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The Arctic Fury

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In early 1853, experienced California Trail guide Virginia Reeve is summoned to Boston by a mysterious benefactor who offers her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: lead a party of 12 women into the wild, hazardous Arctic to search for the lost Franklin Expedition. It’s an extraordinary request, but the party is made up of extraordinary women. Each brings her own strengths and skills to the expedition- and her own unsettling secrets. A year and a half later, back in Boston, Virginia is on trial when not all of the women return. Told in alternating timelines that follow both the sensational murder trial in Boston and the dangerous, deadly progress of the women’s expedition into the frozen North, this heart-pounding story will hold readers rapt as a chorus of voices answer the trial’s all-consuming question: what happened out there on the ice?

408 pages, Paperback

First published December 1, 2020

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About the author

Greer Macallister

4 books867 followers
This author is also published under the pen name G.R. Macallister.

Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. Her novels GIRL IN DISGUISE (“a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read” - Booklist) and WOMAN 99 (“a nail biter that makes you want to stand up and cheer” - Kate Quinn) were inspired by pioneering 19th-century private detective Kate Warne and fearless journalist Nellie Bly, respectively. Her latest book, THE ARCTIC FURY, was named an Indie Next and Library Reads pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a spotlighted new release at PopSugar, Libro.fm, and Goodreads. A regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books, she lives with her family in Washington, DC.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,334 reviews
Profile Image for Fran.
640 reviews587 followers
November 20, 2020
"Lady Jane Franklin, The Woman Who Fueled 19th Century Polar Exploration...determined and dedicated to the sciences, she dispatched many a vessel to the Arctic."
-Lauren Young February 23, 2017 [Atlas Obscura]

Lady Jane financed a series of polar missions to search for her husband, famed explorer Sir John Franklin, who failed to return home after setting sail in 1845 to search for a Northwest Passage. "Each...failed expedition [to find Sir John] had been conceived by men, run by men, peopled by men entire". According to Lady Jane, "women can do far more than the narrow lens of society deems fitting". To this end, Virginia Reeve, a guide in "the wilds beyond the eastern edge of America...on the frontier..." was selected by Lady Jane in this work of historical fiction. "I propose you lead an expedition to the North to bring back my husband...a great man...the world does not yet recognize his triumph". "To return successful from [the voyage], with full knowledge of the fate of John Franklin, or God willing, John Franklin himself".

After agreeing to lead the journey, Virginia Reeve was excited and thrilled "to seek this lost man and his company and find them when no one else could. The impossibility of it was exactly the allure. She should focus on where she was and where she'd be going, not where she'd been...a fresh start...the lingering ghosts of her past... blessedly invisible". Lady Jane would deny any knowledge of this twelve woman expedition she had funded unless they returned triumphant. All preparations would be made through her envoy, Brooks. Eight women had been preselected and Virginia was only allowed to choose the remaining participants. The women chosen included a navigator, a mountaineer, a battlefield nurse, a journalist and a breeder/trainer of sled dogs. Caprice Collins, mountaineer, had a malicious laugh and a condescending attitude. Virginia told her that they would be miles from "ballrooms and silk dancing slippers". "You, Miss Collins, are an arrogant, empty-headed fool...Come to the Arctic, disobey me on the ice, and I'll lay odds you'll never come back".

Massachusetts Superior Court, 1854. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts versus Miss Virginia Reeve. The charges: "One count of kidnapping and one count of murder in the death of Caprice Collins. "Five survivors choose to sit in the front row". "The five survivors...she fears the words they may speak when called upon later- not to mention the words of those who chose not to sit in the front row, some with damaging, dark things to say, true or otherwise...". Additionally, "Virginia wants certain survivors to stay away from this trial. She must protect the secrets that are not and never were hers to reveal". In alternating chapters, the women's journey battling the bitter cold Arctic in 1853 is revealed and the subsequent trial of Virginia in 1854.

"The Arctic Fury" by Greer Macallister is a riveting work of historical fiction. "Witnesses could do equal harm to [Virginia] through what they said and what they failed to say". "If she and the rich girl [Caprice] sniped...in the calm peace of an overstuffed parlor, how fiercely would their tempers flare when things got rough?" Author Macallister had created a wondrous novel of women's strength and endurance in blistering Arctic weather interlaced with a compelling trial in the aftermath of the journey. "They started in such ambitious optimism...which are the luckier? The ones who came back or the ones who didn't?" Highly recommended.

Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
March 13, 2021
3.5 stars
Twelve women. The arctic circle. One death.

Virginia Reeves, a trail guide, has brought over 400 people across the west in the 1850s.

Franklin, a mysterious benefactor, wants Virginia to guide twelve women to the arctic to search for several missing persons.

She has to trek across hardships and terrifying circumstances. Entwined with this tale is the aftermath - where Virginia is on trial (not all of the 12 women make it out alive).

Simultaneously she's on trial during the "present" storyline for one count of kidnapping and murder.

As details are slowly revealed, her past comes back to haunt her. And she soon finds herself sinking...

To be honest, this one wasn't nearly what I hoped. I wanted a really gritty survival and it just wasn't it.

The characters felt bland, I couldn't sink into the historical aspect of it. It wasn't for me.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,738 reviews14.1k followers
September 26, 2020
Love novels set in cold places and consider the Arctic one of the last pure places on our planet. A novel and imaginative plot, blending history with a trial and the strength of women.

Jane Franklin hires Virginia, a young woman who has worked as a guide, bringing over 400 people safely to the West. It is the 1850s and women are seldom admired for their strength. Franklin wants to hire Virginia to lead a team of women to the Arctic to search for John Franklin, his men and two ships. She accepts the challenge and what follows are events that will forever change her life, as well as the other women in her party.

