You hide behind your camera instead of stepping out and engaging life with both hands. You're so afraid you'll fail at something, you won't even try.
For some people, Alaska is a breathtaking wilderness adventure, full of light and beauty. For Haley, it is a dangerous world of dark dreams and tortured memories. On the surface, she's here to document wildlife activist Kipp Nowak's bear encounters. But her real reason is to unearth the truth about a past murder. The suspense mounts when another body turns up, and Haley beginst to wonder if the tragedies she experienced in the past are connected to the dangers and mysterious incidents of the present.
From behind her camera, Haley observes it all, including Tank Lassiter, the wildlife biologist who has been forced to lead Kipp and his team into the Alaskan backcountry. As she watches him with his work, she feels a growing attraction. It will take great courage and faith to confront the truth she once ran away from. Before it's over, Haley may be viewing herself from an entirely new angle.
Alaska Twilight is the story of a young woman's emergence from the shadows of past sorrow into the light of forgiveness and grace.
Veteran Christian romance novelist Coble sets her latest story in Alaska, where protagonist Haley Walsh goes to take still photographs for a celebrity nature documentarian's foray into bear country. There Haley faces painful childhood memories of her sister's death and her parents' rejection. As bear biologist Tank Lassiter leads photographer Nowak's team through the wild, he and Haley quickly forge a strong connection that each tries to fight for fear of getting hurt. Before the main characters know it, secrets about the deaths of Tank's wife and Haley's parents emerge. The novel's romantic and suspense plots are strictly by the numbers. The two romantic leads dutifully go through all the motions of denying, then fearing, then finally embracing their attraction, and while the identity of the primary villain is not telegraphed, many other plot points are. Several Christian fiction clich�s are in full bloom as well: a city-dwelling protagonist learns important lessons in a small town, a non-Christian converts just in time to make an appropriate romantic partner for a mature Christian, and unsavory female characters are marked as such either by their unattractiveness or sexually provocative behavior. But Coble's prose is competent, and readers who crave a light, though formulaic, Christian novel will not be disappointed. (Mar. 7)
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March 06, 2006
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Excerpt from Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble
Chapter One Stalwart, Alaska. Population 301. Haley Walsh laid down her itinerary and looked down from the small plane in which she flew to see its shadow moving over the treetops-a forest of spruce, birch, and alder. Snow melted in puddles and revealed muddy land springing to new life in the lengthening days. Then the shadow caressed Stalwart, a tiny collection of cabins and storefronts. Even though it was April, the temperature wasn't more than forty degrees in this Land of the Midnight Sun, though she'd heard tomorrow would be warmer. "It says here that Alaska has ten million lakes and a hundred thousand glaciers," Haley's grandmother said. At seventy years of age, Augusta Walsh's blue eyes sparkled with warm liveliness and curiosity. Most people guessed her age to be in the fifties, and her blond pageboy made her look like an older Doris Day, a resemblance she generally played to the hilt. "There are immense areas that have never had a human footprint, and thousands of mountains that have never been climbed." Augusta's awed pronouncements just served to deepen Haley's fear. She swallowed hard and tried not to look down at the vast wilderness that yawned below her. The plane dipped, the lake below grew closer, and then the tiny craft touched the water. The plane glided to a stop beside a rickety pier that jutted into the water like an accusing finger. "Let's go, go, go," Kipp Nowak bellowed. Everyone in the plane jumped at the sound of his foghorn voice, but he either didn't notice or didn't care. Only five feet five, his voice was the only large thing about him. Bruno Magli boots encased his small, slender feet, and his dark hair had been spiked into a careless style that would have suited a twenty-year-old but just deepened the lines around his blue eyes. He looked better on film than in real life. Haley had watched his documentaries on TV for years. His antics with bears in Yellowstone had captured the American imagination for nearly a decade. Now she was going to take pictures of his next adventure herself. He'd maintained his adventurer's image by picking them up in Anchorage and piloting them out here himself. She settled back against the seat and pulled her camera, a Nikon f/5, up to her face. She adjusted the aperture to compensate for the glare of the glass, then snapped a few shots at the wilderness outside the plane. The familiar whir and click of the camera made her feel less out of her element, though her hands were still clammy. "That's it, boys and girls. Your last glimpse of civilization for now." Kipp rubbed his hands together. "For the next few weeks, bears will be your companions. I've been here for a month with Tank Lassiter to get the lay of the land as the bears emerged from their dens. Now that the wildflowers are ready to bloom, it's time to shoot. There are a couple of bears I'm eager to show you yet today." No one said anything. They all knew better than to get Kipp started on his hobbyhorse. Haley shivered. Was she strong enough for this? Staring out the window at a wilderness that seemed to go on forever, she struggled not to give in to her doubts. She lifted her chin, then moved to get out of the plane. Haley had consulted several Web sites before purchasing Seven jeans, a long-sleeved Rebecca Beeson T-shirt, and a Timberland wool shirt and jacket. The layered outfit was supposed to keep her comfortable no matter what the weather might do. She wore rubber Wellington boots, and though they weren't as stylish as she would have liked, they would keep her feet dry. She wore a pair of thin wool socks over her regular socks as well, because a local in Anchorage told her the temperature might well drop to the teens tonight. She liked fashion, but she knew better than to let it dictate her choices totally. Functionality was key in Alaska. She remembered that much. "I thought we'd land in town," Augusta said. S