The three novels comprising Faraway Hill is a very modern re-imagining of network television’s first soap opera, “Faraway Hill,” which aired on the DuMont Television Network for three months in 1946. 

Author James A. Richards begins the trilogy with the same premise as the TV series: wealthy widow Karen St. John returning to her hometown of Faraway Hill, New Hampshire. However, he has crafted completely new, very 21st century stories that no one with the TV series could have conceived. 

Richards has introduced LGBT elements into the saga allowing him to broaden the scope. This includes a bisexual love triangle, a male prostitute that services clients of both genders and a transsexual. It also has several explicitly erotic scenes. 

In addition, Karen St. John is now a very different protagonist. The saga is also more of an ensemble tale. 

Out of respect to the trilogy’s unique television heritage, each chapter is labeled an “episode” and ends in a cliffhanger, revelation or climax. There are multiple, intertwined stories throughout. The first two installments each end with a cliffhanger that is resolved in the successive book (much the same way a prime time TV soap ends its seasons). 

Unlike the darker, deeper writing style of Richards’ acclaimed debut novel, Summer Club, Faraway Hill is written in a simpler, more direct style not unlike the way stories are written for a television series. 

The result is a fun, engaging and enjoyable guilty pleasure.