The novel goes from one location, to another. We get a good look at life aboard the ship, of conditions and the struggles the women face in the Arctic. Deaths, heartbreak and friendships that will endure.These women are formidable and I enjoyed getting to know them. What happens in this cold climate will have severe repurcussions for Virginia. Also a hidden secret of hers, which I thought quite clever of the author, will be revealed.

Quite entertaining and definitely immersive. Read it right through and avidly at that.

ARC from Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Debbie W..
726 reviews491 followers
March 12, 2021
An all-female crew, led by wilderness guide, Virginia Reeve, who is allegedly hired by Lady Jane Franklin to find her husband and the lost Franklin Expedition, only to be tried for murder a year later, is the premise of this fascinating historical fiction story.

The alternating timelines, which occur a year apart, tie in quite cohesively with each other.

The setting, like the story, is freezing cold, brutally harsh and unforgiving.

An eclectic mix of characters (some likeable, some not) tell a captivating tale, at times reminding me of a "Survivor" episode, but with extremely dire consequences. Personally, I found Virginia's character (at least on this audiobook) to be abrupt, cold, bordering on rude; however, I still rooted for her.

This story, which brings together two historical man vs. nature catastrophes, is one of hardship, betrayal, survival and loyalty.

What really happened out there in the Arctic? I recommend that you bring a warm blanket and a steaming cup of tea while you take a seat to read and/or listen to find out!
Profile Image for Liz.
2,028 reviews2,537 followers
January 1, 2023
I started listening to The Arctic Fury during the midst of a cold snap and my initial thoughts were all focused on how they managed the cold. The book takes place in 1853-54, long before polartec and other modern inventions. MacAllister does a great job of putting you in the time and place.
It’s a fictional tale, but is based on the very real premise that Lady Jane Franklin sponsored several expeditions to find her husband after he went missing looking for the Northwest Passage. The idea is that one of those expeditions was made up solely of women.
The story alternates between the expedition and a trial that ensues when one of the women, a very rich young woman, fails to come back. Her parents accuse the leader of the expedition, Virginia Reeves, of kidnapping and murder. We hear primarily from Virginia, but each of the women also gets a chapter. With a team of 12, there are a lot of voices to hear from. Each woman has her own strengths and weaknesses and MacAllister makes each one come alive.
There are multiple sources of suspense - who will live, how will they be saved, why was the benefactress of the mission willing to let Virginia be charged, will Virginia be found guilty and what was the dramatic event in Virginia’s past. This is a dark tale and not for the faint of heart. While it’s not a fast paced story, I still sped through this story, finishing the 12 hours in three days.
Eva Kaminisky was a great narrator and heightened my enjoyment of the story.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,138 followers
January 9, 2021
2.5 Stars.


Well shoot! I was all ready to hunker down and read about an Arctic expedition, but got a story that begins in an 1853 Boston courtroom with a murder trial that reveals within the first couple of pages who lost their lives! Very disappointing start.

THE ARCTIC FURY is an experimental expedition of twelve diverse women commissioned by historic figure, Lady Jane Franklin, for the purpose of locating or finding out the truth about her missing husband and the Franklin expedition. Thus, she hires experienced explorer, Virginia Reeve to seek him out hoping where men have failed, perhaps women would succeed in the wild, hazardous Arctic? (Honestly, I kept picturing these young women in split skirts and high heels.)

Anyway, lack of descriptive dress code and preparedness was the second thing that bugged me. I also expected an atmospheric adventure story with more ice/snow time and less ho-hum courtroom jail cell banter.

Don't get me wrong, I found some good in this story....several secrets and plot twists surface, (some good, some inane) and there's a flashback story with relevance, but, unfortunately, "the very bad thing" verbiage had zero impact. The last 30% of the novel was the best part for me resulting in a round-up in my rating, but.....

Overall, too little, too late.

Profile Image for Annette.
766 reviews340 followers
July 31, 2020
Captain Sir John Franklin was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer of the Arctic. His last expedition known as Franklin’s lost expedition (1845-1846) was followed by many searches. One of them (fictional) gives ground for this story.

Boston, 1854. Virginia Reeve is accused of “one count of kidnapping and one count of murder” of Caprice Collins, fellow explorer.

A year and a half earlier, Virginia arrives at Tremond House in Boston where she meets with Lady Jane Franklin. Lady Jane wants her missing husband back and she is forming an expedition composed of women only. Why? “Women can do far more than the narrow lens of society deems fitting.” Lady Jane believes that Virginia, once a guide in California, has the skill and strength for this kind of expedition and to be its leader of twelve women.

The proceedings at the court are intertwined with the process of choosing the women for the expedition and what value they bring, and how the expedition progresses.

The characters are interestingly developed, revealing their thoughts and feelings in alternating voices. Among them, an observant illustrator, who hopes to be the first one to record the flora of the Arctic. In whatever form it exists since she was never asked to join an expedition to an exotic place with lush vegetation.

Once the women disembark the ship and start trekking on land, then there is some sense of place and cold. But I wished for much more of that. The hardship of the Arctic expedition and its fury comes towards the end. And that’s what I was looking forward to experience in this story. I wished it was a bit more of that and started earlier.

Nevertheless, the story is masterfully woven with court proceedings and arctic expedition involving engrossing characters. You want to know what happens next. Who will be revealed next taking part in the expedition or who will be called next as a witness in the courtroom.

The skillful writing is reflected in the whole story and it also comes through with especially one character, which is not so likeable at the beginning. But once she shows her strength in hard conditions and caring side and defends her situation, then she becomes very likeable. Also, I usually do not like to read about court proceedings, but again the skill with which it is presented makes it very absorbing.

Incredibly crafted story of inspiring characters, we deeply care for, bringing one of a kind adventure.

