Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: "In the Shadow of Denali" by Tracie Peterson & Kimberley Woodhouse

Image result for In the Shadow of Denali (The Heart of Alaska)
In the Shadow of Denali is a pretty straightforward christian love story. The main story line involves a young woman, Cassidy, who is suddenly attracting two men at the hotel where she works. However, the main love interest, Allan, has come to Alaska to learn more about his father's death, which could have been the cause of some mystery and suspense, but is not presented that way. Cassidy's father ends up being a christian mentor to both Allan, and the smitten-with-Cassidy young kitchen hand, Thomas.

The relationship between Cassidy and her father is quite endearing. He shares a lot of wisdom with her and it is obvious throughout the book that she has taken his lessons to heart.

There's also an interesting story to the head cook with whom Cassidy works, Mrs. Johnson. She seems more genuine than the other characters and willingly shares her struggles with Cassidy. The parts where Cassidy and Mrs. Johnson talk about God and faith are more engaging than other moments where the interactions between characters seem forced.

As a work of historical fiction, the book performs admirably. I learned a lot about Denali from reading it. It includes some interesting passages where the President visits the mountain. There's a few pages at the end of the book that explain all of the historical context and what necessitated fictionalization. It was an interesting insight both into the available information (gaps included) and the writer's process.

However, overall the book fell flat for me with repetitive monologues from characters pining over one another, assuming that feelings were unrequited. If you're looking for a quick read that ties up all story lines in a nice little bow, has a tiny bit of suspense, and characters who fall in love with the idea of one another, you may enjoy this book more than I did. There were many places this book could have been more mysterious but chose to give everything away and spell things out for the reader. It ends in a tired way, leaving nothing for the reader to think or wonder about.

I received a free copy of this book, but was not required to write a positive review.