I wasn’t so much interested in reading Once Upon an Alaskan Summer as I was in supporting Lisa T. Bergren and her books. Contemporary romance, especially a Christian romance, isn’t my preferred genre. But I’ve been a longtime fan of Lisa’s books, so I decided to read this book to help give her books a boost on Amazon and Goodreads. Lisa has a way of capturing people and place, though, so once I started reading, I wanted to keep going to find out what these two characters were going to do.
Every five years, Bryn Bailey takes a trip to Alaska with her father to experience the rugged, remote country. Eli Pierce lives in Alaska and wouldn’t trade it for the world. After years of uncertain feelings, neither can deny the spark between them, but Bryn has no desire to stay in Alaska and Eli is torn between his faith and his heart. When Bryn returns to Alaska as a doctor for the summer, they find themselves thrown together once again. But is Eli the right guy for Bryn? And is Alaska the right place for them both?
I absolutely love the setting. All the beautiful descriptions make me want to visit Alaska even more than I did before. Lisa’s writing captures setting and makes you feel as if you’re standing with the characters, experiencing the beauty of nature.
The characters are great as well. I love Bryn’s tenacity and determination and Eli’s steadfastness and adorableness. The way the story is set up is also unique and interesting since it takes place over the course of several summers, five years apart. There is so much tension between these two I kept thinking, “Come on, just kiss already!” but I admire that they stand firm in their decisions as well and don’t jump into a relationship they aren’t sure they are ready for or think work out.
As always, Lisa adds in exciting elements that give the story something more than just the romance. This isn’t just a story about two people having feelings for each other. It’s about two people trying to figure out life together: the ups and the downs, the best moments while watching the Northern Lights and the worst moments while freezing to death in the wilderness, the hardships that come with change and life. There’s tension and excitement, soft spoken moments and fierce survival, peace and chaos. And it’s incredible.
This is a Christian fiction book so the characters talk about God and make decisions based on their faith. I never thought it was cheesy or overwhelming. This isn’t one of those “conversion” stories that comes across flaky and unrealistic. It’s just a story about two characters living life with their faith, which is refreshing and relatable.
Lisa has a way with words and stories, and Once Upon an Alaskan Summer is one of her great ones. I don’t always like contemporary romance, especially if it’s not YA, but I highly enjoyed this story.