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Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

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The Advocate

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

Reviewed by Sarah Varland

"This book is a breathtaking adventure that will help you escape from everyday life."

Touching the Clouds, the first in Bonnie Leon’s Alaskan Skies series, captivated my attention from the beginning. It’s set in the nineteen thirties, and Kate Evans is a pilot, running from a past that haunts her and a fiancé who wants her to be a predicable, domestic woman. She flies from her home in Oregon to Alaska, determined to prove herself and atone for her past mistakes.

But in this time of economic depression, jobs are scarce—especially for women who are from “outside” of Alaska, and especially for pilots. Kate finally convinces someone to give her a job, but must work the mundane mail runs before she’s given any passengers. Even though she knows new pilots to any airfield have to prove they know their stuff, she also knows that she’s under closer scrutiny than the average newcomer because she’s a woman. And her rough-around-the-edges male coworkers aren’t going to let her forget it.

While Kate is in Alaska, she meets a variety of interesting characters out in the bush and small villages, including Paul Anderson, a handsome man with a dark secret, and with the help of her new friends, faces head-on the harsh challenges that life in Alaska presents.

The characters in this book were real, three dimensional people with struggles, fears, and passions. The dialogue between them was realistic and each character had a unique voice that added depth to the story. I enjoyed seeing them grow and watching as relationships developed between several different characters.

I’m from Alaska, and reading a book set in Alaska is sort of like ordering salmon at a restaurant for me. I hesitate to take the risk, being a snob about all things Alaska, because either it’s going to be amazing and make me long for the Land of the Midnight Sun, which is the more desirable, less likely option, or it’s going to be poorly done. Bonnie Leon’s story is set in the real Alaska. Her descriptions are perfect—exactly what readers would see if they really were to fly above Alaska and study its rugged landscape. I felt like I was there with Kate and the other characters in this story, shivering in the brisk Alaskan air and marveling at the beauty of the Chugach mountains.

This book is a breathtaking adventure that will help you escape from everyday life into Kate and Paul’s world, a dangerous, beautiful place known as The Last Frontier.

Sarah VarlandSarah Varland lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and two dogs. When she's not busy teaching high school English or walking around with her nose stuck in a book, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors doing things like hiking and kayaking. Sarah is currently pursuing publication as a novelist and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can read some of her thoughts on life, books, and the ministry fishbowl at her blog.