In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse is an historical, inspirational novel set in Alaska during the early 1900s. It follows Allan Brennan on his quest to find the truth about what happened to his father on Denali. Believing the expert guide, John Ivanoff, to be at fault for his father’s death, Allen takes a job in Curry, Alaska where he meets Ivanoff and the man’s beautiful daughter Cassidy.
The historical aspect of the story is what drew me to request this book to review. It focused on climbing Denali – Mt. McKinley – and the dedication of the Mt. McKinley National Park, including President Harding’s visit to the territory, at a time when Alaska was a new frontier.
The inspirational aspect of the story blended a Biblical message with romance. This lent a triteness to heartache and loss as well as providing an easy-out for difficult situations. While in real life I do not doubt the power of prayer, in a story it feels more like a plot contrivance. I would have liked to see more honest struggle and reality. When it came to the romance, it was too Christian-ized and didn’t feel as true to the historical or cultural setting of the book.
Overall, In the Shadow of Denali was a easy read. The writing could have been sharper with less repetition, though repetition seems to be common with this particular genre, so perhaps it was written well according to other books of its kind. Knowing how many books Ms. Peterson has written, I had expected better.
While this story may not have been all I hoped it to be, fans of heavily Christian, Inspirational, Historical Romance may thoroughly enjoy the book. The genre aside, the mountain climbing and historical facts were fascinating, as was the setting. Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, is indeed the High One.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”