P.S. Kudos to cover designer(s) for beautiful cover.

Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,478 reviews603 followers
December 26, 2020
This is the first book I have read by Greer MacAllister, and it has inspired me to look for her other works of historical fiction. The cover was beautiful and eye-catching. I was mesmerized by this gripping novel inspired by two historical events. It was evident that much research went into this book. Real women of the era also inspired the development of the characters, although none of these people ever journeyed into the Arctic. In two major alternate timelines, we learn the story of an Arctic expedition by an extraordinary group of brave and diverse females, and later a compelling and suspenseful murder trial in Boston over a year following their northern journey.

In 1853, Lady Jane Franklin summons Virginia Reeve and gives her a once in a lifetime offer. She has been disappointed that four expeditions led by men have returned after meeting with failure. Virginia is offered the position of leading an all-woman Arctic search party to discover what became of her husband, Sir John Franklin, his two lost ships and his crew. If they succeed, their reward will be greatly enriching. If the women fail, Lady Franklin will deny the expedition ever existed under her sponsorship and disappear from history. There will be no reward for the group.

Virginia is known to have an adventurous spirit. She was a trail guide who led settlers westward through the American frontier's rough terrain and mountain passes to Oregon and California. Lady Franklin has selected most of the women for the expedition. Virginia is permitted to choose only two.
However, what was planned to be a group of twelve becomes an unlucky number thirteen when an extra woman is stealthily taken onboard.

These women have diverse abilities and skills, different social and economic backgrounds, and clashing personalities. Virginia is venturesome and courageous but has doubts about her ability to meld these women into a cohesive group essential in enduring the hazardous and deadly Arctic. She reflects on a previous 'Very Bad Thing' in her past, which haunts her and has shattered her self-confidence. Was the Very Bad Thing the accidental death of a dear friend and confidant on the trail? Or is her secret something much more sinister? The recurrent event that traumatized Virginia is slowly revealed, and it is shocking. The author cleverly hints at a connection to another actual historical event.

Very few of the group have a venturous spirit and lack athletic skills but hope to prove themselves in a mans' world. Some are escaping their past or are hoping to improve future prospects. They are all bold and brave. Once the women depart on their voyage northward, they must endure sexism and scorn from the men on the ship. The men despise the idea of 19th-century women asserting themselves in a role not approved by society. There is also racism toward the ship's captain, and the dislike may lead to mutiny by the crew.

After reaching their destination, they must proceed on foot through the harsh and treacherous Arctic landscape. The beauty of the north, as well as their dangerous trek, is vividly described. You can feel the chill. They will suffer near starvation, frostbite, blizzards, and endure the long winter darkness in the cold. Not all will survive. The characters are memorable, and so well-drawn they leap off the page.

I can see this story being made into a scenic, exciting blockbuster movie if the characters are well cast. That is if large screen movies ever return. A more extended TV series might be better at bringing out the personalities and show the women changing and coming together through hardship and tragedy. The story contains conflict, suspense, mystery, human drama, friendships, and an atmospheric sense of place. The courtroom trial is intense and seems to be set up to end badly for the accused.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy adventure and survival stories and courtroom trials. This book will rank highly among my favourites for 2020.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,127 reviews30.3k followers
January 27, 2021
Greer Macallister’s newest historical novel highlights Virginia Reeve, a California Trail tour guide who is offered the opportunity to lead a group of twelve women into the untamed Arctic in search of a missing expedition of people.

A year later, Virginia is on trial when a woman is missing from the search party on its return.

Strong women- check, an adventure- big, gigantic check, strong writing, tension, a mystery; it’s all there! I felt like I was along for the ride with this expedition. I think historical fiction fans will love this one. I sure did!

I received a gifted copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Anna Avian.
427 reviews54 followers
December 29, 2020
I was expecting an atmospheric and thrilling story about the formidable willpower and resilience of female explorers, determined against all odds to go on an expedition into the Arctic. Sadly, this was anything but that.
Most of the female characters felt very one-dimensional and fade into the background.
There was a complete lack of descriptions of the Arctic, details on the women’s time ‘on the ice’, how they spent months alone in the wilderness, how they hunted together. There weren’t any details regarding their thoughts, fears and emotions. The focus was more on the social norms and appropriate behavior of women during the 19th century than actual survival.
This is ultimately a story about a trial and a woman who has given up hope of being acquitted of a crime she did not commit. The courtroom scenes dragged very slowly and were often annoying and overly dramatic. Everything is eventually revealed in the last 10% of the book and by that time the plot twists have become predictable. The ending felt rushed and mundane.
Profile Image for Kerrin .
293 reviews230 followers
December 6, 2020
**Now Available**
The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister begins in October 1854 in the Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston. Virginia Reeve is on trial for the kidnapping and murder of Caprice Collins, a wealthy Boston adventurer. As she gazes out into the courtroom, she sees five (5) women on the front row, who are there to support her. They too are survivors of the failed arctic expedition that resulted in Caprice Collins’ death. The Collins family controls a local newspaper, and the stories have called Virginia “The Arctic Fury”.

The novel then goes back to April 1853 when Virginia is mysteriously asked by Lady Jane Franklin ( a real historical figure) to lead a group of 11 other women on an arctic expedition to find her missing husband, Sir John Franklin, a British naval explorer. Lady Franklin thinks a group of women might find success where the British navy has failed. As it turns out, Caprice Collins decides to bring her maid, making the number an unlucky 13. Lady Jane is very careful to make sure that there is no evidence of her involvement. After their initial meeting, all communication is done through her male associate, Brooks. None of the other women chosen met either Lady Jane or Brooks.

