North of Hope Book Review

in , , , , , , , by Linda A Kinsman, Thursday, April 18, 2013
I am an avid reader, usually having more than one book started at any given time, so I was pleased to partner with Handelbar Publishing via to review books.
This is my first ARC (advanced reading copy) book, which was sent to me free of charge to facilitate this review. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions are 100% my own.

About the book:
Synopsis: courtesy:
When Shannon Huffman Polson’s parents are killed by a wild grizzly bear in Alaska’s Arctic, her quest for healing is recounted with heartbreaking candor in North of Hope, as she retraces her parents’ final days along an Arctic river searching for her own sense of peace and meaning in the journey.


About the Author
Shannon Polson lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. She was a contributing writer to More Than 85Broads, and her work has appeared in Seattle and Alaska Magazines, Cirque Journal, Adventure Magazine, and Trachodon, among others. Polson graduated with a B.A. from Duke University in English Literature, an M.B.A. from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and an M.F.A. from Seattle Pacific University. She served eight years as an attack helicopter pilot in the Army and worked five years in corporate marketing and management roles before turning to writing full time. Please visit Shannon’s website to learn more.

My Review:
I am a fan of an eclectic blend of book genres, usually picking stories from the synopsis, rather than genre alone. When first approached to review North of Hope, I read the synopsis for it and thought “I will love this book”. But I didn’t.  I only liked it and only some parts. 
While Shannon Polson had a very moving and  cathartic journey to share in North of Hope, I found it dragged in several places.

To me, it seemed the author would get lost in the sharing of information about bears, or indigenous Alaskan people. So much so, that I would have to go back and re-read previous paragraphs to pick up the context of her first thought.
This particular writing style made it slow going, and I found myself growing tired of reading North of Hope after a chapter or two. I just couldn’t sync up to this author’s writing style and felt I slogged through this book.
I did finish it, but will confess to skimming over passages that felt more like “teachable moments”.
 One of my favorite passages, which spoke right to my heart, was: “How can we ever begin to appreciate the full depth of each moment? Is there any way not to look back on those last conversations, last meetings, wishing we had let them seep into us completely”?
While North of Hope was not my ideal read, there were enough bright spots and eloquent writing that I do favorably recommend it to those who may be experiencing the untimely death of a loved one. I also recommend watching the video , which may help you decide if this book is right for you. 

As always, I hope you found this book review helpful. I strive to offer my true and honest opinion on everything I review here. Stay tuned for more book reviews soon! 


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  1. love that passage... thanks for the great review! looks very interesting!

  2. So refreshing to read a truly honest review! I am wary of reviews where the reviewer receives the item for free because I assume there is an implicit bias in favor of the item. Ironically, because of your candid description of what you didn't like about the book, I immediately thought of a few people I know who would LOVE it! Thanks for writing a genuinely helpful review!

  3. Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for your supportive comment.
    Have a wonderful day!

  4. Corinne,

    Your comment just made my day! Thank you for your honest comment on my honest review. I strive to work from a place of professionalism and integrity. A comment such as this from a fellow blogger means a great deal. It and you are appreciated!

  5. It's always good to be honest in your reviews. I feel like I'd rather someone know all the facts before they spend money on something I didn't like! This sounds like it has a good plot, but that the execution was lacking.

  6. This is a great review.. Thank you for sharing..

  7. Hi Christy,

    Thank you for your supportive comment.Feedback from readers is important to me. :-)

  8. Hi Kelly,

    You are welcome! I'm glad you found my review helpful.


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