Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On South Mountain: The Dark Secrets Of The Goler Clan” as Want to Read:
On South Mountain: The Dark Secrets Of The Goler Clan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On South Mountain: The Dark Secrets Of The Goler Clan

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Imagine a lush green valley, dotted with prosperous farms and towns. It could be anywhere in North America—the Okanagan in B.C., the Niagara orchards of Ontario. In this case it happens to be the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. But on one hill, South Mountain, lives the a clan of impoverished, inbred hillbillies, ignored or shunned by the people in the valley below for tw ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 23rd 1998 by Penguin Group Canada (first published January 1st 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On South Mountain, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

sylvia kemp Max, I just finished this book and I would be happy to send it to you, free. Worth waiting for? Don't know, only you can answer that, it is…moreMax, I just finished this book and I would be happy to send it to you, free. Worth waiting for? Don't know, only you can answer that, it is disturbing. Anything about incest is bound to be disturbing. I would give it 3 stars, the history is worth it. Sylvia(less)
Mariah It's hard to find this book! I've searched libraries and book stores with no luck. I finally found it on Amazon and the cheapest I could find it was…moreIt's hard to find this book! I've searched libraries and book stores with no luck. I finally found it on Amazon and the cheapest I could find it was for 30.00 ( hardcover) Paperback, your looking at 70-80 dollars and the highest priced one I've seen was $142.00 I'd suggest amazon and go quickly because they only keep a few in stock(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 28, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults Only
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Emily Gratton
That’s the way it was on South Mountain
You took your medicine
You kept your families dark secrets
You gagged
You wept
You coiled
You survived

One day, in 1984, in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, 13 year old, Sandra Goler burst into tears in her classroom.
When questioned by her teacher Sandra’s response was that her father had been using her as a wife.

What emerges then are the dark secrets of The Goler Clan of Nova Scotia.
They are not easy to bear witness to.
Sandra is not the only victim.
All of th
George Ilsley
Dec 13, 2011 George Ilsley rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, crime
It is hard to enjoy a book with such a gruesome focus. Especially interesting to me since I grew up in the Valley, and went to school in Wolfville in the years just before these events came to light. I have to say I was struck at the division between the mountain and the valley described in the book, because, yes, I did not know these towns just a few miles away on the South Mountain. (On the other hand, I've been all over the North Mountain). The "Stile" also was completely unfamiliar, and I've ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Hanaa rated it it was ok
I'm still having a hard time rating this book. On one hand, the writing was awful and I didn't care for it at all, but on the other hand, the story of the *JUST* the Goler Clan was fascinating and terrifying.

I found the majority of this book to be a throwaway but the only reason why the authors kept in these irrelevant parts was because they likely didn't have enough information about the Goler's to have more than 100 pages. The throwaway parts contained the long, long history of South Mountain
Aug 19, 2012 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
bought this at the Bathurst Market, figured it would hold my attention....
Although the middle of the book is quite graphic because it includes the text from the trial, the book is a fascinating sociological study about regions, generations, and the isolation of families and culture that can happen in such close proximity.
Jul 01, 2014 Lester rated it really liked it
So very disturbing!!
I read this book many years ago and decided to read it again. Having read a fictional book (Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis) with the same 'theme'..a non fiction book brings life right into our faces!
Oh human..the things you do..the very most disturbing animal of the world we live in.
Jan 11, 2010 Mayday133 rated it it was amazing
This book is true and onpoint, saw the t.v. commentary of the actual girl along with the two authors' I now will write my own story that this book has come out. It still is happening today although this includes all the denials that come with it.
Karen Martin
Dec 08, 2015 Karen Martin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone over 16, social workers, lawyers, judges, child mental health workers.
Recommended to Karen by: Denise Zilahy
A good book on a very difficult subject. I found the first 75 or so pages a little tedious, as they went into much detail of the background and history of the Valley and the Mountain. The socioeconomic differences set the backstory of the generations of the Goler Clan and those who were less isolated, better schooled and better raised on the "good" side of the beautiful area known as the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.