At the time of trial, Lady Jane, who is in England, denies knowing Virginia or funding the expedition. Unfortunately, Virginia’s appointed attorney was most likely paid for by the Collins family and is entirely incompetent. As the trial progresses, the novel's chapters go back and forth between it and the expedition, until the real truth is finally revealed. The reader also learns why Virginia and the other women would want to go on such a journey to this frozen land. For most, it is much more than the reward money if they succeed.

5-Stars for this combination of suspense and legal thriller. Book Club recommended. This book will be published on December 1, 2020. Thanks to #Netgalley and #Sourcebooks Landmark for my advanced reader copy.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,229 reviews1,278 followers
December 16, 2020
"Men," said Lady Franklin, not with rancor but still investing the word with a sharp importance. "Each of these failed expeditions has been conceived by men, run by men, peopled by men entire."

Lady Jane Franklin has made an offer to the adventurous Virginia Reeve to take up the challenge of locating the lost crew of her husband in the Arctic. The explorers manned (Did I actually say that?) by Lord Franklin and his ship mates has not been heard from in some time. Lady Jane fears the worst but needs proof of their demise.

Greer Macallister introduces us to Virginia Reeve at this point and leaves Virginia in the shadows of her elusive background. Macallister cracks open only a slight slit into Virginia's qualifications into such a heavy undertaking. She does reveal that Virginia has made her bones in Westward treks all the way to California and isn't afraid to take on a direct prodding to her sense of adventure in the 1850's.

But Lady Jane has set her own boundaries in the lead-up to this new expedition. It must include a dozen women.....the majority of them hand picked by Lady Jane herself. This exasperates Virginia as to Lady Jane's particular choices. Virginia holds the responsibility in her own hands regardless of Lady Jane's decisions. And here lies the jagged pieces that must mesh in order to make this expedition successful.

If you've read Greer Macallister's Woman 99, you know that Macallister possesses a superb handle on turning out characters with backstories and wills of iron. She lets droplets of dark secrets permeate her storyline in the most unexpected ways. We'll find out hidden nuggets about Virginia as this story widens its scope. Macallister flips the story back and forth from Virginia's previous life to the present. Then she leads the readers to a crashing crescendo of a courtroom trial involving Virginia holding the remnants of this ill-fated expedition.

"If someone slapped her, she could slap them back. Not that violence conducted by women was considered acceptable by men in any case, but if she'd learned anything on this journey, it was that when women stopped worrying about what was acceptable and what wasn't, they were capable of nearly anything."

No truer words ever spoken.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,960 reviews485 followers
December 13, 2020
Thanks to Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh, this was such a great story! Ever since I read Woman 99, I have been hoping to read another Greer Macallister historical fiction. I loved the concept of an all women's arctic expedition to search for Sir John Franklin and his crew in the 1850s. The second major storyline of the novel is a sensational murder when one of the women is put on trial, accused of murdering another member of the expedition.

As the novel bounces back and forth between the journey and the trial, I was amazed at how easily the author manages to give us the viewpoints of all twelve women while also never forsaking the voice of Virginia Reeve, the main protagonist. Hands down, Virginia Reeve is my favourite protagonist of 2020! The novel focuses on issues of class structure, sexuality, race and ultimately women's struggle to be themselves and not what society dictates of them. The best part of the novel for me was as members of the expedition head out across the frozen tundra and how they must struggle to survive while also trying to learn to work together.

To say more about what I loved even if I just alluded would be too spoiler-ish in nature, but maybe I could just say I liked how the author uses her storyline to refer to something else in history. How's that for vague? Although this one does ask for us to consider the possibilities of " if this could have happened," it certainly satisfied my thirst for a good "adventure novel."

Goodreads review published 13/12/20
Publication Date 01/12/20

Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,967 reviews676 followers
December 16, 2020
I love this adventure story! I may be biased. I also adore the cover AND the title. I love stories with this backdrop - winter, ice, and snow.

The majority of the characters are female (all female Arctic group of 13) and the elite Lady Franklin who financed the expedition. The story is told in two timelines; during the Arctic journey and a year later in Boston court where Virginia, the women's expedition leader is on trial for murder.

The expedition to find what became of the original group led by Lord Franklin and his sailors didn't make a whole lot of sense. Prior to the all female group there were four other failed attempts so... we'll show them? Yea okay... Most of these ladies have no experience whatsoever.

There's no in depth survival story. But for entertainment this was good. I did like the twist and the ending.

I do want to read The Terror, Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition and Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time. If you know other great books about the Franklin Expedition please leave a comment! ❤️🙏🏻
Profile Image for Karren  Sandercock .
775 reviews152 followers
December 5, 2020
In 1853, Virginia Reeve is summoned to Boston by Lady Jane Franklin and she wants her to lead a group of 12 women to the Arctic. Virginia has experience as a guide leading travelers to Oregon and this is a totally different kind of journey into one of the world’s harshest environments.
Lady Franklin expects the women to find her lost husband Sir John Franklin, his expedition party and two missing ships.

Each of the women is picked for their individual skills; it’s a real mixture of ages, personalities and backgrounds. How would such a diverse group of women get along and would they be able to be formed into a tight and united group needed to undertake such a hazardous trip? The story has an alternating timeline it goes between the journey to the Arctic and eighteen months later in Boston where Virginia is on trial accused of kidnapping and murdering socialite Caprice Collins.

The trip north requires meticulous planning; the women will travel some of the way by ship and walk the rest of the way overland. In such an arduous place the women will be pushed to the absolute physical limit, they face huge mental obstacles, past events will haunt them and what really happened miles from civilization and in the frozen barren place? The Arctic Fury has the perfect combination of drama, suspense, mystery and some sinister hints or implications to create an interesting historical fiction story; I highly recommend reading it and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Renae.
1,013 reviews264 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
March 9, 2021
Stopped reading at 31%.

