Little, Brown; Jan 2001; 23.95; 352 pp.
Although neither child realized it, an iron bear would intertwine their fates. In Brooklyn, Quentin Riconni's father made the bear while Ursula Powell's dad bought the icon from the University of Mountain State in Tiberville. Both children watched with unforgiving eyes as their fathers selfishly took advantage of their mothers. Mr. Riconni wanted to be recognized as an artist so badly that he moved away from his family, leaving mother and son to cope with poverty. Ursula's dad purchased the iron bear while his spouse was pregnant. The money could have been used for the bare necessities of life.
Neither Quentin nor Ursula forgave their father, both of who are now dead. Quentin learns that the sculpture resides at the Powell home on Bear Mountain. He travels there to buy the ironwork at a market value of two million dollars; Ursula rejects the offer because her autistic brother clicks with the bear. Quentin tries every business trick he knows to change Ursula's mind, even as his attraction for her grows.
Readers of the novels of Anne River Seddons will welcome into their hearts Deborah Smith, a fantastic author whose Southern voice will win her many loyal fans. This novel is lush, descriptive, slow moving, but easy to savor. The secondary characters provide local color that makes it worth reading. ON BEAR MOUNTAIN is a novel for those who enjoy a taste of the south and the romance therein.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner