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Book Reviews

M. Stevens-David Book Review: "How Blue are the Ridges" by Ken Ollis
By M. Stevens-David
Dec 1, 2013 - 12:07:16 AM

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I received a novel written by Ken Ollis for review. As the publicity material points out, it tells the story of a town's survival during the Great Depression. The book is described as a historical fiction and is titled: "How Blue Are the Ridges." The story recalls the depression era and the people who lived their lives around the illegal alcohol trade in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

According to Mr. Ollis, "People often think mountain life is simple and tame. In fact we have a turbulent history with a striking story, and that's what I want people to see. I was a child of the great depression. I witnessed a high degree of trauma and hard times in my home region at that point, but have remained amongst the Blue Ridges for over 40 years."

I was very excited to receive this book and looked forward to reading it. It is a very comprehensive tome detailing a family's close interaction with the whiskey "bootleg" industry and the "mafia" interaction in the south during the great depression in the United States.

I liked the kindness and love of family depicted in the story and I liked the lack of profanity that generally goes along with such tales of this kind.

What I found off putting about the story was the somewhat cavalier way of handling and planning murders and all the repetitive "wordiness" that made this 500 plus page book difficult to finish reading.

Would I recommend it to others? Sadly, No.

M. Stevens-David - Magic City Morning Star Reviewer
Magic City Column

"How Blue are the Ridges"
By: Ken Ollis
ISBN: 978-1-4759-9154-3
Retail price: $30.95
Available at and

About the author

Ken Ollis spent much of his life traveling abroad and has lived all over the U.S., but he was always drawn back to the Blue Ridge Mountains. He settled on Gingercake Mountain with his wife Jackie to build a life and now has two sons, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He also wrote a collection of poems, "Seasons of Poetry."

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