I am highly skeptical that this author even bothered to research criminal procedure and the rules of evidence prior to writing this book—which is literally about a murder trial. As soon as the prosecution put a random “professor” on the stand to testify generally as to the sufficiency of the evidence (most of which was not yet received!), I freakin’ lost my mind.

Did the Federal Rules of Evidence exist in 1854? No. But one quick and easy search on Westlaw for the word “evidence” in all Massachusetts legal opinions prior to 1900 shows plenty of existing caselaw on the admissibility of hearsay testimony, expert testimony, etc. The author didn’t even try to get it right. One quick call to a local law college’s library could have helped her create a trial atmosphere that was exciting and realistic. Instead? We got this.

Not to mention the text mentions that the victim’s family have hired the prosecutor to bring the case against the protagonist—AKA, this is a “private prosecution.” However private prosecutions in Massachusetts were declared void in 1849 and were formally outlawed in 1855. (It took me 2 seconds to search for that, FYI). So, basically, from a legal standpoint, any conviction resulting from the protagonist’s trial is void, because a privately retained prosecutor, rather than a public employee, brought it.

Again, did the author even try?

Then we have scenes where the defense attorney is the most incompetent attorney ever to exist, and who basically says they’re unable to put up any sort of defense unless the protagonist “tells him the truth.” So we see him (a) failing to submit an opening argument and (b) failing to cross-examine a witness. WHAT?! No. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to cast doubt on the prosecution’s witnesses and poke holes in their testimony, not pout and refuse to conduct cross because their client isn't communicating with them. (Surprise, bitches: a lot of criminal defendants do NOT speak with their appointed public defenders at any point in the proceedings, but that doesn’t absolve the attorney of their duty to rigorously defend their client.) So, basically, most incompetent and unrealistic defense attorney ever here.

And all of this completely unresearched, inaccurate murder trial shit takes place against one of the flimsiest plot conceits ever to exist. A rich British woman assembles a team of 12 strangers to go and rescue her husband, who’s (apparently?) lost somewhere in the Arctic. None of these women have ever been to the Arctic, none have experience with search/rescue missions, and they all set off about a week after being hired to do this. Is this supposed to make sense to anyone? Of course the expedition goes badly—look how stupidly arranged it all was! The author’s note states that “When I first considered writing a book about an all-female Arctic expedition in the nineteenth century, I feared it might be too far-fetched.” Ma’am, the issue is not that an all-female expedition is far-fetched; the issue is that sending these women on an expedition, with no advance preparation of any kind, is so beyond far-fetched that it becomes ludicrous.

I can’t, I just can’t. Not one part of this book makes logical sense. The author wants things to be exciting, so she sends unprepared, random women up to Arctic Canada. The author wants the trial to be “emotional,” so she combines an incompetent defense attorney with a bunch of hand-wavy evidence that “proves” the protagonist was guilty. (Never mind that none of that evidence would have been admissible in the manner presented.)

I’m sure there were several “exciting plot twists” coming my way if I had kept reading. But I simply couldn't keep sitting through a trial that was so blatantly disinterested in procedural accuracy. So, nah.

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Profile Image for Maureen.
330 reviews77 followers
May 23, 2021
Beautiful book over that just draws you in.

Boston 1853 Lady Jane Franklin is looking to finance an expedition to find her missing husband Sir John Franklin. He and his team set sail to find The Northwest passage two years earlier and have not been heard from since.
Lady Franklin thinks that a team of 12 women will do a better job than men would do.
Lady Jane chooses Virginia Reeves an experienced guide to lead the women Lady Franklin chooses most of the women herself and leaves Virginia to choose the rest.
There is much drama between the women during this adventure in the frozen Arctic.The conditions are harsh and perilous.

1854 one year later Virginia Reeves is on trial for murder if Caprise Collins, who did not return.

This is a compelling story told in two different time lines alternating between the Arctic and a Boston courtroom. Lots of twists and turns in this adventure.
A powerful story of endurance.
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews483 followers
November 19, 2020
When you read the words arctic fury, what do you see? Though covers and titles alone should not be the prime determination to read a book often it's what draws me in. A concise description also helps, one that tells enough but doesn't tell it all.

Arctic Fury was immediately on my list. The title evoked thoughts of cold, ice and nature's fury. The brief descriptions also promised a different kind of fury, one of a band of thirteen resilient women led by a fierce leader charged to find a lost expedition and husband of a wealthy Bostonian woman, Lady Jane Franklin.

Told in dual timelines, one, the expedition of 1853, the other, 1854, in which the leader, Virginia Reeve, is on trial for the murder of one of those in her group. As five are seated in the front row of the courtroom, and Virginia sits at her table, we are taken back that one year to the expedition itself. Though only five remain to support Miss Reeve at trial, the story is brought to life for the reader through each of the thirteen women's voices. It is these voices that captures both their strengths and frailties; these that determine their balance on the cusp of life or death. What did it take for survival? And what of Virginia Reeve and her trial?

Arctic Fury is historical fiction. It is worth delving into Author, Greer Macallister's inspiration, motivation and research for this fine book. As always, the sparks of history portrayed here have me scrambling to read about the truth that makes this fiction all the more compelling.

My sincere appreciation is expressed to Sourcebooks Landmark, Author, Greer Macallister, and Edelweiss for providing Arctic Fury for my honest review. Publication Date December 1, 2020.
Profile Image for Jean.
732 reviews20 followers
October 25, 2020
In 1986, Ann Bancroft gave up her special education and physical education teaching positions in Minneapolis to participate in Will Steger’s North Pole Expedition, which reached the Pole by dogsled in 56 days. Six years later, she led a four-woman expedition to the South Pole on skis, making her the first woman to accomplish both feats.

