Content Warnings for: Death of Family Members, Abuse, Murder, Drinking, Gambling, Violence
This book follows Ben Thompson and Liza Peterson as they navigate the new and often unforgiving world of the unsettled Northern Canadian Territories, during the gold rush. The book starts off by showing Liza’s ridicule of her father’s plan to sell everything, pack up and move to Dawson City in the Yukon. Her mother is extremely upset and distraught by the thought because she was already made to do this once in her life, leaving all her family and friends behind. I related to their insecurity and anxiety over such a huge life-changing move. I enjoyed Ben Turner and his immediate character development he makes in order to show just how much he wants to be a part of the North-West Mounted Police. The fact that we see both Liza’s strength and kind spirit during her 40 day journey to the first leg of their journey on the way to Dyea, the first stop towards Dawson City makes her so extremely likable even with her character facing some adversity. The story line of Ben at times seemed “easy” (as in he gets what he wants without much struggle or fight to get there) even though he has so much character development in his early chapters. I love how Genevieve writes such believable settings, like how dangerous a place the northern parts of Canada were in the 1890s and early 1900s, especially for the women who followed their men and families to the Klondike. I also liked how she clearly researched Indigenous Tribes who lived in the North at the time, most of whom still live in those places today. Liza’s relationship with her brother is the literal most adorable and best thing ever. Even though her brother Stan seems to have some delusions of grandeur when it came to the adventure they were on. The descriptions of the Yukon and the beauty are some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read. It made me feel as if I was the one who was there, and after reading this book I so much want to visit it. The extreme depression the characters felt due to the extreme isolation, extreme weather, and the multiple illnesses and injuries was completely relateable to me and I connected with it on a very personal level. I always enjoyed when Liza got sassy, especially when her family tried to tell her to change out of her trousers because of what people might think. I cheered when she stood her ground and refused to do so. I loved that she danced to the beat of her own drum. The book took an extremely sad turn when Liza, Stan and other prospectors are caught in an avalanche on the Chilkoot Trail. Liza’s trials are so emotionally trying that at times it’s hard to think that one person could go through so much and still stay standing. I was glad however, that she had people she could rely on to get her through her trials. When Liza got to Dawson City she fell on good luck which made me feel so happy for her because of all the trials she had to face in the getting there. I do have to say that the slow burn romance was at some points so frustrating, especially since I am not a particular fan of hate to love tropes in books for the most part but I forgive it because the book is so intriguing and good. I love that Ben is out to help the little guy and has a zero tolerance policy for abuse towards women, it was so nice to see in a character. The romance between Liza and Ben is so dang cute, he shows chivalry in so many places that it’s hard not to cheer for this romance. The Yukon in this book is not kind to our characters though and tested them so much more than 2 people should ever be tested or would be able to handle. Although this book was emotionally frustrating in some places I could absolutely feel the tensions as they built and I just wanted to keep reading to see how they solved the issues they had. I also felt the longings, the fear, & the sadness. It jumped right off the pages for me and was so relatable. The ending of the book though left me wanting so much more of Ben and Liza. This book was written so well.
*****I received this book as an early copy from Simon & Schuster in exchange for my honest review*****