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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Audiobook Review: In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse


In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
Unabridged, 8 hr. 28 min.
Recorded Books
Christina Moore (Narrator)
January 3, 2017
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Genre: Historical Fiction; Christian Fiction

Source: Received from the publisher for review

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be an expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook's assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father's death climbing Mt. McKinley, he's worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father's partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

I was so excited to get my hands on this book because when I saw the opportunity to read it I was getting ready to head out on my adventure to Alaska with my own family. I wanted to see how much Alaska actually factored into the novel versus just being a backdrop. It is such a unique setting and truly brings a life of its own that you won’t experience elsewhere. So I was excited but also hesitant about diving into the novel.

I can happily say that the authors truly did their research, and I would hazard to guess that one or both of them have been to Alaska because it felt so true to my experience. The land of Alaska just vividly came to life, from the plants and animals to the way people would have encountered and engaged with a still relatively untouched environment. Denali had just become a National Park and the Curry Hotel was the only hotel in the area. There was also a great interplay between the native perspective and the perspective of outsiders streaming in to the area on the new railroad. But the one thing that I feel that they hit squarely on was the experience of climbing Denali. Of course, I haven’t done this myself, few have, but after having read Denali’s Howl, which explores in great detail the dangers of climbing that mountain, I feel comfortable saying they did an excellent job with that aspect of the story.

The plot here follows the death of Allan’s father early on and how it affects the main characters throughout and how they grow and change. It’s definitely a story of characters finding themselves in the wake of tragedy and it affects each of them differently. That being said, there is one character who really never changes and it very, very clearly, the bad guy and you will know that from the moment you meet him. It almost felt a little comical how explicitly evil he is, especially when compared with the other main characters who are complex and interesting. This is a work of Christian fiction, so the majority of the characters encounter religious evolution or crises of conscience and it was interesting to see how these moments affected their decisions. It didn’t feel heavy-handed at all, even for someone who isn’t all that religious.

While I loved the atmospheric nature of the novel and the character development, I did have a couple issues with it that affected my enjoyment. First was that there were a few obvious “info dumps”, even if some of them were interestingly concealed. There were clear details that the authors wanted to utilize that delineated the differences between life in Alaska and life in the lower US, and I appreciated that instead of literally just describing them, they had them be revealed while a character read a newspaper or magazine, but it still felt like minute details just being listed to me for the benefit of listing them. I don’t tend to notice these things unless they are strikingly obvious, so I feel the need to point it out. The other thing that was a little bit of an issue was that I felt the plot was a little long-winded. There was a lot crammed into this novel and I got a little lost from the objective about halfway through only to be brought back to the realization at the end. There were a few of the more minor storylines that I feel like could have been eliminated to make it flow better.



Christina Moore did an excellent job narrating this novel. She kept the pacing moving forward; even when I felt that the plot was bogged down a little bit, the narrator kept it from feeling slow, which I think would have been more obvious in print format. She imbued the characters with a patience and contemplation that they needed, especially when grappling with their faith. While she didn’t have a plethora of distinct voices for all the characters, there was enough differentiation that you were never confused while reading.

You can check out a sample of the audiobook below (links to Audible):

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Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse:

out of the ashes
Out of the Ashes
(Heart of Alaska #2)

Find Tracie Peterson:
Website | Facebook

Find Kimberley Woodhouse: Website | Facebook

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed the setting in Alaska and the vivid description on Denali, Curry. Historical facts of the story was so interesting too. The characters had such personality you can't help but think of them as friends you want to meet them again. Great story!

    Gretta Hewson
    Sleep Aid Gaba


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