Greer Macallister’s The Arctic Fury is a work of historical fiction involving thirteen women engaged in the pursuit of a similar, much more difficult challenge. The year is 1853 in Boston. Adventurer Virginia Reeve is summoned to the stately home of Lady Jane Franklin. Lady Franklin offers Virginia an unusual proposal – to lead an all-female expedition to the frozen wilds of the far north in search of her husband, his missing ship, and crew in the Arctic. Four previous expeditions have failed. Perhaps women can succeed where men have not. Most of her team is chosen for her; she is allowed to pick but three of twelve. There is a reason for the extra woman, which I will leave readers to discover for themselves.

Chapters alternate between the women of the expedition in 1853 and the trial in 1854. Yes, one year later, Virginia Reeve finds herself on trial for murder. Five survivors of the long, hard trek sit in the front row of the courtroom every day and are called as witnesses. What did they see? What did they experience? What happened during those long, hard, cold, dark days and nights out on the ice?

Greer Macallister establishes the events brilliantly. She introduces the characters one by one. Each woman has strengths that will aid the team along the way, as well as weaknesses that could prove detrimental. One woman, in particular, spells trouble from the start, because she and Virginia clash from the moment they meet.

There is a lengthy stretch of time spent aboard a whaler, which serves as their transport ship. This proves to be a major part of the adventure, long and tedious, but not without danger or trouble. I came to love the ship’s captain; he seemed to have just the right temperament for the long haul.

What better way for each woman to learn the depth of her own character? Her strengths, her weaknesses, her longings, her passions? How far would any one of them go to survive? How far would any go to save another? The women are strong; there is some gender bending that would have been quite rare and certainly very taboo for the times. I applaud Ms. Macallister for daring to go there. She seems to have done her research about the trek and the Arctic quite well. I truly felt the cold and the exhaustion that these women were suffering!

The author finds the perfect balance between fictitious adventure mixed with historical fact and throws in suspense every step of the way so that I wanted to keep turning page after page. What really happened? What will happen to Virginia in the end?

This was actually a nail-biter until the end, and I was somewhat surprised by the turn of events. If you love cold-weather thrillers and adventure, I highly recommend Arctic Fury .

I wish to thank NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, and the author for granting my wish to receive this copy as an ARC in exchange for my unbiased, honest review.

5 stars
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,632 followers
November 5, 2021
DNF at 12%.

I made it one page (barely) into chapter 7 and decided that this book is not for me. I was not aware that the title was actually representative of how I would feel upon reading it.

This book was selected for my Historical Fiction group as the November group read because it's set in the Arctic - a group of women setting out to try to find the missing Franklin expedition. Sounds good so far. And then I started reading it, and... not so much.

This book is told (at least as far as I made it) in alternating linear storyline chapters: past and present. Present takes place first, and we learn that the main character, Virginia, is on trial for kidnapping and murder in Boston. Then the next chapter takes us back to show us how she ended up there, starting with her summons and hiring for the expedition during which the person would die that she's being accused of murdering.


But the thing is, I'm already annoyed by a massive plot hole that makes no sense. She is only on trial because apparently her having been hired for the expedition had to be SUPER SECRET and NOBODY COULD KNOOOOOOOW that the very openly grieving and concerned wealthy wife of the missing Captain Franklin would send a *GASP* FEMALE search team to try to find him.


No, really, serious question... WHY? Why the secrecy? My guess is that it's the potential scandal... Which is stupid. If I had the need and the means, I'd hire literally anyone who would or could do what needed to be done.

But a woman desperate to find or find out what happened to her husband, who has the monetary means, who is well-traveled, well-versed in travel logistics, who basically has all of the tools and reason in the world to use EVERY POSSIBLE AVENUE AT HER DISPOSAL and have it all be justifiable and blameless (in my humble opinion, not being a goddamn monster), chooses instead to insist on keeping everything secret and MyStErIoUs.

To me, this has several implications:
1) She's a fucking coward, who won't even brave SOCIETY'S DISAPPROVAL for doing something unconventional to try to save her husband's life.
2) She's a fucking coward, because if shit goes sideways, nobody has to know she was involved. See above murder trial for NOT FRANKLIN'S WIFE.
3) She maybe doesn't want the news to make it to the Arctic Circle that women are coming to rescue men, in case they choose toxic masculinity instead? Turn off the TV, guys!!
Oh no! Imagine being rescued from certain death by women! The emasculating HORROR. JUST LEAVE ME ON THE ICE TO DIE, WOMAN! I WILL NOT BE SAVED BY THE WEAKER SEX!

BUT... If it was successful, apparently it was all fine and all could be revealed... Because then she could take all the credit for her out-of-the-box thinking and "risk taking".

I can feel my eyeballs rolling out of my skull. And the more I type, the more annoyed I'm getting just thinking about it.

*deep breath*

Let's move on. Ohhhhhhmmmmmm...

Because of the alternating chapters, we also have alternating styles.
The trial chapters are a broody overwrought emo teen's poetry slam.
"A long, long pause follows those six words. In Virginia’s mind, the pause stretches to fill hours and days of fretful possibilities, of worry and rot, of glaciers and icebergs crashing upon distant shores, of the sun soaring overhead to blot out the blue of the sky until the oceans drain, until the flesh of every person in the courtroom melts away to leave nothing but bone. In her mind, it takes that long."
It felt that long for me too... getting through that paragraph.

The other chapters are clipped and "I've never had a human conversation before" annoying.

ALL of the characters are rude assholes. All of them. Every single one I've met thus far.

The "Prosecution rests" after their opening statement. Because... apparently that's how trials work. Also, in 1854, apparently witchcraft is still a thing that's used to "prove" a woman's guilt. Because... Massachusetts?? I mean, it's Boston, not quite as on-the-nose as Salem would have been but still fucking ridiculous.

