Under a Pole StarBy: Stef Penney
Rating: 3 Stars
Under a Pole Star is set in the time of the first Artic adventurers and their quest to explore and chart unexplored territories.
It is also a love story between two of those explorers, Flora Mackie and Jakob de Beyn.
This story richly describes the time of golden exploration of the Artic Circle in the late 19th Century, and the challenges and dangers explorers of their time faced (think Frostbite, running out of food/oil, slipping into the ice etc).
In addition to this, Flora Mackie, (the book's main protagonist) also has to deal with the misogynistic attitude of her male colleagues on their voyage, especially when she is leading her expedition team.
Flora is stuck in a marriage of convenience when she strikes up a relationship with Jakob de Beyn, an American Artic explorer she meets in the vast wilderness. Despite the fact that they have an instant connection, and eventually fall in love, the rules of English and American society at the time throw a lot of obstacles in their way.
Under a Pole Star is an ambitious novel that paints a wonderfully detailed picture of the Artic Circle. You can really imagine the hardships the explorers went through during their expeditions. The story of Flora and Jakob's love is really well described and over the (quite long) text you really route for them.
I loved the detailed descriptions of the Artic in this book. Stef Penney is a hugely talented writer and really details the Artic exploration sections of the story well.
However, I struggled at times to maintain interest in the sections that focused on the relationship between Flora and Jakob along with the myriad of societal rules that they have to live by. Bigger fans of the romance genre might not experience this but I really wanted the plot to move at a quicker pace in several sections of the story.
I rated this novel as 3 out of 5 stars.