I was hooked on The Arctic Fury the second I read the synopsis. An all-female expedition to the Arctic in the mid-1800s to find some lost sailors, sign me up now! Thankfully, this book lived up to the hype I created in my head. The courageous, yet slightly flawed adventurer, Virginia Reeve, is contacted by Lady Jane Franklin to lead a group of twelve women up to the Arctic to try and find her lost husband. The group comprises women from all backgrounds, from servants to explorers to wealthy women, and they must all depend on one another’s skills and resilience to overcome the trials of an Arctic expedition. The book jumps back and forth from the expedition to the murder trial of Virginia for her role in the death of one of the women.
The Arctic Fury starts off a little slow as the members of the expedition are selected. Virginia learns a little about each woman’s background, but for the most part has very little interaction with the women before they head out on their voyage. The path is tedious, and they face dangers that even the most experienced women on the expedition cannot be prepared for. Around midway through the book, the Arctic experience really takes off. I really wanted more of this part if I am honest. I loved the parts of the book that detailed the everyday experiences of trying to make your way in the frozen wild, and I wish there was more written on the experiences of the women in this atmosphere.
The second major component of the book is the trial of Virginia. This gives a great account of murder trials during the mid-1800s and the issues that befall the convicted. Virginia is given a mediocre-at-best lawyer and is basically forced to watch herself be convicted without any say in the matter. As the events and characters come into the trial, the book switches back to the expedition as a nice segway. I enjoyed this transition and felt deeply for Virginia each step of her trial. This book hooked me mid-way through and I couldn’t wait to hear the story of Virginia and the women of the first female-lead Arctic expedition!
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