Dear Mountain Mama,

I’m headed to the beach this weekend and looking forward to some down time to read.

Can you recommend any great new books?



Dear Bookworm,

Some books transport you to another place. Others change the way you think about the world. UNTAMED: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island delivers on both fronts.

Will Harlan (editor of Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine for the last 14 years) writes about Georgia’s biggest barrier island in a way that the reader comes to know Cumberland Island as a character with its own larger-than-life personality. The tides become the island’s pulse; the turtles, boars, ponies, and deer the island’s spirit. And carol-untamed-will-harlanCarol Ruckdeschel is the island’s bold voice.

Carol, a long-time island resident, is dubbed the wildest woman in America. Carol eats roadkill, lives off the land, and dissects sea turtles. Even without a college degree, Carol became one of the top turtle biologists by staying up all night to track and observe the island’s sea turtles.

Carol struggled to find her place in the world, and once she discovered Cumberland Island, she’s devoted her life to protecting all that’s wild and natural there. But Carol’s an unlikely heroine in many ways who’s made her fair share of mistakes. Instead of brushing over her faults, Will Harlan depicts her as human and relatable.

Will’s humble and unassuming voice assures readers that we’re not boxed in by what we’ve gotten wrong. And it is Carol’s humanity that will ultimately allows readers the same hope the changing tides have given her – the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and recreate the way we live.

UNTAMED gives readers the chance to reach for a place that’s worth becoming passionate about, reminding us that preserving wilderness is essential to protecting ourselves and how we relate with the natural world.

Bookworm, happy beach reading!

Mountain Mama