Monday, July 10, 2017

Sun at Midnight - Fiction Review

Sun at Midnight by Rosie Thomas

Rating: Loved it!
Source:  Publisher

Description:   An epic love story and adventure set against the stunning backdrop of Antarctica.

Alice Peel is a geologist. She believes in observation and proof. But now she stands alone on the deck of a rickety Chilean ship as a stark landscape reveals itself. Instead of the familiar measurable world, everything that lies ahead of her is unknown and unpredictable. Six weeks earlier her life was comfortably unfolding in an Oxford summer. Then, with her relationship suddenly in pieces, she accepted an invitation to join a group working at the end of the earth: Antarctica.

James Rooker is a man on the run. He's been running since his childhood in New Zealand. Now, there is nowhere further to go. He has taken a job working on the same small Antarctic research station.

Alice discovers an ice-blue and silver world, lit by sunlight. Nothing has prepared her for the beauty of it, or the claustrophobia of a tiny base shared with eight men and one other woman. The isolation wipes out everyone's past, and tension crackles in the air. But there is a jolt of recognition between Alice and Rooker that is like nothing she has ever known. And it is in Antarctica that she discovers something else that will change her life forever!

Genre:  Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Thomas's book Iris and Ruby was on of my favorite books of 2015 so I couldn't turn this one down - especially since it's set in Antarctica!

My Impression:  If I was making a list of 10 places I never ever wanted to visit Antarctica would definitely be on that list!  It's a terrifyingly inhospitable climate and it pretty much feels like Mother Nature is telling us to stay out.  I fully plan on listening.  However, after reading Sun at Midnight I understand why people want to go or dream of visiting.  Life on base really came alive with its restrictions, close quarters, and varied personalities.  As well the harsh unforgiving landscape outside the base became real as well and I couldn't help but google pictures of Antarctica to compare with what Thomas was bring to life as I was reading.  I've always seen the danger and forbidding feel but I can see a bit more of the beauty now!

Alice is an interesting character.  She's very literal which I could identify with and likes her life nice and predictable.  She admires her famous explorer mother but has always been closer and identifies more with her more homebody father.  I loved their interactions - especially when he doesn't say quite what she expects him to say.  I also really enjoyed her relationships with her friends.  Too often friendships between women in fiction feel too contentious or just ring false but this was not the case here.  Alice's time in Antarctica was really wonderful as she is completely out of her element and has to figure out who she is and how to interact with those around her from scratch.  We see quite a bit of life through the eyes of James Rooker as well.  He's an interesting man with quite the past and I enjoyed his character even though I didn't identify with him as much as I did with Alice.

My only problem was that when we get to the base 9 characters are kind of dumped on us all at once and I struggled to get everyone sorted out at first.  Since I'm talking maybe 20 pages of "wait a minute who is ? again?"  it's a very minor quibble.

Thomas has a wonderful ability to make characters and places come alive in the pages.  It's a slower read but so rich with detail that it makes for an interesting and delightful read.  Plus, how many books take place in Antarctica?

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  This is the 3rd book from Thomas that I've read and I've really enjoyed them all.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Definitely!  If you enjoy fiction I think you'd enjoy this one.


  1. I don't think I've ever read a book with the setting Antarctica. This one sounds intriguing!

  2. I also have no desire to visit Antarctica, but I certainly don't mind reading books set there! I'm glad glad you enjoyed this. It sounds like a really unique read.

  3. I think mysteries and Antarctica go well together (or the Arctic too for that matter). Something about the extreme cold and isolation! While it sounds like this is more of an adventure/ romance than a mystery, the setting still sounds fabulous. I love the idea of people thrown together in a research station setting like that. Glad this was good!

  4. On my "favorite books" shelf is a an old book by Rosie Thomas called Strangers. I have read it more than once and absolutely love it! If you are looking for another book by her, give this one a try. It is really a good one.


  5. My friend went on an Antarctica tour and had fun; she was very goofy. Paul Nicklen is a Canadian biologist and photographer I follow on IG; he's leading an upcoming tour of that icy continent; I bet it's hella good because it'll focus on the animals and environment.

  6. This sounds really good. Great review!

  7. I haven't read this author but this sounds really interesting. The main character sounds great but I think that having 9 characters added in at once would have been confusing to me as well. Great review!

  8. I like a character like this because she seems so interesting. I know I'm probably in the minority here, but for some reason I would love to visit colder climates. I lived in North Dakota for 2 years and enjoyed it. I would love to go on an Alaskan cruise too, so this book is speaking to me. Hugs...RO

  9. Definitely going on my Goodreads TBR list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  10. Will make a note of this one, you have me interested. I don't mind a slow read when it is well written.

  11. Despite the bump with the slew of characters at Base 9 this sounds terrific.Yeah, I am with travel plans for Antarctica.

  12. I've never heard of this author, but I like books about Antarctica (although I'm with you -- I have no desire to actually go there), so I'm going to give this one a try. Thanks for the rec!

  13. Well thats really cool! I don't think I've read one with that setting before. It made me smile a little. When my mom turned 50 she literally ran away to Antarctica on a cruise. lol She loved it :)