1950s Montreal. A young woman from a working class, Catholic-Jewish family blindly falls in love with a handsome, wealthy, Jewish orthodox man. The courtship is a romantic dream, but class, religion and family secrets test their love, leading to a shocking, life-changing revelation.
“A bittersweet story of love and loss set in one of the most colorful cities on the planet in its film-noirish heyday.” – Peter Behrens, author of Law of Dreams and The O’Briens
Book Review – Echo from Mount Royal by Dave Riese
July 29, 2015
“I had discovered the secret of existence.
One cannot escape life.
Whatever happens, one must endure”
-Rebeca, Echo from Mount Royal
Echo from Mount Royal by Dave Riese is a sweeping saga about young Rebecca who finds herself head over heels in love with Sol, a boy from a wealthy family. Told from the perspective of a much older 81-year-old Rebecca, she recalls, in vivid detail, the year 1951, when she was only 18 years old and falling in love for the first time. She’s a bright college student living with her family in Montreal, Canada when her path crosses Sol. Not a typical romance because once they try to get to know each other as a couple, their own respective backgrounds and family secrets begin to surface, threatening to tear them apart. Firmly believing that love is more than enough to overcome any of the issues that they face, her tale is a reminder of the exhilarating joy first love can bring, and the deep scars it can leave behind. This story is full of great discussion topics such as first love, religion and social class, which is why it makes for an ideal read for a Book Club. Echo_From_Mount_Royal
Rebecca is a very likable character. Even though she is very headstrong, she’s very naïve to think that love is more than enough to conquer all complex issues such as class and religion. Despite all the roadblocks that she’s faced in her quest to remain with Sol, she fights hard and passionately in the love that she believes she deserves. From the opening pages, I was hooked on her narrative. Generally, I’m not a fan of prologues, but this prologue was executed perfectly in the sense that it made me hungry for the story. The tale begins in 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts and 81 year old Rebecca reaches back into her memory to conjure up the Montreal she knew in 1951. Rich in details, and vivid descriptions to bring many different scenes to life.
The story gives just enough backstory on her family so that the characters leap from the page during each scene. This aspect is key, because the story deals with many class issues, and having intimate knowledge about Rebecca’s middle-class family is vital for when she is introduced into Sol’s world of wealth and upper-class privilege. The author does a very good job at showing the readers how Rebecca struggles to try and find a place into Sol’s world. For example, when both of them are dining at a fancy restaurant, Rebecca comments that she felt like she’d “sneaked into a theatre without paying.”
Sol is a very complicated character, from the very beginning as a reader, you find that there is something very mysterious about him. He is mistrusting and has a very complicated relationship with his family. When terrifying family secrets come to the surface, Rebecca tries her hardest to make him believe that her love and support is all he needs.
“Echo from Mount Royal” is mostly a tale about a young girl maturing and recognizing the kind of love she really deserves, versus a boy meets girl type of tale. Full of vivid descriptions, crisp dialogue and a headstrong female protagonist at its center, this book left me emotionally exhausted but equally sad to see it end.
“A Gripping Story of Romance”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Rhoada Wald
This novel is an authentic and gripping story of the hope and death of romance in the 1950’s when the sexual mores were completely different from
modern life. A young girl is thrilled with this new romance but also often confused by the young man’s family and his response to their demands. The dialogue is realistic and the settings are so visual that I often felt I was there too. This narrative has a tone of suspense and it is difficult to put the book down. There is a complex and poignant quality to the writing style that keeps the story alive long after the book is finished.
About the Author
Born in 1946, Dave Riese grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, graduating from Arlington High School in 1964. He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, majoring in English literature. During his junior year, he studied English Literature at Oxford University. For his thesis, he wrote essays, poems and short stories about his travels in Europe.
After graduating in 1968, Riese enlisted in the Air Force one step ahead of his draft board’s invitation to join the army.
Discharged from the military in 1972, he attended Boston University on the GI Bill for a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. The following summer he was hired by the University of New Hampshire to script and film videotapes about government social programs.
His videotape grant ran out in 1976, but, luckily, Riese was hired by an insurance company’s IT department. Despite no computer experience, he later learned he was hired for his writing and communications background. During this period he attended night school to earn his MBA. In his ‘spare time,’ he began writing short stories and a novel.
He and his wife moved north of Boston in 1974. Their daughter lives in Ireland with her husband. Their son and his wife are both pediatricians working in Rhode Island. They have four grandchildren.
He retired after 35 years in the information technology industry in 2012. Since then, he writes 3 – 4 hours a day, usually in a local coffee shop. Although now that his book is published more than half of his time is spent on marketing activities.