I don’t know about you, but I love a good spin-off series. Every story has an end, but when an author takes the people around the main character in one book/series and develops their own story in another, we get to enjoy the characters we’ve grown to love a little longer.
Recently, I finished reading Tracie Peterson’s “Summer of the Midnight Sun,” book #1 in the Alaskan Quest Series. This book released in 2006, but it’s a new discovery to me. It was one that became available for free on Kindle a while back and I couldn’t resist the download. To me, Tracie Peterson is known for writing about the northern regions of our country, but especially Alaska. Two of the Alaskan stories are her Yukon Quest and Alaskan Quest Series. After visiting the Inside Passage last summer on Dr. Stanley’s In Touch Alaska Cruise, I’ve taken an interest in stories set in that area of the world and this is one that did not disappoint.
“Summer of the Midnight Sun” is the story of Leah Barringer and her brother Jacob, who both appeared in Peterson’s Yukon Quest Series. They’re single adults now, living on the coast of the Berring Sea near Last Chance Creek in the Alaska Territory. It’s 1915 and at the age of thirty, Leah is still single and suffering from a heart broken ten years earlier. What a coincidence that the man who broke her heart shows up on her doorstep ready to marry the woman he spurned ten years ago. But it gets better…
Instead of just one romance, we enjoy two in this story. While Jacob Barringer is helping his friend Jayce Kincaid prepare for an Arctic Expedition and possibly win the hand of his sister, a young widow from Washington D.C. by the name of Helaina Beecham, who worked with the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, began her journey north to track down a deadly killer responsible for the death of two of the agency’s men. When all four meet up in Nome, Alaska – things get interesting.
I won’t give the story away, but I’ll say this: if you like a little suspense in a plot that will last longer than the first book, get a copy of “Summer of the Midnight Sun!” When you finish the book, the plot thickens even more and leaves you on a cliffhanger. What I really like about Tracie’s writing is how she can craft a story set in nature’s beauty, bring in an interesting piece of history and wrap it up with a Biblical theme. I, for one, wouldn’t have paired an Alaska love story with a woman doing under-cover detective work, but I couldn’t put this book down!
Helaina is all about justice; she lives to see the law up-held and the guilty condemned no matter what the cost. But in Alaska, she’s presented with a new way of living – mercy. This thirst to set things right gives her lack of discretion in dangerous situations, which ultimately, gets her in trouble. (Well, kidnapped actually.) Jacob, who is her exact opposite, feels that God brought her into his life to show Helaina His ways through mercy. We’ll have to read the second book in the series to see if he succeeds.
Leah, on the other hand, has her own trials to overcome in the story. Has Jayce Kincaid really changed? Does he really love her, or is he just playing with her emotions…again? For ten years Leah hoped for his return, not willing to surrender her heart to any other man, but now that he’s back, she has a decision to make. Leah is a memorable character that I enjoyed very much! She has a tender heart but a strong will. Her relationship with God is very important to her and through the events in the story; you can just feel her godliness seep through the pages. Yet, her tender emotions keep her rattled and frustrated when Jayce arrives. When Jayce is accused of murder, she begins to admit that she has feelings for him and more importantly, realizes that he is a good man who couldn’t possibly be capable of the things blamed him.
Conclusion: This was a wonderful book! The humor was good, the plot thick and the spiritual theme clear. I would consider “Summer of the Midnight Sun” an easy read though there are some heavy topics addressed. Tracie Peterson has the talent for knowing how to keep the humor/entertainment part of the book balanced with the chapters that probe into deep questions like, “When does the responsibility of keeping others safe become unhealthy for people in law enforcement?” “Why is it so hard to forgive people?” “When should laws be set aside and mercy given?” I will also mention that Alaska itself is portrayed well in this book! If you’re interested in how people survived up there and what life was like in the outposts (so to speak) – then this book can also qualify as a little history lesson! Along the way I learned what kind of clothes folks up there wore to keep warm, what kind of houses they lived in and different kinds of transportation they used in the remote parts of the territory (dog sledding and boat). Mixing the setting of the Last Frontier with an intense murder mystery was quite intriguing. This book surprised me – not because I thought it would be bad – but because the story kept me guessing, kept me learning and kept me satisfied to the very last page!
History lovers, people traveling to Alaska who would be interested in learning about how people lived at the turn of the century and anyone who loves a good murder mystery!
I read the Kindle version of this book, published by Bethany House Publishers and was 379 pages in length.
To purchase your own copy of “Summer of the Midnight Sun,” choose an option below…
Paperback —-> available here
Kindle —-> available here
Nook —-> available here
To learn more about the author, visit her website at -> http://traciepetersonbooks.com/