It gets cold in the mountains. If you’re poor and tubercular, like Alice Devlin, it gets even colder. Alice journeys to the Adirondack Mountains in 1925 to take the famous cure for tuberculosis. She sits on a porch in a “cure cottage” with her fellow patients and prays for her health to return as the snow piles up around them. Meanwhile, her husband Joe must find a way to pay for her treatment, the costs of which quickly exceed his mechanic’s salary. Inevitably, he turns to rum-running, making covert deliveries of alcohol from Canada to Lake Placid in defiance of Prohibition to cover the costs. Mountain Shadows is marketed as a love story, but the real dramatic tension comes from the race against time. The cure can take years, and Joe is certain to get caught. Can he keep going long enough for Alice to get better?
Patricia Reiss Brooks has a real zeal for her subject matter. The book is rich in period detail concerning the Adirondack region in general, and the industry that grew up around tuberculosis cures in particular. The writing is a little clumsy, and the love story a little mawkish, but readers will root for the plucky couple and the cast of characters they meet along the way.