Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: Tracie Peterson's The Icecutter's Daughter

Tracie Peterson is one of the better writers of the Christian historical fiction genre, but like many other books of a similar nature it's mainly going to appeal to those who already read the genre. It has some good twists, but the characters I just didn't relate to. The writing is good though, and the dialogue flows well between the characters, and they do leave you in suspense regarding where they are from, and why they are there.

Summary: Mirelle lives with her father and brothers, and it's worn off on her to make her a bit of a tomboy. She is now in her twenties though, and she is desiring to make a life of her own, one of which hopefully will include a husband. This could prove difficult though considering her brothers are very over protective. Rurik moves into town though to help out his ailing uncle, and to also get time away from his fiancee, Svea, who he is feeling pressured to marry. Svea is willing to do anything to convince him to marry her though, so when her and her brother, Nils, show up in the small town they make a lot of trouble for him.

Characters: I would say the biggest obstacle for me regarding the book is that I don't relate to any of the characters. Either they are bad or good, and then at the end become good, so everyone balances out to be good. I can get the appeal of that character development, because if you prefer lighter more feel good novels then this is that. I just can't relate to Mirelle though because her worst trait was her realization that she gossiped. This was a great way to share on the message of how damaging gossip can be, and a way to get a message to the audience reading as well, because more reader's of this type of book will relate to what she learned than someone like me who doesn't read this genre as much. It is a very common female flaw, and I don't know any female who admits to struggling with it, so in that way it's a good way to put the spotlight on it. Other characters like Svea and Nils have the worst problems, like ones that we don't want to say we have problems with, but those problems are threw off on side characters we dislike most the novel anyways. The other characters like Rurik are one dimensional. The guy gets thrown in a bad circumstance, but he presents an unhealthy idea of a man. There were no noticeable flaws he had, and he seems to handle the situation perfectly, while it's those around him who mess it up. The man needed something human about him, so he wasn't just a dream of Mirelle's.

Writing: The writing is good, it flows well, and it doesn't let the narrative get as rambling as most novels do that prescribe to this genre. I just don't get the purpose of so much third person, inner narrative, thoughts. I don't want to hear a person give a personal account in their head for every reason something might be happening, and Peterson does good about keeping that to a small amount, and just enough to feel realistic to her characters.

Plot: The plot has some moments it does lull, and chunks that feel they could have been edited out because they don't contribute to where it is going. After the reveal at the end I felt the novel seemed to go on for a while longer even though the main situation at hand was worked out. I did enjoy how she wrote out the final scenes though because it was a nice way of quickly flowing the story, but also recounting it with a flashback feel. Peterson I'm sure has researched this more than me, but there were things that I questioned whether they could happen in that time as well. My great-grandma grew up in 1920s or 1030s as a teen, and I know she was highly strict about letting my grandma who would be born in the 1940s alone with a man. She always chaperoned my grandma on dates, and would even follow their car to church in the morning. I'm sure families varied, but I can't imagine a Christian family in that time would have allowed a man and woman to be alone as much as they were in this novel. It's possible, but from what my grandparents have told me, it usually allowed for too much suspicion to be allowed by anyone. It just highly stuck out to me. I'm sure it did happen, but I would imagine it was rare.

The Icecutter's Daughter throws in some twists that will compel, and it's the first book of a series, so if you loved it then you might want to check out the ones to follow. The characters bring up some flaws that we may not commonly feel are that bad, but this book shows how even the tiny things like gossiping can be detrimental to someone.

Rating 5.5. of 10.

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. 

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