Invitation to a Hanging | Critical Book Review

Invitation to a Hanging invites readers into the dwindling days of Mondak, Montana, portraying it not just as a setting but almost as a character. Once a symbol of boundless potential, this frontier boom town now stands as a decaying reminder of its former glory.


A Naive Pursuit of Romance

As the story unfolds, we follow Adam, a young man navigating the impoverished remnants of Mondak. His journey is intertwined with the lives of his parents, Alta and Stanley, whose pursuit of forbidden love shapes the narrative. Alta, a naive and idealistic lady, becomes ensnared in a town drowning in inebriation, violence, and crime.


The Poisoned Core

Mondak is more than a backdrop; it’s a tainted character itself. The cruelty and greed of town bosses permeate every facet of life, treating everyone as expendable commodities. The town, originally positioned for success, becomes a ghost town doomed from its foundation, relying on the darker aspects of human nature.


Unveiling Complex Characters

Alta and Stanley, though seemingly familiar archetypes, are given depth by the author. Alta, both sympathetic and flawed, finds solace in the camaraderie of other town women. Stanley remains an enigma, leaving readers questioning his motives and desires.


Dark Subject, Artful Execution

Despite its dark themes, Invitation to a Hanging avoids sinking into despair. The author skillfully navigates difficult subjects with eloquent prose, infusing the narrative with unexpected moments of levity, humor, grace, and love.


Evoking the Wild West Atmosphere

The author successfully transports readers to the Wild West, capturing the era’s essence. The narrative weaves in elements of impending war, the impact of expanding railways, and the ongoing mistreatment of displaced indigenous people.


The Diary’s Convenient Discovery

While some readers might find the plot’s foundation—a coincidental discovery of a diary—somewhat stretched, others argue that it aligns with the story’s internal logic. Adam stumbles upon it while retracing his father’s footsteps, providing a sense of continuity within the tale.


Conclusion: A Portrait of Self-Determination

Invitation to a Hanging masterfully paints a portrait of self-discovery in the face of adversity. The characters embody quiet persistence against greed and malevolence, presenting a narrative that explores when to fight and when to walk away.

Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN

PublisherGenrePrint LengthISBN
Atmosphere PressHistorical Fiction318 pages978-1639887262

Invitation to a Hanging invites readers into the dwindling days of Mondak, Montana, portraying it not just as a setting but almost as a character. Once a symbol of boundless potential, this frontier boom town now stands as a decaying reminder of its former glory. A Naive Pursuit of Romance As the story unfolds, we…