Out of the Ice by Ann Turner.

out of the ice

E-book was gifted by NetGalley for review.

Laura Alvarado an environmental scientist is sent to a remote Antarctic island to report on the abandoned Fredelighavn Whaling Station for an Environmental Impact Assessment. Upon arriving at Alliance Station, a scientific Antarctic outpost, she straight away gets the feeling that all is not as it seems. The head of Alliance, Connaught does not like Laura, when she starts asking questions about the station and its purpose, she is met with silence. Her suspicions of something being amiss are confirmed after her first visit to Fredelighavn Whaling Station where she finds evidence of human interference. When she questions people at Alliance they all tell her that no one has been there and that she must be imagining it. With the help of a work colleague Kate, she tries to discover the secret that Alliance station is hiding, but when the truth is finally revealed Laura realises that it is far worse than she could have ever imagined.

Set in the isolation and starkness of Antarctica, “Out of the Ice” takes the reader into a world that most of us could never really imagine. I found I became totally submerged in Laura’s character and at times felt suffocated at the idea of being in a place such as this and not knowing who she could or could not trust. There are enough twists in this tale, I think even Agatha Christie would have been left astounded when the ending was revealed. A sub plot that goes into detail about the history of whaling practices in Antarctica and the families involved, adds yet another lavish layer of what is already a mouth watering piece of literature.

As with her first novel, Ann takes the reader on a roller coaster ride with beautiful descriptive writing. A story that takes you from the stark and barren landscape of Antarctica, to the bustling city of Venice, this tale of intrigue and mystery will have you enthralled until the last page.

Out of the Ice is the second and much anticipated novel by Ann Turner.

 

The War Bride by Pamela Hart

the war bride

 

Book was gifted by NetGalley for review.

Margaret Dalton is about to set out on the adventure of her life. Sailing from England to Australia. She like many other English “war brides” are sailing into the unknown with both trepidation and excitement. But for Margaret all her hopes and dreams are not quite as they seem. When she disembarks from the ship her husband Frank is not there to meet her.

Frank Dalton waited patiently at the wharf for his wife to disembark, when the last person had left the ship Frank decides to ask one of the men on the wharf he had seen his wife. He tells him she had left the boat back in England. Devastated Frank returns to the mother of his child, but, not the woman he loves.

Tom McBride an army sergeant is on duty that day making sure all people are accounted for from the ship. When Margaret approaches him to ask after her husband, they both have no idea that their lives will be changed forever. Tom takes Margaret back to the Army headquarters to try and locate where her husband is living. When she receives the news that he is already married with a child she does not know what to do. Luck for Margaret, Tom is a kind man, he goes into action, finding her a place to live and helping her settle in as best as she can.

Tom starts off just wanting to help Margaret because he feels sorry for her after what Frank has done, but, over time things change, the more he gets to know Margaret the more he is falling for her. Then out of the blue Margaret receives a letter from her husband asking for a divorce thinking that Margaret had never left England. She writes to him explaining she is in fact in Australia and they agree to meet. After seeing Margaret again Frank decides he no longer wants a divorce, but wants her back. Margaret’s whole world comes spiralling down when she realises that her new life may have just been a dream all along and the life she had started to make for herself is now over. Who will she choose? Her husband, whom she thought did not love her anymore or Tom, a man that brings out the best in her and is part of the new life she loves and has made for herself?

The War Bride is the second book I have been fortunate to read by the author and I have to say that it was a wonderful, heartwarming story. The depth of information gives the reader an insight into how the world was at the end of World War One. The characters and situations are based on fact which makes reading about them all the more interesting. I loved Margaret, she is a remarkable woman, even though she goes through so much, she never loses sight of herself or what is important to her, and for her happiness. On the other hand, I detested her husband Frank, it was not because he is an evil or horrid person, quite the opposite. He did not have an easy life as a child and surviving the war was a credit to him, when a lot of men didn’t, but, that aside, he seemed like a character that wanted things his way at the expense of everyone’s feelings. He seems to not care what those around him want, as long as he gets his way. The minor characters were just as interesting and added more depth and emotion to an already emotionally charged story.

If you enjoy historical fiction, then this is highly recommended reading.