Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes

Posted June 15, 2024 by meezcarrie in 5 stars, Amanda Dykes, Book Review, Christian, giveaway, historical / 52 Comments


Born of Gilded Mountains book review

Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda DykesBORN OF GILDED MOUNTAINS by Amanda Dykes
GENRE: Historical/Friendship Fiction (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2024
PAGES: 384

A lost treasure. A riddled quest. The healing power of friendship.

Legends are tucked into every fold of the Colorado mountains surrounding the quaint town of Mercy Peak, where residents are the stuff of tall tales, the peaks are taller still, and a lost treasure has etched mystery into the very terrain.

In 1948, when outsider Mercy Windsor arrives after a scandal shatters her gilded world as Hollywood’s beloved leading lady, she is determined to forge a new life in obscurity in this time-forgotten Colorado haven. She purchases Wildwood, an abandoned estate with a haunting history, and begins to restore it to its former glory.

But as she does, her every move tugs at the threads of the mountain’s lore, unearthing what became of her long-lost pen pal Rusty Bright, and the whereabouts of the infamous Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8, which vanished years ago–along with the mailbag it carried, whose contents could change the course of countless lives. Not to mention the fabled treasure that–if found–could right so many wrongs.

Among the towering mountains that stand as silent witnesses, the ghosts of the past entangle with the courage of the present to find a place where healing, friendship, and hope can abide amid a world forever changed.


“There is certainly nothing simple about mercy. I come to believe more and more that mercy is the most scandalous scandal of all… and I am a grateful recipient of that gift.”

Once again, I sit at the end of a gorgeously written, deeply layered, and emotionally moving novel by Amanda Dykes, and once again I am at a complete loss as to how I can possibly convey to you how special this novel is. It’s very tempting to simply say, “Go read the first two paragraphs of my review of All the Lost Places and apply them here, to Born of Gilded Mountains.” And in fact that’s a great idea. This book too is ” truly exquisite” and “perfect and messy and intricate and just so beautiful”, it too “stirred my heart unlike few books I’ve read”, and author Amanda Dykes can indeed “spin gold out of words”. But it’s still not enough to do this book justice.

“We find ourselves in shadowed spots… we share the light. It’s what we do, you and me.”

I thought I knew what was in store for me as far as the plot – friendship fiction at its best. And it IS. Rusty and Marybeth’s friendship captured my heart from their first letters as pen pals and continued to guide me through a range of emotions, lots of grinning, and a few tears as their story continues into the present day. Not the way they intended in those long ago letters, but nonetheless an enduring sisterhood that not even grief can extinguish. And there, dear readers, lies the exquisite beauty in Born of Gilded Mountains: the complex simplicity of a life that doesn’t go the way we dreamed but can still be full and abundant… if we let God redeem it. Because this theme doesn’t stop with Rusty and Marybeth; it extends to the townspeople of Mercy Peak as well – Willa. Casey. Hudson. Reuben. Priscilla. and every one still waiting for the missing Galloping Goose Railcar No. 8 to be found. The tenderness with which this theme is woven throughout the novel touched my heart deeply, and its message of hope surprised me with joy.

“I sometimes think, when our dreams seem impossible to us, perhaps we just haven’t seen yet how God will chase after our hearts with those very dreams, in the unlikeliest ways.”

Bottom Line: Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes is a richly written story of best friends, hidden treasure, lost loves, wounded dreams, and found family. It’s a tale of adventure, mystery, and faith with a dash of romance and Old Hollywood to give it an almost fairy tale feeling in the midst of disappointed realities. This contrast moved me on more than one occasion, as did the layered characters who came alive on the pages and leaped into my heart. Oh the characters! Each of the main and supporting players positively delighted me and touched me, and I am already longing to spend more time in their presence. I loved the way Dykes peppered the narrative with articles, interviews, telegrams, screenplays, and of course letters. So many little details, crafted with perfection and tenderness, make this a story you can sink your heart into, one that will stay with you long after you’ve savored the last word… and leave you different than you were when you read the first.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / truly in a class by itself

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Amanda Dykes

Amanda Dykes‘s debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, is the winner of the prestigious 2020 Christy Award Book of the Year, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, and the winner of an INSPY Award. She’s also the author of Christy Award-finalists All the Lost Places, Yours Is the Night, and Set the Stars Alight. Find her online at AmandaDykes.com.

Other Featured Books by Amanda Dykes

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes   


Born of Gilded Mountains giveaway

Bethany House is offering a print copy of Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes?

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52 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes

  1. Suzanne Sellner

    I’ve ordered this book and can’t wait to read it! Everything Amanda Dykes writes is outstanding!

  2. Anne

    A captivating and fascinating historical which is a real treasure. Love the era and the setting. Wonderful author.

  3. Roxanne C.

    This book sounds amazing, and one focusing on best friends, instead of romance, certainly stirs my interest.

  4. Paula Shreckhise

    Absolutely in a class by itself! I concur with your fabulous review. Amanda is one of my very favorite authors. This book is so good it is hard for me to write a decent review.

  5. Winnie Thomas

    I love Amanda’s books–so deep and meaningful! I just want to savor each word. I often stop and reread sentences and paragraphs! Lovely review, my dear BFFC!

  6. Carol Wilson

    I can’t wait to read this novel. Amanda Dykes stories are spun with such extraordinary creativity. The words aren’t just words; they’re layers upon layers of beauty and meaning.

  7. Regina

    This book has such a beautiful cover! I’ve never read any of Amanda’s books, but it’s clear after reading this wonderful review that I’m missing out. I’m definitely adding this to my growing TBR! 😊📚

    • Donna Irvin

      If the book is as beautiful as your review Meez Carrie, why wouldn’t I want to read it!

  8. I love Amanda Dykes’ novels. They’re those rare treats where I need to read slowly and pace myself because I really don’t want the story to end (even though I want to see how it unfolds, of course!). Kind of like the best meal or dessert where you want to savour every bite.

  9. Christy Maurer

    The first Amanda Dykes book that I read was All the Lost Places, and it blew me away! I love her writing, and I’m sure I’ll love this one too!

  10. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Born of Gilded Mountains” by Amanda Dykes. Lovely cover and a story that sounds absolutely magnificent has this book on my TBR list. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read and review it.

  11. Sandy Avery

    I have my copy and can’t wait to read it this week. I’ve read and loved all of her books!

  12. Paty Hinojosa

    Sounds amazing! I haven’t read Amanda Dykes yet, but by all I’ve heard about her books, she’s awesome! I’ll have to read this soon. Thanks for the chance!

  13. Nancy

    I would like to read Born of Gilded Mountains by Amanda Dykes because it sounds like a book with unique additions of different types of text.

    • Jay Gummer

      I added this book to my re-read list after watching a booktuber mention it in one of her videos. Now that I see it mentioned again from a reputable blogger such as yourself, I know that I made the right decision.

  14. Perrianne Askew

    I don’t think you can ever go wrong with an Amanda Dykes novel! She’s also a Christy award winner, which is always a special treat. They’re always lyrical and a little mysterious. Sometimes it feels like a long journey. I’ll never turn down one of her novels!

  15. Sarah Evankovich

    Amanda Dykes is a new to me author, but all I’ve heard are good things & I’d like to try reading one of her books & seeing what I think.

  16. Colleen Hudson

    This sounds like a really good book, and I’ve been enjoying what I’ve read by Amanda Dykes.

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