Tuesday, April 16, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey
By:  Shannon Huffman Polson
Published by Zondervan, 2013

Shannon last spoke with her father and stepmother on Father's Day 2005.  She is on the return journey home after visiting her brother and his wife.  Her brother is in the car behind her when she receives a phone call.  It's from Alaska, and is the police are asking for Shannon Huffman.  Dread settles in.  Her father and stepmother are in Alaska kayaking down the Hulahula River located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Disbelief as the officer explains that her father and his wife have been killed.  She pulls over the to the side of the road, her brother behind her.  He crawls in the car with her and they sit stunned.  What had been an adventure for experienced Alaskan adventurers Richard and Katherine Huffman has become their final days on earth.  They have died a gruesome death.  Mauling by grizzly.

A year later Shannon and her adopted brother Ned, along with Ned's friend Sally, begin a rafting trip down the same Hulahula River.  Shannon has not been able to deal with the deaths of her father and stepmother and hopes that this trip will bring closure for her.  The trip brings back memories of a lifetime spent in the outdoors with her father, a retired JAG officer who started his own law firm in Alaska, where he raised his family.  Shannon, Ned and Sally reach the site of the deaths, each handling their grief in a different way.  Shannon, by praying and building a cairn, Ned by going off by himself.  Once they leave the site, Ned becomes angry, turning his brutal anger towards his sister. The trip cannot end quickly enough.  The trip does not bring the peach Shannon had sought.  Only when she is waiting alone for the plain to pick her up at the end of the trip does she begin to feel solace and understanding.

North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey seemed disjointed to me.  One moment you are in the present, then you are back in time, which was a bit confusing.  Also, Shannon is a very educated woman and writes as such.  I won't give a negative review, but neither can I give it my best, since it was a struggle to make myself finish the book.

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  Zondervan's book review program.

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