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Across the Blue Ridge Mountains by M.S. Marangione

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This novel is set in the early twentieth century in Elkton, Virginia, the closest town in the Shenandoah Valley to Shenandoah National Park, and on Hightop Mountain. That is where the protagonist, Mary Dodson, was forced to abandon her home when over a thousand families were evicted to convert traditional homesteads into a Park for tourists to enjoy. This book portrays the dramatic class chauvinism that resulted in some of those evicted being sterilized as unfit by professionals believing in eugenics.  "An ambitious, important, and beautifully written first novel by a gifted new writer. Maggie Marangione deeply knows the Virginia mountain towns she writes of and the hard lives within. In Mary Dodson, she has created a clear voiced, brave, and unforgettable heroine equal to the myriad challenges she faces. I read this book in blazing gulps, and thought about it for days after I finished the last page"-Tom Barbash. "Across the Blue Ridge Mountains paints a picture of the life and times in the Blue Ridge Mountains just before the coming of Shenandoah National Park like no other book I've read. It transports me there with accurate details in an immersive saga."-Sue Eisenfeld. The author, M. S. Marangione, left her life as an intelligence analyst to move to the Shenandoah Valley and become a professor at Blue Ridge Community College.

 Abbeville, South Carolina: Moonshine Cove Publishing, 2022. 418 pages. Trade paperback.