At the Mountain’s Edge by Genevieve Graham
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1897, the discovery of gold in the desolate reaches of the Yukon has the world abuzz with excitement, and thousands of prospectors swarm to the north seeking riches the likes of which have never been seen before.
For Liza Peterson and her family, the gold rush is a chance for them to make a fortune by moving their general store business from Vancouver to Dawson City, the only established town in the Yukon. For Constable Ben Turner, a recent recruit of the North-West Mounted Police, upholding the law in a place overrun with guns, liquor, prostitutes, and thieves is an opportunity to escape a dark past and become the man of integrity he has always wanted to be. But the long, difficult journey over icy mountain passes and whitewater rapids is much more treacherous than Liza or Ben imagined, and neither is completely prepared for the forbidding north.
As Liza’s family nears the mountain’s peak, a catastrophe strikes with fatal consequences, and not even the NWMP can help. Alone and desperate, Liza finally reaches Dawson City, only to find herself in a different kind of peril. Meanwhile, Ben, wracked with guilt over the accident on the trail, sees the chance to make things right. But just as love begins to grow, new dangers arise, threatening to separate the couple forever.
Inspired by history as rich as the Klondike’s gold, At the Mountain’s Edge is an epic tale of romance and adventure about two people who must let go of the past not only to be together, but also to survive.
I have decided I need more Mountie literature in my life after reading this.
This is my first Genevieve Graham book and it certainly won’t be my last. I absolutely love how she brings Canadian history to life with diligent research and characters whose journeys are wrought with trials and sacrifice.
I loved Liza and Ben’s stories. How they wove together and how they still had their own lives to lead. Their stories were not reliant on one another, but instead enhanced by each other. Liza has so much to learn and does not seem to be one to shy away from a challenge while Ben has a need to prove himself to be better than how he was raised. Graham establishes you into their lives early enough that you have time to know them individually until their paths inevitably cross en route to Dawson City.
At the Mountain’s Edge spans far more time than I had anticipated and covers more historical events than I initially thought as well. We get to see the desperation and unbelievable difficulty which came from such a perilous journey from two different sides: those who want to strike it rich and those who want to keep everyone safe. I personally wouldn’t envy either side after reading this book but it gives such an appreciation for what people went through and how much things have changed. I think this was one of my favourite parts of this book, the history. You could really tell just how much research went into it and Graham picked perfect characters to take you through it.
It’s hard for me to pin-point why I did not rate it higher… but it may be from my want of more. I wanted to sit in their lives longer and live in those moments. I felt like events happened so fast that I didn’t fully get to deal with the ramifications. Something major happens and then it’s on to the next. I know there was a lot of ground to cover though. That’s not to say that I wasn’t affected by certain events (shout out to chapter 11 for giving me a new nightmare and destroying me) but I wish that it reflected more in the characters.
I am very excited to delve into Graham’s other works and see what other pieces of Canadian history she uncovers. I am woefully under-read when it comes to historical fiction set in my own Country but I think she is a great author to take me on those journeys.