So as your reading this, I will be in Ally Pally, London watching Panic! At the Disco, but because I am ON POINT! I’ve gone ahead and written/scheduled my review early. Enjoy!
Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father’s whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as the head of her own exploration expedition. Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan, but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet, all thoughts of science and exploration give way before a sudden, all-consuming love.
The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups, but then, after one more glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.
The stark beauty of the Arctic ocean, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.
Under a Pole Star, written by Stef Penny, was requested from Net Galley. This book has been published quite recently, November the 3rd. I gave it 3 stars on my Goodreads account, partly because I hadn’t realised how big the book was (608 pages!) and partly because it took me a while to get into the book.
Once I got into the book, after the first few chapters, and had a fair idea what was going on, I really enjoyed the story. It can be confusing at times, especially at the beginning, as we are given two main characters; the Snow Queen, Flora Mackie and American geologist, Jakob De Beyn or Jake as he becomes known.
We are first introduced to Flora as an elderly woman on, perhaps, her final exhibition to the Arctic, she is bombarded by a young journalist, who readers find out, is closer to the Snow Queen then she realises. Thus Flora is taken back to her childhood aboard her father’s whaling ship in the Arctic.
Under a Pole Star follows Flora and Jakob in their seperate childhoods, growing up and training, before embarking on their separate journeys to the Arctic. It is only when they meet that the book begins to cross from their point of views and various times they are apart, do I, personally, finally come to grips to the story. Perhaps it is because I’m reading on my Kindle?
The ending is utter heartbreaking and thus, of course, we are brought back to the present time. Mysteries are left unsolved but some are solved as we travel through Flora’s and Jakob’s past and present.
This book is real. I think that’s the best way I can describe it. From when Flora is on the Whaling Ship and growing up, surrounded by older men. To when Jakob is studying and have a relationship with an older woman. The sex ‘scenes’ are not scooted over or rushed and Flora and Jakob’s relationship is as lovable and brash as any relationship.
Flora is a strong character is a man’s world and definitely holds her own, especially after having to run her own exhibition after her husband’s (Not De Beyn) unfortunate accident. Both main characters are smart and know what they want and what they’ll do to achieve it, especially Flora, and this adds depth to the characters.
An amazingly written book, perfect for transportation to anther time and place. Comment below if you’ve read Under a Pole Star and what you thought about this book?