Top critical review
April 30, 2019
There is something so cozy about the whole, "stuck in a cabin with a gorgeous guy, in the middle of an Alaskan winter, with no place to go and nothing to do except have sex" concept that will forever draw me in. It makes me want to kick everybody out of my house, kids and dogs included, and hibernate with my husband for months on end...with nothing but carbs, soft blankets, Netflix, and his naked body.
Unfortunately, Under the Northern Lights gave me none of those things except...wilderness. This was a poorly written, elementary attempt at ?Christian? romance. Had I known it was faith based, it never would have landed on my to-read list, as I have zero appreciation for preachy novels. From the moment Mallory's plane stalled, and she grabbed the cross pendant on her necklace, I had suspicions I was going to dislike this novel. I was, regrettably, correct. But, oddly enough, my distaste wasn't because of the faith-related content. The story never really got preachy. In fact, although there was praying and several God discussions, the religious aspect almost seemed more like a contrived, plot point than something the author was personally pushing. It felt...empty. Regardless, it should have been labeled appropriately.
What I actually ended up disliking were the endless pages of Mallory's internal dialogue...it was like reading a manic's verbal diarrhea--a multitude of thoughts that had no connection, and which were about as interesting as a grocery list.
This book would have majorly benefited from also including Michael's POV. Perhaps it would have added some depth and substance. I'm genuinely befuddled how such a well-established author could have written such a poorly put-together novel. There was zero chemistry between the two protagonists, Mallory was an obnoxious dimwit, there were sections of the story which seemed to lead nowhere and were then left unanswered (i.e. when Mallory lost the 5 gallon bucket in the river, made a big to-do about how much she dreaded telling Michael, and then never did so at all...what was the point?). Beyond that, it was very clunky...the same words and thoughts written over and over and over and over again. So much of this story was extraneous material which should have been cut during the editing process.
I don't necessarily require graphic sex scenes in romance novels. A few are fine, but after awhile, they become tiresome. How many ways can one describe penetration? Having said that, I was dying for something to happen. The middle school-like kissing, then the sudden cessation of said kissing due to intense feelings of guilt, became a total drag. I was intensely bored. How many times can you read about heating bathwater, or checking animals traps? (Side note: I loathe trapping.) Nothing happens. Sure, there is the occasional bear or wolf...but they bring no tension or fear to the story. It reads more like a Lifetime movie.
And don't even get me started on the medical scenarios. Apparently, in Alaska, you heal from a deep puncture wound, one which nearly went through your entire thigh, mind you...in about a week. And infection? What's infection? Michael is a DOCTOR, yet he wasn't worried about an incident which would cause a cesspool of bacteria to be introduced into the bloodstream. And what kind of doctor doesn't keep a stash of antibiotics on hand? Oh, and another question...what did Mallory use for her menstrual cycle? I sincerely doubt Michael had tampons hanging out at his cabin.
Sorry, fellow readers. I genuinely have nothing against romance novels...this particular offering was just so unsuccessfully executed, particularly the lack of development...both in the plot and it's characters...it was laughable at times.
Can't and won't recommend this one.
**Thanks to NetGalley, Montlake Romance, and S.C. Stephens for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.