Friday, September 21, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: AN ECHO THROUGH THE SNOW



I had a chance to read several fabulous books recently. Polar opposites in genre, but that’s okay—I love the variety! 


Those who know me are well aware of my love of animals (currently I have three horses, six dogs, and a dozen cats; not to mention raising food animals) and I have quite a few of them. Living on a twenty-five acre ranch in the middle of nowhere, I can indulge that love. I love them all and I spend more time with my animals than I do people.

In my family home was a collection of Jim Kjelgaard’s books they were dog-eared and well read. I loved his books. A favorite, aside from Stormy, was about a husky named Churi (Snow Dog and Wild Trek). I think that’s when a 10 year old fell in love with hard working huskies. Of course, the stories were told from both the point of view of the dogs involved and human characters. Books like these were an adventure indeed.

I’ve always admired and respected huskies as a breed. They’re incredible dogs, loyal to a fault, protective, incredibly smart, and hard working. I’ve seen them joyously race in front of sleds and there is nothing like the sound of racing huskies ready to run. 

If you want to see what it looks like and give you a feel for the incredible speeds these dogs can do, take a look at this video on You Tube. Now imagine being the one on the sled.

I've had huskies and husky-wolves. I didn’t race them but it was fun teaching them how to pull. When my son was born, I had two. They were around until he was 9 and they were protective and so patient with his little self.

Today, I want to share a great read from Debut author, Andrea Thalasinos. Forge Publicity approached me about a new author, and her haunting story racing huskies. I couldn’t resist reading it.


BUY: AMAZON, B&N
AN ECHO THROUGH THE SNOW 
Rosalie MacKenzie is headed nowhere until she sees Smokey, a Siberian husky suffering from neglect. Rosalie finds the courage to rescue the dog, and—united by the bond of love that forms between them—they save each other. 
Soon Rosalie and Smokey are immersed in the world of competitive dogsled racing. Days are filled with training runs, the stark beauty of rural Wisconsin, and the whoosh of runners on snow. Rosalie discovers that behind the modern sport lies a tragic history: the heartbreaking story of the Chukchi people of Siberia. When Stalin’s Red Army displaced the Chukchi in 1929, many were killed and others lost their homes and their beloved Guardians—the huskies that were the soul and livelihood of their people. 
Alternating between past and present, telling of a struggling Chukchi family and a young woman discovering herself, An Echo Through The Snow takes readers on a gripping, profound, and uplifting dogsled ride to Iditarod and beyond, on a journey of survival and healing.  
 
My thoughts:
 An Echo Through The Snow is a rich, emotion packed debut by an author who both loves and understands huskies and how that special bond between human and animal can change your life. Anyone who has rescued an animal will tell you that you’ve won that animal’s love and loyalty through that one act of kindness. Animals know.

 So it is with Rosalie Mackenzie when she rescues Smokey, a half starved and neglected Siberian husky. He’s known very little love and kindness in his world. Rosalie can relate because she’s in the same boat. You might say they rescue one another and both learn to heal from past wounds to the soul and spirit. They regain the courage to see their self worth and enable them to embrace life and the joys it offers. That one act of kindness brings Rosie from aimless existence to a focused life as she comes into contact with others who love the breed and race them.

There is another, older, story that intertwines with Rosie’s love of her dogs. The story is of a Chukchi native, Jaantaa, from Siberia. The Chukchi viewed the Husky as Sacred Guardians—the soul and livelihood of the Chukchi people. Jaantaa’s story is about her trying to save her beloved guardians from massacre by the Red Army in 1929.

Both Rosie and Jaantaa are connected through the huskies. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but there is a real connection—an echo through time and snow.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It touches your emotions and makes you both laugh and cry. The author creates very vivid characters (like Tariem, Cheyuga, Arlan, Jan and Dave—loved Doc). She shares her own love of sled racing and the huskies that run those races. She puts you on the spot to receive the love from these magnificent dogs—giving new meaning to dog pile—and on the runners of the sled as it races through the snow.

Fabulous and engaging read!      
 

4 comments:

Kat Sheridan said...

This does indeed sound like a wonderful story. I love when there are two stories in a book, the past echoing in the present. Sounds like the author did an excellent job! Great review!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know someone who would enjoy that book!

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey,

I would sooo love to own a Husky, but will have to wait 'till the three boys get old enough so *they* are the ones able to take responsibility for the puppy :)

PS... you had me laughing with your Barbara Taylor Calwell comment: "I swear I've never seen an author who could write PAGES describing a leaf falling or a meadow."

How true - and how funny :) Cheers for the Friday laughs :)

Liza said...

This sounds like a unique and intriguing storyline. I'm writing it down to add to my list.