It is worth slogging through the dry, factual, descriptive scene setting. Onc
Tracey Tobin
Jun 30, 2015 Tracey Tobin rated it really liked it
The first few chapters, while interesting history of the valley and mountain, were a bit difficult to get through for me personally because I wasn't concerned about things like how the mountain was formed and what geographic features dot the landscape. But then the real story began and I was engrossed, horrified, amazed. It's truly difficult to believe that in the very months that my parents were getting used to the little infant who was me, less than six hours drive away the Goler trials were t ...more
Morgan Rector
Jan 24, 2014 Morgan Rector rated it really liked it
Very, very disturbing. These stories of generational child abuse (in every form) has proven impossible to forget. The fact that those people lived the way they did is shocking and what is miraculous is that some survived to escape and tell their tale. Kudos to Donna Goler for her activism. She grew up in a veritable hell on Earth and it's a testament to her bravery and inner-strength that she is alive today and holding it together.
Apr 04, 2012 Tasha-Lynn rated it really liked it
I'm really not sure how to rate this book. How DO you rate a story like this that has come from the darkest corners of a persons life. Especially with such a dark subject matter. I want to say I enjoyed the book but that seems so wrong too. I went from interested to disgusted to horrified to disbelieving to shocked and all around again. I've been to the area and it's so beautiful it's hard to believe that it had such a dark past... I'm gonna have to think about this one still...
Apr 14, 2011 Norma rated it liked it
This is a worthwhile read for the insights into the strong ties that keep individuals in incestuous and abusive relationships. The somewhat academic approach to the topic makes it more palatable for the average reader. There may be no suprises in this study-type book but the information is worth learning.
Apr 26, 2015 Heather rated it liked it
Slow to start - VERY slow to start, actually, so a bit hard to get into - but once it gets going, this is a really interesting read.
Oct 22, 2016 Andrew rated it it was ok
I'm of mixed feelings about this book. First things first, though... what a tawdry, sensationalized piece of shit it is. Just a step above tabloid "literature". A large chunk of tedious history, followed by a section of nasty, graphic, court testimony and finished by some awkward 3rd person reporting. Just terrible. The victims certainly deserve better... because the criminal justice system seems to have let them down.

On the other hand, this IS a horrific tale of systematic abuse, poverty and go
Jan 23, 2015 Monique rated it liked it
A horrifying story and sad to see how the townspeople knew that bad things were happening but no one intervened to help the victims. On the contrary, the few girls who dared to come forward and ask for help were shunned. A detailed portrayal of ignorance. I've thought about the Golers a lot over the years. The case received got surprisingly little publicity in Canada over the years, you'd think these revelations would be huge news. A national scandal and shame. The case is fascinating enough to ...more
Ellis Amdur
Jan 16, 2015 Ellis Amdur rated it liked it
A horrifying narrative of a Nova Scotia Mountain clan, the Golers, who year after year, generation after generation, tortured and abused their children, who continued the same again and again, generation after generation. Inbred, many were clearly developmentally disabled (there is a documentary about their trial on YouTube). And yet, there are heroes and survivors as well. Not a pleasurable read in the least.
Dec 31, 2007 Ben rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lucy
this book is highly disturbing because of the subject matter. But it was recommended to me by a friend who grew up in the area and some believe these stories as if they were folklore. But this happened. And is continuing to happen.
Feb 12, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
I'm still processing my response to this book. It's hard to say "I liked it," because it is such a horrific, true and damning story. It would be more appropriate to say "I'm glad I read it."
Tina Lawrence
Feb 22, 2016 Tina Lawrence rated it really liked it
Spending the last 8 years in the Annapolis Valley I had heard about the Golers. But I had no idea it was this bad, so disturbing to read.
Aug 29, 2012 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very disturbing and sad. After reading a novel that is loosely based on this true story, curiosity compelled me to read it. I'm rather horrified now.
Kathleen Luddington-downie
Kathleen Luddington-downie rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2015
Anna rated it it was ok
Dec 13, 2012
Briana rated it really liked it
Sep 15, 2015
Georgina Bailey
Georgina Bailey rated it did not like it
Sep 01, 2014
Carole Myers
Carole Myers rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2013
Christy rated it really liked it
Aug 05, 2012
Shawn rated it liked it
Feb 11, 2012
Kelsey Duffney
Kelsey Duffney rated it liked it
Dec 04, 2016
Jessie Rondelet
Catherine Coles
Catherine Coles rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2015
Janet Farrell Merlo
Janet Farrell Merlo rated it it was amazing
Jul 10, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Saskiad
  • No Comfort Zone: Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sweet Land Stories
  • Fearless
  • Broken Irish
  • Soucouyant
  • The Song of Kahunsha
  • Our Daily Bread
  • The Age of Hope
  • Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters
  • The Complete Organic Pregnancy
  • On the Farm
  • Allen Carr's Easy Way for Women to Stop Smoking
  • Falling Angels
  • The Ravine
  • An Audience of Chairs
  • Buried Secrets: A True Story of Drug Running, Black Magic, and Human Sacrifice
  • Le grand cahier

Share This Book