CSI huh brother?"
The characters are also imbued with very real and identifiable human emotions. At one point in the cabin, James riffs sardonically: "My thoughts turned to Lee and I wondered what she would be doing if she were here with us now. She'd likely be praying. Praying in between slapping me around for getting all of us in this situation to begin with."
Adult topics and language abound; neither brother is averse to swearing. There are numerous descriptions of blood and gore, and hunger is viscerally detailed in the frozen terrain of the Sierra. This book is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. 

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