The 14-book Mountain Women series brings to life the struggles, triumphs, friendships and loves of a group of women in a small West Virginia town in the early 1900s. But equally important are the men who are family, friends, and lovers. Though the stories have an abundance of disreputable men, there are just as many who are loved and admired. Here are a few of the best and most important.
Will Herff, an abused child befriended by May Rose, grows into an upright and helpful man, faithful, compassionate, and determined to build up his community. In character, he’s the person most like her. Will is a child in Book 1, The Girl on the Mountain, and an adult in book 2, Cold Comfort.
Charlie Herff, Will’s troubled younger brother, left home to be a cowboy and returned bearing the scars of his experiences. With his memories in fragments, he is prone to violent outbreaks and unable to relate to others. A loner who barely speaks to May Rose, he is nevertheless loyal and helpful. Charlie is a child in Book 1, The Girl on the Mountain. He is grown up in Book 3, Midwinter Sun.
Russell Long is May Rose’s scruffy and unsocial brother-in-law and a complex figure in her life. His unpredictable nature and rough exterior conceal a hidden depth of loyalty to May Rose and especially to Wanda, his niece. Russell first appears in Book 1, The Girl on the Mountain. He returns in Book 3, Midwinter Sun and other books in the series.
Barlow Townsend is the most important man in town when he first meets May Rose. Despite their age difference, he is secretly in love with her and tries to protect her, sometimes successfully but also at times with unfortunate results. Barlow first appears in Book 1, The Girl on the Mountain. He returns in Book 3, Midwinter Sun, and subsequent books.
If you’ve read these stories, I hope you’ll let me know if the images of the characters match your impressions.
To see what books you’ve read in the series, go to the Mountain Women Series page.