Since moving to D.C., I’ve learned a little bit about the geography of Virginia and West Virginia and how rugged it can be. This is where John Grisham’s 2014 novel, Gray Mountain, takes place.

Samantha Kofer is a law associate who works at a high-powered real estate firm in New York City. When the 2008 recession hits and she is furloughed, she faces the opportunity of interning at a nonprofit for a year with the possibility of coming back to work at the firm. The internship at a legal aid clinic brings her to the small Appalachian coal town of Brady, Virginia, far from the city life she is accustomed to. Although skeptical at first, she slowly begins to acclimate to country life and the diverse people and experiences it offers.

With Grisham’s lawyer background, he did a good job at explaining the legal processes and jargon that appear throughout the story. I liked that the story involved lawsuits in a small town, a change from most that take place in major cities like New York or Los Angeles. However, there were too many cases that he introduced that didn’t go anywhere. Also, I felt like the terrain of the coal mining took up the focus of the story rather than the characters themselves. Most of the pages are filled with descriptions of what the coal does to the environment and the negative effect it has on people. It’s essential to the plot, but it took too much focus of the story.

When it comes to reading this, I would recommend borrowing this book from the library.