Reviews of Caroline’s Books Archive

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Carrie K’s Review of The Ivory Caribou

Thanks to Carrie K for this kind review.

Carrie K's Book Reviews

The Ivory Caribou by Caroline McCullagh

Goodreads Summary

Is it a love story? Or is it an adventure story? Or is it a commentary on the tragedy of war? It is all of these, and more.  Award Winning Author Caroline McCullagh weaves a thrilling and dynamic story around Anne O’Malley’s genealogical search for the story of her late husband’s father that takes her to the far North of Canada to find new relatives among the Inuit culture, to Europe behind the lines in World War I, and back to the small Inuit village where she finds romance. The Ivory Caribouwon Best Unpublished Novel in the San Diego Book Awards.

My Thoughts

I think I say this a lot, but I really am such a blessed person!  People send books to me to read and review, some of which I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own, and they end up being wonderful!  The Ivory Caribou is one of those books.  I honestly don’t think I would have chosen to read this book on my own because it’s not the typical kind of book that I enjoy.  Most often, when I actually go to a store and pick out books for myself, I choose books that are either somewhat exciting/action packed, someone recommended them or, if they are contemporary fiction, have characters that I can relate to (around my age, similar lifestyles, things like that).  The Ivory Caribou doesn’t really fit any of those.  But, I really enjoyed it!

Anne O’Malley is an older woman, a widow, and she doesn’t have any children.  I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to get into her life.  But I was drawn right in!  Her inward struggles and loneliness reached right into my heart and there were times when, because of work and being a mom, I had to put the book down to do something and I realized that I was feeling Anne’s sadness so deep that I had to remind myself that it was just a book!

I really enjoyed all of the journal entries from her father-in-law.  Surprisingly, I have come to love historical fictions books lately and this has several touches of that element wrapped up in it.  Such an enjoyable bonus!  I also really enjoyed learning so much about the Inuit culture!  Again, something that I wouldn’t have necessarily expected to enjoy as much as I did.  There were also a few romantic situations but they weren’t “graphic” or inappropriate.  Just sweet and, well, romantic!

I definitely recommend The Ivory Caribou!  A very strong 4+ stars!  The only reason it’s not a full 5 stars is because it ended a bit abruptly.  However, I realize that it’s probably because this is book 1 of The Anne O’Malley Arctic Adventures series.  Still, I found myself wanting a bit more in this book.  Very Good though!  Read it!!!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Alice R. Solovay – Review of The Ivory Caribou

a WONDERFULLY ENGROSSING READ.

on July 16, 2016
This is a sensual read. Starting early, we get intense visuals of landing in a white-knuckle small pontoon plane; noticing the change of terrain colors and textures as we get farther north: admiring the musculature and skin color of a man as he changes his shirt, the startling facial similarity of previously unknown relatives; etc.. We get intense kinesthetic feeling as we traverse various ground textures and are offered slices of raw caribou as “snacks.” Smells, sounds, sights, textures, tastes, and gentle erotica are served in ample supply.
We are introduced early into an Inuit family, with gentle instruction on how to behave in this alternate sphere (don’t ask questions, help others and accept help, don’t show emotions, accept that killing animals is part of living, learn that skills such as sewing well are treasured, share, etc.) We learn not to make assumptions.
a WONDERFULLY ENGROSSING READ.
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Recent Reviews of The Ivory Caribou

on July 19, 2016
Carolyn McCullagh has written an informative book dealing with Inuit culture and wartime espionage. She has done this in a way that makes reading sheer pleasure. I highly recommend this novel. Evelyn Smith
on July 11, 2016
This is a fascinating story of a woman coming out of a personal shell of widowhood. In doing so, she solves a mystery and bridges two cultures. She travels to the Arctic to ferret out the genealogy of her late husband only to find a new life. The mystery of her late father-in-law’s strange WWI experiences is supplanted by the uncertainty of her relationship with a half Inuit man who lives in two worlds. That uncertainty creates tensions during an Arctic educational adventure. Leave it to a polar bear to break the ice! Caroline McCullagh’s deft storytelling teaches us much about a culture of which most of us are unaware. You will love this book.
on July 11, 2016
I enjoyed this book because of the interesting characters and the plots. It was educational about Inuit culture as well as World War II. Hard to figure how these two are tied together but they were. And LOVE of course! I can’t wait to read the next one. I want to see how these characters develop.
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Wuzzle Pizzard – Review of The Ivory Caribou

on July 1, 2016
The Ivory Caribou is a chilling tail because it takes its heroine, Anne, from the balmy climes of San Diego and throws her rather unceremoniously into the frigid arctic wilderness. Fortunately for Anne, and for us as readers, the adventure and romance of this story warms her in heart and body and us in spirit. This story is also a fascinating account of loss, transformation, redemption, and recovery. The plot is driven by two quests into the past, one to find the history of a mysterious lost relative, and the other to recover the unrecorded history of the First Nations people who live in the isolated Canadian community where these two story arcs intersect. In the telling of this story, the author demonstrates her extensive knowledge of the Inuit culture, the science and the practice of anthropology and archaeology used to study that culture, and the esoterica surrounding the rather unique circumstances Anne discovers from the life of her lost relative. I highly recommend this book to readers who love to learn about lives from different times and cultures while they are also entertained by a good story well told.
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Valerie H. – Review of The Ivory Caribou