The Defense didn't even give an opening statement... just stood up, said "My client's innocent." Then stood there, APPARENTLY UNTIL THE HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE IF THAT QUOTED SECTION UP THERE IS ANY INDICATION, and then said "...and I'll prove it."

Wow. Someone get that man a Gatorade. That level of client advocacy exertion must have been just EXHAUSTING.

I kept going for a few more chapters (that was chapter 3), but then at the bottom of the first page of Chapter 7 is this line: "It isn't like her to be so wrapped up in her own thoughts."

And before anyone is like "Oh, but that's BEFORE... she went through some shit and is traumatized and of course she's gonna be in her head after..." Yeah, I get it. It's a bit much (a LOT much) but OK, sure. Fair.

But that line is in a trial chapter. Why is she telling us obviously untrue things about her? I have eyes, that unfortunately have had to read all of the thoughts she's spent the last several chapters being wrapped up in, and I will not be lied to. That's rude.

I didn't intend for this review to be as... ragey as it is. But sometimes it just be like that. I snuck some looks at other reviews, (which is a pretty firm tell that I've already checked out of this party), and apparently continuing on would not improve my opinion of this book... so. At least I didn't pay for this.

Profile Image for Zoe.
1,823 reviews172 followers
December 3, 2020
Captivating, atmospheric, and immersive!

The Arctic Fury is an emotive, absorbing novel set in the mid-1850s that sweeps you back-and-forth between a Boston courtroom where Virginia Reeve is on trial for the kidnapping and murder of socialite Caprice Collins, one of twelve women who embarked on a northern expedition to find the missing Sir John Franklin, and the icy, cold, Arctic where friendships were formed, life was lost, secrets surfaced, and past tragedies haunted.

The writing is vivid and expressive. The plot is well crafted and uses a past-present style to create tension, suspense and emotion as it unravels all the histories, personalities, and relationships within it. And the characters are unique, troubled, and scarred; with the setting, the arctic wilderness, being a character itself with its harsh weather, isolation, and physical challenges.

Overall, The Arctic Fury, loosely based on real-life events, is an intense, unique, gripping novel that reminds us that survival of any form takes unimaginable sacrifice, strength, courage, and often ethical and moral dilemmas.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♥ Sandi ❣	.
1,271 reviews9 followers
March 1, 2021
4.25 stars

This story is a bit of a flip on the normal, by one great author Greer Macallister. Based on the truth it is about an expedition to the Arctic in 1853. However this expedition was women, all women, lead by a woman. Their goal was to find the lost Franklin expedition and explicitly find John Franklin for his wife, Lady Jane Franklin.

There were many hardships on this trip for the 13 women, the least of which was putting 8 women off their ship, early, onto the ice, to prevent a mutiny. During this time at least 3 women were 'lost' to the Arctic. However only one family asked for justice and took the expedition leader to trial for the 'murder' of their daughter, by the very man who funded the expedition.

This book is told in two separate stories - the actual preparation for and the fearless expedition itself and then the trial of Virginia Reeve the expedition leader.

This was a page turner, as all of Macallister's books are. The characters are strong, the story moves right along and the plot is solid. Macallister does admit to taking some leeway with the story and explains what it was and why. The book is fiction - good solid enjoyable fiction.
Profile Image for Kristina McMorris.
Author 19 books2,327 followers
April 18, 2020
I was fortunate enough to get an early peek for a cover quote and was sucked in from the very first sentence: "In the front row sit the survivors." See what I mean?? My two cents:

In her latest gem of a historical novel, Greer Macallister once again entrances the reader with her gift of riveting prose and finely crafted suspense. Equal parts courtroom drama and literary thriller, THE ARCTIC FURY bears all the twists and turns of a runaway train, barreling through an expedition as harsh and unrelenting as the Arctic north itself. The diverse cast of female survivors, while haunted by impossible choices, serves as a timely reminder of the hope born in darkness and the enduring bonds of sisterhood. A remarkably unique and mesmerizing read.
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,370 reviews2,307 followers
December 6, 2020
Hmmmm, this book is a little hard to review. On one hand, it kept me intrigued and turning the pages (I finished it in two days!). On the other hand, when I read the last line I couldn't help but think "that's it?!"

I think perhaps my expectations got the better of me with this one. I was expecting an atmospheric rich in a detailed story about an all female expedition into the Arctic. Unfortunately for ME, that was the weakest part of the book. It's like the author glossed over that part in favor of the courtroom parts of the book. I had the same issue with the "twist" thrown in about Virginia's past. It needed more fleshing out, and as it stood, really had zero effect on the overall story.

My last issue was that the ending felt rushed and very abrupt. If ever a book would have benefited from an epilogue, it would be this one. I was invested in these ladies and would have loved to get a peak at what the future held for them all.

So definitely a mixed bag. Worth the read, but not without some issues.
Profile Image for Allegra.
15 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2021
Listen, this book is absolutely ridiculous and genuinely infuriating to read. I ended up paying real human money to purchase the Arctic Fury which will forever bother me.
My recommendation is to not do this. I suffered through it so that others would not have to.

Polar exploration is my ~thing. The Terra Nova expedition namely (Antarctica > The Arctic), but I have more than a passing knowledge on Franklin and his doomed search for the Northwest Passage. It became very (very!) clear very (very!) quickly that polar exploration is _not_ Greer Macallister’s ~thing. Any research she did feels limited to cursory wikipedia searches. Mary Shelley described the Arctic better than Macallister and she wrote Frankenstein in 1817.
If you, like me, are looking for intense tales of survival in the world's harshest conditions, don’t pick this book up! You will certainly not find it here. You will find out apparently how easy it is for 8 women to sledge through Canada with a team of dogs, carrying a ding dang whaleboat filled with supplies. It caused them no problems at all! They were simply very cold and tired. No mention of terrain being an issue! Smooth sailing. Every single piece of literature written by explorers who actually _did_ sledge and haul boats claims otherwise but whatever.
The women are aware of a cache of food left by John Rae’s expedition, decide to trek 3 days out of the way to get to it and then suddenly the _servant_ remembers that the company that furnished the Franklin Expedition got into trouble for improperly sealing the food containers and it might be bad. So they’re just like “hm nah we’ll pass” and leave. They are at real risk of starvation! Someone was literally eating weeds (???) the day before but they decide to not even investigate the food, oh my god.

