Title: Beyond the Wild River
Author: Sarah Maine
Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: April 18, 2017
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Nineteen-year-old Evelyn
Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish
Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her
father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business—and affairs of
another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her
boredom and resentment behind good manners—so when an innocent
friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit
union, Evelyn is appalled.
Yet the consequence is a welcome one:
she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where
they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and
conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now
is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and
reconnect with her father.
Once they’re on the Nipigon, however,
Evelyn is shocked to discover that their guide is James Douglas, the
former stable hand and her one-time friend who disappeared from the
estate after the shootings of a poacher and a gamekeeper. Many had
assumed that James had been responsible, but Evelyn never could believe
it. Now, in the wilds of a new world, far from the constraints of polite
society, the truth about that day, James, and her father will be
revealed…to stunning consequences."
My Two Cents:
"Beyond the Wild River" is an atmospheric historical fiction tale set in Scotland and then in North America, both the United States and Canada. Our main character Evelyn sees the trip from Scotland to the U.S. and Canada as a way to both have an adventure and show her father that she is mature and can be trusted. This new world will hold secrets to the past that Evelyn could have never expected.
I was attracted to this book because of the mention of the World's Fair in Chicago. I am so intrigued by the World's Fair and was interested in how the author would portray it and whether or not it would echo anything else that I have read. The author certainly adds a lot of detail to this story. The detail sometimes took away from the story itself but most of the detail was quite interesting. I especially liked the rich description of the Canadian wilderness, a relatively new setting for me.
It took me a very long time to get into the story. Evelyn seems very young in the beginning of the book and naive to the point of feeling younger than her 19 years. I think this is one reason I had a hard time getting into the story. I thought that there were a handful of scenes in the beginning of the book that could have been streamlined in order to capture the reader's attention faster.
Overall, I liked the setting of the book but wished for more fast paced action.