Caddy Gary Richardson hungers for the lush life of the wealthy golfers he escorts around the course at Wapiti Creek. The contrast between his tiny trailer at the edge of a mountain town and the luxurious ski and golf resort is something he's learned to live with but not like. Gary wants the fancy condo and late-model car not just for himself but for his childhood friend turned lover, Seth Morgan. He'd settle for security for the two of them, but even that seems out of reach.
Seth is content with Gary and enough spare cash for greens fees at municipal golf courses. Going pro is beyond his means, even if he plays well enough to win on the championship resort courses. Gary would do anything to fulfill Seth's dreams, even things he'd rather keep to himself. When an unheard of opportunity knocks, Gary can answer or resign himself to living on tips from affluent tourists.
But Seth can't live with that answer when it means his trust has been betrayed. He has to let go and hope the man he loves will find his way home.
Any additional comments?
Gary and Seth are high school friends turned lovers. Gary had an exceptionally sucky childhood with an abusive father. Seth’s mom is wonderful but Seth is a bit “slow” and though he has a lot of natural golf talent he doesn’t quite have what it takes to go pro.
Gary sees the world and wants to experience all it has to offer in terms of luxuries and things he never had as a kid. He wants that for him AND Seth. Sometimes he’s even willing to do morally ambiguous things for opportunities to make things better for him and Seth.
Seth only ever wants to love Gary.
After high school Seth and Gary do various jobs (caddy, waiter, etc.) but Gary has those dreams of riches driving him. When some New Yorkers come to the mountain to golf and Gary overhears them talking business, he wants in.
The business “project” involves some more moral ambiguity, and moving to New York for a bit, but Gary classifies it all as getting a foot in the door and a leg up in business and since all he has ever wanted is to take care of himself and Seth, it feels “okay”, if not “good”.
Things do manage to take off for Gary (briefly) but the financial success is countered with romantic failure when Seth learns of what Gary has been doing to “help” things along.
Eventually Gary learns that money isn’t the answer to everything, that honesty and love are more important than financial success and that Seth is the most important thing of all.
This is quite different from the previous books in the series. There is still the attention to detail (Golf and Finance) that PD is so good at providing. There is still Wapiti Creek, the small mountain community we’ve seen before. There is still two boys in love.
However… in terms of “feels” this diverges from the path. In my opinion, Gary is really, really hard to like. I never felt good about how he handled his relationship with Seth. He was sorta like a big brother/parent at times and then sometimes like an adoring fan/boyfriend. I really, really didn’t like his justifications for cheating and the fact that all he could focus on was money. I think I understand WHY he felt that way and it was explained well, but I just never LIKED him as a result of his choices.
I really liked Seth and since I had a hard time with Gary I had a hard time rooting for them as a couple. Part of me hoped a new character would be introduced who was worthy of Seth.
Since the relationship between Seth and Gary is established early on, the slow burn is gone from the story.
Though Gary “redeems” himself by the end of the book, I still didn’t feel comfortable with his “turnaround” and so didn’t feel great about the longevity of them as a couple.
Overall, I would have to say this is a book in the series I’d skip, especially if infidelity is a trigger for you.
Finn Sterling did another great job with the narration, giving us a New York accent and growly old businessmen. My only complaint was that Gary’s voice seemed consistently pre-teen and that didn’t fit with his personality of a “do anything to move forward” kind of guy. I get that he’s got an “angelic” face, but his voice and tone could reflect the hard edges he earned at the hands of his dad and in the business world.
World Building/Characterizations 5
Overall 3.4 of 5 stars
Any additional comments?
This was so not part of the Mountain series. This story was just, I don't know...I didn't like it. And the cheating, I just couldn't get into or feel sorry for the characters. -shrugs-
Of course it was written well and the narration was fantastic but the story itself didn't have appeal for me.
What did you like best about Return to the Mountain? What did you like least?
I really liked the writing style of the author. But I failed to connect to the main character. Just wanting to be rich is hardship enough to do that? Lol I didn't find sympathy for the character. This also had very little to do with previous books in the Mountain series.
What does Finn Sterling bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He's an amazing actor and honestly makes me forget that I'm hearing the same person through the entire story.
Was Return to the Mountain worth the listening time?
Yes because it is part of a series I was already quite fond of.