I started a list of everything that made me angry about The Arctic Fury but by page 200 I just wanted to finish the thing so I stopped and will instead limit my count to 3.

1. This book feels misogynistic. I don’t know why the author made a point to have Lady Franklin bring up how important it was to send an all lady expedition because women are so much better and smarter and could do a better job, and then have every single woman be entirely unsuited, inexperienced, and idiotic. Was the author trying to show that women really _aren’t_ suited for polar exploration? Because if I was a misogynist, she’d have me convinced. The idea that this expedition would be Super Dooper Secret is laughable and so very unlikely!!! Not even a papertrail? Why? There were plenty of lady’s explorer clubs at the time and while they might not have been funded by like, The Royal Society, they would have been fine soliciting money from like minded bluestockings. I have real problems with Virginia apparently not caring a whit that she had no say in any of the preparations for the expedition. She didn’t even meet half the crew until they were underway-- literally A WEEK after meeting Lady Jane for the first time and being hired. What sort of leader wouldn’t insist on checking supplies or the crew? It’s literally life or death and she just left it up to some guy she didn’t even trust. Didn’t even insist on physicals for the women she was taking with her who might have noticed things like one of them was PREGNANT? Oooooooook. They didn’t even think about clothes since the only thing that seems different about their Arctic outfits is that they wear split skirts. Shocking!!!!!! And best of luck surviving in that. They all deserved to perish.

2. Which brings us to the characters, who are ridiculous and entirely one dimensional. We don’t have a single clue who they are. She keeps cycling through names (the book is written from different points of view and from different times, which is annoying) and honestly it’s difficult to tell them apart. Virginia is the leader, Caprice is the headstrong rich one, one of them is a lesbian, one of them isn’t a lesbian, one falls off the mast of the ship and dies, one doesn’t have a tongue but is somehow the translator, one is a journalist, one is a ~~~slutty servant who was sent all the way to the Arctic because she was pregnant (??? wHaT ???), one is a transgendered twin ((?? WhAT ??)), and who knows, there might be more but it doesn’t matter. AND HOW ABOUT the dog expert who decided to kill herself and send the dogs running so that the rest of the starving women wouldn’t eat them. W H A T and WHY. Both the women and the dogs are going to starve to death but her dying dream is that they’re adopted by some Esquimaux family. Good god.

3. This book is weirdly ~woke about stuff and then also has some unexpected (and frankly unwanted) religious overtones by way of Virginia. For example! The ~~slutty servant who was pregnant says the following absolutely ridiculous thing for a servant to say in the 1850’s after someone else says they’ll be the first women to step foot in this part of the Arctic--
“First white women...the Esquimaux were here. Are here. They’ve forgotten (this is literally a direct quote, I took a picture of the page and I don’t understand why it says “forgotten” either) more about surviving in this environment than we’ll ever know”.
What the shit is that? Girl would have been _entirely_ uneducated but she’s whippin’ out some 2021 gender and race theory like she wouldn’t have been super racist IRL. It’s just so dumb. No thought was given to this at all. Virginia keeps talking about God and praying so much that I had to double check to make sure it wasn’t actually christian fiction, which I found incredibly annoying.

Listen, this book simply was not good. There are better fictional books about polar exploration. Go read one of them instead.
Profile Image for Pam Jenoff.
Author 35 books5,165 followers
January 19, 2021
Incredible story inspired by true events about Virginia Reeve, who was sent by Lady Jane Franklin to lead an team of a dozen women to the Arctic to find out what happened to the lost expedition of Franklin's husband. A year later, Reeve is charged with murder and dark questions swirl about what happened on the ice. How can you not want to read that??
Profile Image for MaryannC. Fiendish Book freak.
487 reviews108 followers
November 23, 2020
3.75 actual stars

Set in the 1850's after Lady Jane's husband Sir John Franklin goes missing during a famous expedition in 1845, she dispatches a secret group of women to bring her husband home. After other failed attempts, Lady Jane believes that women can accomplish the task of finding her husband and chooses Virginia Reeve, a woman already hardened by harsh conditions who survived the tragic Donner's Party to lead the expedition. A year later Virginia during a sensational trial for essentially the murders of some of the women who did not return Virginia finds herself in jail recounting the tragic events that unfolded on this ill-fated journey.
This was a fascinating, reimagined premise about a group of strong women determined to undertake perilous conditions in an attempt to accomplish what no man had done and the woman who led them. Reading the author's notes, there was a real life Virginia Reeve who was just 13 when her family journeyed to California during the Donner's Party tragedy which makes this for me all the more interesting. Kudos to the author for this new take on The Franklin Expedition featuring women.

Thanks to author Greer Macallister for granting my wish on NetGalley.

Profile Image for Crystal Craig.
250 reviews574 followers
November 10, 2021
Be sure to visit my Favorites Shelf for the books I found most entertaining.

I was excited to read The Arctic Fury after reading and loving The Terror. I have no complaints about the writing or the characters; however, I was expecting more—like more arctic adventure, more ice, more survival and not so much courtroom drama. Regarding the characters, too many to track, and they lacked depth. My mind didn't wander too much while reading, so the story was decent. An average read for me.
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