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The Ivory Caribou (Anne O'Malley) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 24, 2016
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About the Author
Caroline McCullagh, award-winning author of The Ivory Caribou, coauthor of American Trivia & American Trivia Quiz Book with Richard Lederer, earned a master's degree in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego. Her diverse writing projects include five novels, a cookbook, a memoir, a student opera (under the auspices of San Diego Opera), fourteen years of monthly book reviews for the San Diego Horticultural Society, and one year as Books Editor for The American Mensa Bulletin. For the past three years, Caroline has written a weekly column for the San Diego Union-Tribune with Richard Lederer. As a professional editor, she teaches creative writing two days a week. The Ivory Caribou, then titled Fire and Ice, was a past Winner at the San Diego Book Awards as Best Unpublished Novel. Caroline has won twice and has been a finalist once.
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Caroline McCullagh has woven elements of mystery, romance, and cross-cultural adventure into this, the first in a series of novels with Anne O'Malley at their center. Anne is not a typical romance protagonist. She is sixty and was married for nearly forty years to Robby, her much older husband. Together, she and Robby prepared for Anne's financial independence during what they anticipated would be Anne's life on her own. In spite of the planning, two years after Robby's death, Anne continued to cling to Robby's memory instead of moving forward.
The book is well written and the story so compelling I couldn't put it down. And it wasn't just the story that kept me turning the pages. The cross-cultural details Anne learns when she encounters her extended Inuit family even gave me insights into my own Scandinavian background. For example, as I grew up in a Minnesota area largely populated by northern Europeans, my parents insisted that expressing emotion--whether positive or negative--was undesirable. I could describe that behavior to others, but I couldn't explain it. In McCullagh's novel, I learned this prohibition of expressing emotions is also a characteristic of the Inuit culture, a necessity because of the long periods of time all family members were confined to small spaces where even minor loss of control could spiral the family members to unacceptable actions. That explanation fits the circumstances of my Norwegian ancestors as well.
I know Anne's story continues, and I can't wait to read more.
What makes this a great read is the exquisite dialog and the mystery of what happened to the father of the woman's deceased husband. What can account for the father's unexplained lapse of several years in which he vanished---and his subsequent silence over the years?
Perhaps this book was written for women, yet I found it one of the best reads in a long time. Rich in detail with intriguing aspects of life in the far north of Canada on the edge of frozen shorelines. The power of the book rests in the no-clutter, perfectly worded dialing. I highly recommend this book.
The characters are well developed with personal conflicts and challenges and the plot moves quickly. It is refreshing to find a book about average, mature people who can find love in the most unlikely places. The widowed Anne O’Malley proves we can start a new life at any age.
For those suffering through the heat this summer I highly recommend you take a trip to the Arctic and live with the native Inuits for a time through the magic of Caroline McCullagh’s award winning writings. Caroline McCullagh expertly weaves a mystery, love story, history and sociology lessons into a magic carpet of wonder.
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)