on July 2, 2016
I enjoyed this story and could relate to much of it, as I am a widow in my early sixties. The book held my interest and I even lost track of the time when I was reading and exercising at the same time, which means the story has to be good! I would recommend it as a light, but interesting read.
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R. Wallace – Review of The Ivory Caribou

on July 6, 2016
What delightful way to learn about the Inuit culture, conducting genealogical research, the personal aftermath of widowhood and finding a second love, then add in a little history of World War I. I couldn’t help but love the characters and their personalities and Anne O’Malleys’ inner processes.I was happy to hear a sequel is already planned. This book is an engaging way to spend a lazy summer afternoon and evening.
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Jim Bennett – Review of The Ivory Caribou

A widow chooses to complete her husband’s search for his father’s missing years. This takes her to Ottawa, the arctic, and various discoveries. A missing diary provides a back story. A helpful chief librarian provides a distraction. Finally, a visit to the Canadian arctic includes a series of tests.

I haven’t had this much fun reading prose in a while. The story moves well, the characters are deftly drawn, the plots so easily interwoven you won’t believe your mind.

This is basically a love story? Or is it an adventure story? Or is it a commentary on the tragedy of war? It is all of these, and more.

My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. This is a very nice, well-written, enjoyable tale. Five stars is an easy decision, and extremely highly recommended.

Kindle Book Review Team member.
(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

    Jim Bennett, Poet, Reviewer and

author of Cold Comes Through

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Lynette M. Smith – Review of The Ivory Caribou

LynetteWhen the publisher provided me with an unsolicited review copy of this book two days ago, I expressed regret that I wouldn’t have time to read it for another couple of weeks. But then I decided to read the first few pages over lunch yesterday, and now I know what people mean when they say “I couldn’t put it down!” To the exclusion of all daily responsibilities, I kept reading and had finished 75% of the book by midnight last night. Today I eagerly finished the rest.

Why was it so engaging? It had many wonderful qualities: three well-developed, mature characters you could identify with; a love triangle; tastefully described intimate scenes; unusual yet plausible geographic settings (San Diego, Ottowa, Alsace Lorraine, and a modern-day Arctic tundra Inuit village); and drama (cultural contrasts, wartime adventures, and more). And to top it off, the book was educational too, providing fascinating insights into Inuit culture in Canada as well as what a rural French region of Europe was like during World War I.

The time I spent immersed in this book was WELL WORTH IT, and I will definitely recommend this book and author to my friends!

Lynette M. Smith, All My Best Copyediting

and Heartfelt Publishing

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M. J. Joachim – Review of The Ivory Caribou

Book Review: The Ivory Caribou by Caroline McCullagh

by M. J. Joachim

In a world where archeological research esteems the invested interest in Eskimo culture, diverse, yet full of unexpected trials, tribulations, twists and turns, a world where healing cannot be denied, something loss must lend itself to, for without this healing, people might stagnate, wither and die unto themselves, readers are taken on an adventurous and all too intriguing journey, where knowledge is far beyond the literary, educated mindset of our modern life, tracing back centuries of silent understanding, thoughtful curiosity and mindful reflection.

The Ivory Caribou is a story of love – past, present and future. It is a story of longing, hope and recovery, beautifully written and exceptionally produced. Subtle messages tap the readers subconscious, reminding us to be more aware and considerate of others, for this is the eskimo culture readers become acquainted with, a culture that has a thing or two to teach the rest of us as we hurry on our way to whatever we have going on in our lives.

The Ivory Caribou is a love story too, a beautiful tale of how two people fall in love, minus the lust factor, and become one with each other on a level so deep it is almost contrary to what so many of us are exposed to when it comes to dating, courtship and love. Family is as vital to the relationship as the two people falling in love, because family bonds are strong and members care enough about each other to wish for the best, often going out of their way to help the two people falling in love, because love is beautiful and should be promoted through the laws of basic attraction, common decency and spiritual fruition.

I thoroughly enjoy reading The Ivory Caribou. It’s easy reading in a story with so much depth, one I think you might enjoy reading too.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Wishing you every success with your writing.

M. J.

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H. Byron Earhart – Review of the Ivory Caribou

5-starsCan a sixty-year old widow embark on adventure and fly to another country to uncover genealogical mysteries? Can she travel to northern Canada and enter into the life, language, and culture of the Inuits? Can she rediscover romance?

Follow Byron Earhart
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To find the answers to all these questions, read Caroline McCullagh’s well written novel, Ivory Caribou.. Anne O’Malley, the heroine, is the feisty lady who mixes romance, genealogy, travel, detective work, and cultural exploration.
The characters in the story are interesting. The scenes–which shift from San Diego to Ottawa to an Inuit village in northern Quebec–are described with flair. The plot is clever, with many unexpected twists and turns.
I highly recommend this book.

H. Byron Earhart
Author of Religion in Japan (5th ed)
No Pizza in Heaven (novel in press)