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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Elizabeth McGregor - The Ice child

I enjoyed this book, the mix of fact with fiction on the doomed Franklin expedition to the Arctic in 1847.  An Expedition, which disappeared while searching for the Northwest Passage.
The book opens with the mother polar bear and her cub.  This drew me in straight away, I could visualise the bears on their journey of survival.
It then shifts to the UK.  Jo Harper is a reporter for a local paper.  She is asked by her editor to follow up a story on a missing archaeologist Douglas Masters, a minor celeb, who has gone missing while on a mission to find any artifacts of the Franklin Expedition.
Jo's interest picks up after she speaks to his estranged wife and watches video footage of Marshalls last attempt to the Artic.  It then becomes a girl meets boy kind of scenario, they fall in love and have a child named Sam. 
Her stepson is very cold towards her and harbours an anger towards his father, the estranged wife is very vindictive and obsessively domineering.  But things go drastically wrong and a family tragedy occurs.
Alongside the present we keep returning to the past and that ill fated Arctic voyage presented as a running account narrated by a 16-year-old sailor named Gus.  The plight and struggles of the crew, the struggle of the polar bear to feed her cub in the ever shrinking polar ice and Jo's family tragedies are parallels of endurance and bravery under great odds.
I've never read one of this authors books before and I was worried it was going to be a M&B type romance but my worries were unfounded.  Although the ending was very predictable the story was enjoyable.

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