Novel is pert-near perfect. One slight complaint I got is that some parts is a mite hard to read. Made my head spun, they done did. Cruise willin' and the creek don't rise, I might give 'er another read one day. See what alls I might of misunderstood cuz it's writ all broke-like.
Writing that first paragraph hurt my heart and soul. I cannot fathom writing an entire novel like Beth Lewis wrote The Wolf Road. I once wrote a story called "Smitten" in this style, and to this day, I want to go back and rewrite it. In both my story and Lewis's novel, the first-person hick-speak is warranted, but Tom Cruise wept, it's hard to read at times. I honestly would've given this five stars if I hadn't needed to reread entire paragraphs to figure out what the silly-fuck Elka was saying.
Halfway through this novel it changes from The Road meets True Gritto The Revenant meets Calamity Jane. I liked the first mash up better. Now, now, brown cow, I dig the fuck outta Doris Day and her goofy little western, but I wasn't expecting the shift. It was a wee bit jarring. For 40% of the book I was left waiting for the story to switch back to the awesomesauce that was the first 50%. Lewis finally brought everything home in terrific fashion, but that doesn't change the fact that she had me worried for almost half the run time. I actually look forward to rereading the novel just because I know what's coming now and I can sit back and enjoy the book for what it is instead of what I expected it to be.
The ending is both emotionally powerful and fantastically written. I was hovering around three stars until the final pages. The novel paid off and left me wanting flip back to page one and start all over again the minute I flipped the final page. Can't say that about many books.
In summation: While the narrative style can be difficult to read at times and forced me to slow down or to reread certain sections, I loved the characters and the chances the author took. Elka was far from perfect, and the Country Mouse/City Mouse interactions in the middle were fun, if a little unexpected and jarring. But that's kinda my fault. I expected one tone throughout, and I got about three different tones. Not necessarily a bad thing. Just unexpected.
Final Judgment: Finger lickin' good.