This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Simon and Schuster
Released on April 2, 2019
Klondike Gold Rush! I see that historic reference and it is all that is necessary to pique my interest. Pair a raw, frontier historical setting and this author’s turbulent and triumphant characters and romance will always succeed in an engaging story.
At Mountain’s Edge is mostly set in 1897 Yukon Territory and follows the separate lives of Northwest Mounted Policeman, Ben Turner, and sorrowing yet determined Liza Peterson. Their stories cross paths several times under difficult circumstances before entwining in a shared adventure of romance.
Ben grew up on a farm under the fist and threats of an abusive father. He gets a chance to be a force for good if he can overcome the anger he inherited from his father. His assignment is the wild Yukon from Chilkoot Pass to Dawson City and, with a small force of Mounties must do the work of keeping people safe and keeping the peace when it seems everyone has lost their minds with gold fever. He has several encounters with Liza and each seem to be the worst moments of her life. Of all the people he wishes to be a hero for… he gets his chance and a chance at romance if he doesn’t throw it all away due to fear of becoming his dad.
Liza never wanted to leave her comfortable life running her father’s store back in Vancouver, but he has an adventure lust that takes him and their whole family north into the Yukon to set up a store in Dawson City to make a big profit selling to the miners. But, Liza not only has the harsh reality of the soul destroying cold and rugged life of the three month journey north, but heartbreaking tragedy that threaten to shatter her. She is told that she is tough and strong and she is called upon over and over to prove it. Just when she believes her struggles are behind her, it hits again and she wonders if she’ll have Ben by her side when all is said and done.
I was prepared for the emotional impact this time around after reading earlier stories from the author’s repertoire. She has three earlier Canadian Historicals under her belt, but that was the east coast. I was thrilled when she took it all the way across country to tell a story of hardship, survival, and eventually triumph on the Canadian frontier. I’ve read others in this setting and felt this one did a great job painting an authentic picture of the setting and the lives there in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. I was swept away, particularly during the first half of the book that is spent along the trail from both a traveler and a Mountie’s point of view.
And, speaking of Mounties. The detail of the place was done well, but so was the description of background for Ben. I learned a great deal about the time from recruitment, training, and to his work. A person had to be tough to become and remain a Mountie.
The characters came from vastly different backgrounds. Ben didn’t have an easier childhood, lived with the Blackfoot, worked as a cowboy, and now he’s a Mountie. He sees himself as less than what others do and that was sad, but abused kids can be like that. I liked him and was rooting for him. He screwed up big with Liza, but he finally fixed it. Now, Liza was a fascinating young lady. She had a good, life and family, but then her father pulls all that out from under her. She gets hit with a string of terrible events let alone the hardship of life, but it hones her. Usually, I’m not a fan of too many coincidences that save things for the character, but this gal needed a few good marks in the hope and win column to balance things out.
Romance is present, but it doesn’t appear until the second part of the book. Up until then, its two separate stories with the occasional intersection. Liza can barely stand Ben while she is going through such tough times because his appearance is like a harbinger to her when he’s always there after a bad thing. She doesn’t truly blame him for events, but she associates him with the bad until she can start to associate him with the good moments, too. Their love seems to come on quick, but yet it didn’t feel quick since a lot of story happened before they fell hard and fast. And, there is still big time conflict and troubles to conquer even after the love feelings have started.
All in all, this one hit my emotions and drew me in with characters, romance, and most of all that exciting historical backdrop. Those who enjoy a mesh of historical fiction and historical romance should give this book a go.
My thanks to Simon and Schuster via Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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