There are four main characters in this novel; Emily and Nate from 1867, and Hope and Cal from present day. The way the author weaves back and forth between these two stories is remarkable. I cared equally for each relationship and never found a dull moment in either adventure. The parallels between the two couples also is enough that they feel genuinely connected through time, but not too much making it trite. Though it is clear how much has changed since 1867, Hope for instance being expressly concerned about access to Wi-Fi, the elements and decisions the people face as humans are still very much the same. Inglis showcases this beautifully not only across time, but also between the four lead characters and their Native American friends. Ultimately, the point is that despite a few details, we really are all one, regardless of age, race, or nationality.
The fifth most important character in this book is Montana itself. Inglis pays special attention to showcasing the often underappreciated state as a unique place, still considering it “The real Wild West.” Though Inglis paints it accurately, detailing the hardships of living there both then and now, it is still laced with a certain form of idealism. While I personally am more drawn to big cities, I could not help wanting to strip down to the simplicity of life there. Also, the call of reconnecting with nature is so strong in this book. Nate and Cal have such a dynamic relationship with the animals of the plains and the land where they can get their own food and water, to which Emily and Hope slowly start to acclimate. In other words, Inglis makes this way of life seem desirable, so much so that I too wanted to ride horses and bathe out in the river.
Overall, Crow Mountain has tons of charisma. It is nostalgic, tragic, wonderful, and everything in between. It has great cinematic potential as Inglis has crafted vivid imagery, not to mention an amazing story. I sincerely fell in love with this book and appreciate the message it sets forth: Live your life by your standards.