This book is about a girl named Gwyn who lives with her father in the Alaskan Territory in 1935. After her mother and sister abandon them for a life in Chicago, Gwyn and her father stay in Alaska where her father has a medical practice. The book takes place during The Great Depression and during the time that President Roosevelt sent many families to Alaska to settle the territory and ease the suffering due to the depression. The story has a love story in it as Gwyn meets a new doctor who comes to help treat the many people who are coming to Alaska. It also has some crime drama in it as there is a thief and murderer in the village.
The beginning and middle of this book were good. The story moved well and was well told at many of the parts, however, the author decided to put too much detail in some areas and not enough in others. An example of this is found when one of the main characters is accused of murder, but we never get to see how this is resolved. The woman is accused, possibly taken away for a time, and then somehow winds up to be back as a normal character with almost no mention of the murder again. There are also times when the author is obviously sticking in actual factual elements from history, but they don't fit smoothly in the story and seem out of place. Suddenly, she talks about the town being shifted to face the mountains or a girl who has a pet bear, but these items don't flow at all and are sores in the book.
The religious part of the book is not too bad for the first 3/4 of the book, but gets to be overwhelming at the end, taking over the story and not allowing the drama of the story to have a good ending. Some of the theology in the book is not what all Christians believe and can annoy the reader rather than help the story. The author did not find the fine line of writing a book with Christian characters and writing a good book, and leaned more on the side of finding it important for her characters to be Christian and less on the side of writing a good book.
That being said, the book was okay. I won't read it again, but I don't feel like I wasted my time reading it. If this was a series (which it isn't, to my knowledge), I would not care enough about the characters to read it.
The well developed characters, the slow steady build all work together to deliver a tidy little package where mystery and history entwine.
I loved the idea of a story centering on the decision, Franklyn Roosevelt devised to help people destroyed by the depression of 1935. His idea was to send families to a remote area of Alaska to colonies and grow the Matanuska Valley. The really superb thing about this book is these two authors use real and fictional characters to develop their narrative.
Dr Jeremiah Vaughan's life is destroyed by allegations of abuse. When he uses a ground-breaking IV sedation technique with an influential patient, and the patient dies, the authorities are out for blood. This causes his license to be stripped away. Because of this, his intended and her mother want nothing to do with the shame. A has-been doctor is not what a high society woman wants on her arm. Fleeing from the hurt and rejection, from not only his fiance but also his own parents Jeremiah jumps at the chance to work alongside his mentor in a remote Alaskan village, far away from danger and pain...or so he thought.
Gwyn is struggling with fear, rejection, and trust as she tends to her beloved village as a nurse. Her father (who is also the town's only doctor) is ecstatic at the prospect of seeing his village grow with the new colonization. As they race to ready the settlement for the new families, Gwyn must come to a place where she is able to accept the change and uncertainties of her future.
This book was so surprising with it's villainous character and the twists and turns that ensued. It certainly was not the predictable book I imagined it to be.
If you love fiction, history, romance, suspense you will probably enjoy this one. There are a few slow spots where the author is developing you knowledge of the characters, but by no means does it continue through the book. I will be keeping my eyes open for the sequel to this one.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
I enjoyed reading about a real event that I had never heard of before. The Matanuska Colonization was a project of Roosevelt's in 1935 to help some of those who suffered from the Great Depression. There was a relocation of 200 families to the Matanuska Valley in Alaska. It was a nice change to read about something so different than the few main settings for most fiction.
The basic storyline and the plot idea were very good, but they couldn't completely salvage the book for me. There's a lot (like, a lot!) of introspective dialogue, much of it repetitive, such as Jeremiah's constantly telling himself that he has to come clean eventually. It's often phrased in questions. "Can she forgive me?" "Will I have to leave?" There's too much contemplation and emotion. After a while I lose any empathy and just want tell them to get on with it already!
This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
If you are looking for a book to read that will give you adventure, excitement, drama, mystery, romance and faith; then you're in luck!! Go pick up a copy of this book,"All Things Hidden" by Kim Woodhouse and Tracie Petterson. I couldn't put it down! I just finished and now I'm sad that it's over!! Hope these 2 gifted writers collaborate again!!
I recommend this book for anyone who loves a good drama/mystery with some romance and faith mixed in!! From pre-teen to senior citizen, this is a must-read!