Review by Booklist Review
Virginia Reeve has a secret, and she will go to great lengths to leave it behind her. In 1853, she agrees to lead a group of women voyagers into a dangerous, frozen unknown. The 13 strangers travel by train, canoe, ship, and dogsled and know they are trespassers at the mercy of men and the ice. Months later, when all the women do not return, accusations are made. Virginia is on trial for murder, and her fate left to those who survived. Will they stand with or turn against her as the bonds formed in the Arctic begin to melt? Based on true events, Macallister's adventurous historical mystery considers what might have been if a women's expedition traveled to the Arctic at a time when women weren't expected to leave the house, let alone explore the corners of the globe. Moving from the present to the past and from one woman's voice to another, Macallister captures the suspenseful journey from all angles as readers uncover the truth about what really happened out on the ice. Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Macallister (Woman 99) delivers an exciting if thin historical thriller based on real events. In 1850s Boston, adventurer Virginia Reeve is summoned by Lady Jane Franklin, who asks Virginia to lead a women's expedition to the Arctic in order to find out what happened to her husband, Sir John Franklin, who disappeared there with his crew. Virginia agrees to lead the team of explorers, which includes a wealthy young woman, Caprice Collins, who undermines Virginia's authority from the start. As Virginia and crew travel north, flashes forward find Virginia on trial for Caprice's murder. Macallister pulls no punches depicting the grisly, dangerous realities of 19th-century Arctic journeys, and while tensions run high throughout to the shocking conclusion, the prose is run-of-the-mill ("She'd been through far worse, of course, but this always amazed her: how the worst pain, no matter how terrible, could recede into the past") and the characters one-dimensional, with Virginia being cloyingly noble and brave, and Caprice coming across as a single-note cowardly interloper willing to step on anyone to get her way. While Macallister's fans will enjoy, others will be disappointed. (Dec.)
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