Friday, February 21, 2014

All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

About the book:  Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse Team Up to Deliver a Stunning Depression-Era Drama

Gwyn Hillerman loves being a nurse at her father's clinic on the beautiful Alaskan frontier. But family life has been rough ever since her mother left them, disdaining the uncivilized country and taking Gwyn's younger sister with her.

In Chicago, Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan finds his life suddenly turned upside down when his medical license is stripped away after an affluent patient dies. In a snowball effect, his fiance breaks their engagement. In an attempt to bury the past, Jeremiah accepts Dr. Hillerman's invitation to join his growing practice in the isolated Alaska Territory.

Gwyn and Jeremiah soon recognize a growing attraction to each other. But when rumors of Jeremiah's past begin to surface, they'll need more than love to face the threat of an uncertain future.

My thoughts:  Tracie Peterson has written several books set in Alaska and I have read and enjoyed them. They give me an opportunity to glimpse into territory that I will most likely never have the opportunity to visit. She writes well in the genre of historical fiction, too. So I was looking forward to “All Things Hidden” since it is set in Alaska and is historical fiction. What I did not realize was that I was about to discover an intriguing piece of American depression era history. I learned about President F.D. Roosevelt’s plan (or social experiment) to relocate 200 families from the lower 48 States and preferably those states whose climate most closely matched that of Alaska.

They were transported to the Matanuska Valley in 1935. They lived in tents and had only the short Alaskan summer in which to prepare shelter for their families before the brutal cold of winter set in.

The author has fictionalized this story and set it around the lives of those in the medical community (such as it was) in that area. This consisted primarily of a lone doctor, Dr. Hillerman, and his young adult daughter, Gwyn, whom he had trained to be his nurse. An influx of more than 1,000 people into their isolated community could lead to massive issues as far as patient care and infectious diseases. But there were other problems afoot in this fictionalization of depression period Alaska. Things were not as they seemed as far as individuals were concerned. Things were hidden and secrets were kept.

Young Dr. Jeremiah Vaughan relocates to the Matanuska Valley village because he has lost everything back in Chicago – his license to practice medicine, his fiancĂ©, his potential position as head of a flourishing hospital.

Suspense. Murder. Romance. Intrigue. Fear and faith. Racial tensions. Characters shady and characters superb. Characters you love and those you detest.

Come to Matanuska Valley in Alaska and “see” the people and problems of colonizing Alaska in 1935 at the height of the Great Depression. True this is fiction. But you’ll learn of an interesting social experiment intended to settle Alaska, give relief to hungry and out-of-work Americans, and eventually become a seed to the acquisition of Alaska as a State in the Union.

DISCLOSURE:  A complimentary copy was provided by Bethany House a Division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my review. No compensation was received. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

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