Virginia Reeves is recruited by Lady Jane Franklin to lead an expedition into the Arctic to locate her husband’s (John Franklin) lost Arctic expedition. The twelve members of the party are all women, and after a gruelling journey, not all return safely, and Virginia finds herself arrested for the murder of one of the women who died whilst on the journey.
“I propose you lead an expedition to the North to bring back my husband…a great man…the world does not yet recognize his triumph”
“… the wisest course, as ever, has always been to count on no one for anything.”
“They did their best to make time, grueling mile over grueling mile. Without the dogs, in a different season, and headed over ground they’d never traversed before, everything was different. The ice was buckled and ridged, utterly unpredictable. Some days, it felt like they covered more territory vertically than horizontally, made more progress toward the sky than the horizon.”
This is quite an enjoyable adventure/survival story, courtroom drama, historical fiction, and mystery set in Boston and the Arctic Circle in 1855, but this wasn’t the “rough and tough” survival story that I was expecting, although there were some scenes that were quite dire. The courtroom scenes take up much of the story, and are at times repetitive. Overall, though, a good read with plot twists to keep the story interesting.
New York Journal of Books: “Macallister’s writing is powerful, and she concocts a gripping story with strong, very human characterizations, in spite of the license she takes with what realistically might have been possible in that epoch of history. Perhaps in the end, it is also this very flaw that is one of the keys to the book’s success: the transposition of our emancipated times to an era when women were not considered equal to men—either in terms of their capabilities or in their possible roles, makes it interesting beyond the fictional story it tells. In any case, this is a book well-worth reading.”
Publishers Weekly: “an exciting if thin historical thriller based on real events. While Macallister’s fans will enjoy, others will be disappointed.”
Lady Jane Franklin was the wife of English explorer Sir John Franklin whose 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage did not return. Later, it was ascertained that the ships had become icebound and the members of the expedition had died. Lady Franklin sponsored several expeditions to determine his fate and find his records, but none were successful.