Monday, January 23, 2017

In the Shadow of Denali, The Heart of Alaska Book 1 by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

Their Future Depends on Unlocking the Secrets the Mountain Holds From the Past

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley--Denali as it's still called by the natives. John is the wilderness and exploration guide for the wealthy tourists while Cassidy works in the kitchen as Cook's assistant. The entire staff buzzes with excitement during the busy days preparing for the President's imminent visit. His historic trip to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad will be the beginning of a new era for all of them and place The Curry at the heart of Alaska. 

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice to the seasoned Alaska mountain guide, with hopes of discovering the truth about his father's death on the mountain years earlier. His father's business partner blames the guide for Henry Brennan's untimely death, but Allan cannot be at peace until he knows for sure. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

My review:

   I had the privilege of meeting these two authors a few months ago, and have been looking forward to reading this book ever since. In my humble opinion, it is the best collaboration they have done so far, and I am excited about a whole series by the two authors.

  There's a lot to like in this novel, so I'll break it down:

The characters: I have read a lot of books, and characters are an integral part of the story, and the authors created some very good and likable ones for the story. The motherless Cassidy -  whose faith and hope attract all around her, Allan - a young man bent on solving the mystery of his father's death years ago on the great mountain, Thomas - an orphaned young man who has a heart of gold, and the grace of an ox, Mrs Johnson - the very stern hotel kitchen manager, who has a heart of gold underneath her harsh exterior, and others.

The setting: between the two of them, the authors painted with words a great picture of Alaska and the famous Alaskan mountain. They also did a great job of describing life in the early 1920's in that area, and it made me want to step into the book and experience what the characters in the book were seeing.

The suspense: Any book that Kimberly Woodhouse is part of has some element of suspense, and this one is no different. The suspense is not non-stop, nail biting as in some books that are marketed as suspense, but the suspense and mystery were a definite part of the novel, and had me almost biting my nails at one point.

The Christian element: I read Christian fiction for a couple of reasons, and one of them is because of the Christian message that is found in most Christian fiction. In this one, faith and redemption played a big part, and I liked how the spiritual journey of Allan was gradual and wasn't stuck in like it was to fill the idea of a Christian novel.

Romance: As a confirmed bachelor, I am not a big fan of a lot of romance and gushy stuff. It wasn't gushy in this book, and I found myself rooting for the slow blossoming romance going on in the book, and loved the ending of the book.

  This is the first in a series..... a trilogy, I believe.... and it is a great start to the series. I started the book on my lunch break at work, and finished it later at home the same day. I enjoyed every page, and there was no parts I skimmed.... it is a great story from page one to the last page. Tracie and Kimberly have spun a great historical novel that anyone should enjoy....definitely 5 stars.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the authors:

Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana. Learn more at

Kimberly Woodhouse

Kimberley Woodhouse is a multi-published author of fiction and nonfiction. A popular speaker/teacher, she's shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at more than a thousand venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools with her husband of twenty-plus years and their two awesome teens live in Colorado. Connect with Kim at

In The Shadow of Denali is available from Bethany House Publishing.

Thanks to Bethany House and the authors for the review copy.