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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

From Manchester to the Arctic (Author: Sheena Billett)

From Manchester to the Arctic (Book Cover)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Adventure

From Manchester To The Arctic By Sheena Billett

#voraciousreadersonly #ebooks Connie needed to escape her life, get away from the demands of her job, from the reminders of a relationship that never happened, from the expectations of her emotionally detached & ever practical parents.

As she flew over the Artic nearing the settlement at which she was to spend the next 12 months, Connie began to wonder if this was all too big a commitment & if she'd bitten off more than she could realistically chew.

On arrival, she is introduced to everyone by way of the Reverend Brooks who, from his expression, appears to be trying to ascertain whether she will be up to the job in hand with a weary synical politeness. She knew immediately that Paul would be a challenge after a very hostile first meeting. Elizabeth seemed friendly enough & she was relieved to see at least one friendly face. Connie is taken rather by surprise when, days later Daisy bursts into her house ('We just walk into each other's houses here') & she is consumed with the feelings she had for Helen.

Within the weeks & months that follow & with the help of her Inuit nursing assistant who also acts as her translator, the young nurse starts to grow in confidence, even managing to stand up to Paul.

But when she attempts to improve the quality of life of the youngest member of the small community, she is met with fiery resistance from her parents, the Reverend & his wife & when Paul learns of the confrontation it quickly descends into a war of prejudice that effects not only the small community of Westerners but the trust of the Inuits. Can she save her bond with Daisy, her job & win back her colleagues, friends & the indigenous people that she has come to know & love.

This novel was my first foray into using e-books. I've always avoided them previously preferring to read a tangible & old fashioned paper back (or hard back if there really is no other choice), but after spotting an advert for 'Voracious Readers Only' (from which I have to mention that I received a complimentary copy from the author) & looking at my bank account - I try to always buy the cheapest option on Amazon only (note to self, I really must look into the library thing!) I decided that this was a good option....& it is, as long as you charge your phone twice a day.....Anyway, back to the book. From Manchester To The Arctic really is best described as 'a big warm' hug of a story. That's how it felt for me anyway.

It was quite unlike any other book I'd read set in desolate white wilderness that sounded so picturesque. Elizabeth is so warm & welcoming, referring to each other as their 'Arctic mother & daughter'. She introduces Connie to the highs & lows of life in an Arctic settlement & I loved the relationship between them. Also the relationship between Connie & Ilannaq & the kindness shown from her Inuit family. Even if it was initially a bit like going through a bush tucker trial initially!

It was really interesting to read about the lifestyle of the Inuit's back then (the 1970's). It being loosely based on a real person, that person being the author's partner, makes me keen to find out more about the author's life.

Connie arrives at the settlement with an idealistic image of what life should be like for the Inuit people. She quickly learns that the Westerners & Canadian Government are trying to change how they live & is angry at some of the ways in which this is being done. She is naive to their way of life & is perplexed at some of their practices.

As a reader, I was equally shocked as Connie but it was an eye opener. This has also made me want to know more & further my knowledge. This story is definitely an educator. There is a very funny bit where Connie has a conversation with her parents over the CB radio where her mother struggles to understand the terminology used. Made me smile.

I genuinely did not want this book to end & thought that the author using the Epilogue in the way she did to move the life of the central character on & let us know more about what happened to her & several of the characters was very clever, even if I was saddened to learn the fate of one of them.

I am pleased to have found another author whose books I enjoy & will certainly be reading more of her novels....& more e-books.

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