Publisher and Publication Date: Sourcebooks Landmark. December 1, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. Mystery. Thriller. Suspense. Adventure.
Source: NetGalley e-book. I also purchased the paperback copy at Barnes and Noble. I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction with a cast of females. The story is an adventure and suspense story.
Rating: Very good.
Link at Amazon
Link at Barnes and Noble
There are several YouTube videos about the Franklin expedition team.
The story begins with a trial in the Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston. Virginia Reeves has been charged with one count of kidnapping and death of Caprice Collins. Miss Collins is the daughter of a wealthy Boston family.
Chapter two begins with how Virginia Reeves came to lead a group of women to the Arctic to search for Sir John Franklin. Franklin is the leader of a British Arctic exploration group who left England in 1845. He and his group are missing.
The benefactor of Reeves all female group wants to remain anonymous. Mr. Brooks, who is the envoy, is direct with information and rules, but he explains privacy is important.
The women who join Reeves each have their own stories before the adventure (including Reeves), and a few of them contribute as a narrator voice. Reeves is the main narrator.
It is Virginia Reeves who is the leader of the team and on trial.
I have several thoughts about this story. I actually have mixed feelings about giving the book an excellent rating, so I settled for very good.
What I love about the story is the unique storyline: An all female group of inexperienced Arctic explorers during an age when women were living in a man’s world (and men were not completely familiar with the Arctic). One woman is an adventurer, explorer, and trailblazer. Her experience is in western North America. A second woman states she is a world traveler and adventurer, but she is used to having servants. Their precarious adventure kept me reading to the last page. I want to know what really happened? I want to know why Virginia Reeves is on trial?
I enjoyed the different narrator voices from a few of the women. This gave me a broad perspective of the whole group. It gave me a perspective of Virginia Reeves (instead of being in her thoughts and voice).
And speaking of Virginia Reeves:
Virginia Reeves has a past. She carries guilt, and not just from the Arctic adventure. The story will finally reveal her life in the last chapters.
Virginia is an enigma. She is a different type of woman than most of the women in America in the mid 19th century. She is a bit of a mystery as to why she is the way she is. I felt an investment in her story because I want to understand her character. I want to know her background story.
Virginia harbors a chip on her shoulder. Several times she is snubbed and judged by people (men and women) who dislike her lifestyle, mannerisms, and language. However, the people want to use her particular skills for their advantage.
She comes across as coarse, overly confident, and arrogant. This is not to her benefit because I wondered early on if she was being played?
Bottom line: The Arctic Fury is the story of people and how they act and react to opportunities, events, and hardships. It shows people who in the top crust of society have money to pay others to do their work and to even administer their own justice.
What I dislike about The Arctic Fury.
The adventure and exploration the women took part in changed their lives. For some of them it ended their lives. I expected Virginia Reeves’s character to transform. At the least a character change. I feel to make the story believable she’d be physically scarred in some way. Some of the survivors had scars. Why not Virginia?
Another female character who I did not like through most of the story had a big transformation. She rose above the others and I admire her. This also gave the story a twist. A transformation in a character I didn’t like but now find remarkable and memorable. In the end who is the real heroine?
I did not learn about the clothing and supplies the women had for their trip. These things are remarked in passing (not in-depth).
I want to read about the scenery. The descriptions of the Arctic is brief. To me, the Arctic is a gigantic and untamed character. It is worthy of vivid and graphic description that makes a deep impression.