This is a blend of travelogue, scientific explanation and cultural and scientific history. It is most successful at the travelogue and least successful at the scientific explanation. The author unfortunately suffers from the "Curse of Knowledge" at times, whereby understanding gained over many years of hard study becomes second-nature and one forgets that even the basics are unfamilar to most people - even most well educated people. This makes some of the attempts to explain the origins of the aurora somewhat muddled. It's worth reading, though, if you are interested in the aurora, polar exploration or how vulnerable much of our technology is to events utterly beyond our control, whose ultimate origin is our sun.
This is an oldie but goodie if you are a Nora Robert's old school fan. I haven't read this one in forever, but was glad to see it when I was at Powell's book store. I am happy to say I didn't remember who was the bad guy in this one so I went in legitimately surprised. It's a slow burn romance novel taking place in Alaska. Roberts adds in tons of details about Alaska and the population of Lunacy, Alaska that makes this book really come alive. The only reason why I gave it 4 stars is that the flow of the book was up and down in a few places. Also it took a while for things to get going. Nate wasn't the most interesting character to me, Meg was, I wish that we had spent more time in her head than Nate's honestly.
"Northern Lights" follows former Baltimore police officer Nate Burke to Lunacy, Alaska. Nate is trying to get past watching his former partner die and agrees to become chief of police in Lunacy. Nate slowly starts coming back to life while in Lunacy.
Meg Galloway is a bush pilot who loves her life in Lunacy. She finds herself intrigued by the chief of police since she sees something sad in his eyes that she wants to see disappear. She has a somewhat disastrous relationship with her mother Charlene, but has a great stand in father who has been there for her since her real father left her and her mother when was she was a teen.
Past and present come together though when a dead body is discovered in a cave that leaves Nate to figure out who in Lunacy is a murderer.
I liked Meg more than Nate. Probably because she's honest to a fault. And I liked that she was upfront about wanting sex with Nate and nothing else. Nate started to bug me since Roberts had him doing the alpha male thing (romance novel trope) where he is the big bad man who will protect his woman. Meg shows Nate repeatedly she can take care of herself, but he ignores it. I am glad though that Roberts doesn't have Meg changing herself to suit Nate. I hate that in romance novels.
I do think that Nate and Meg have great romantic chemistry though.
The secondary characters in this one are great too. We have the mayor (Hop), the journalists, Meg's mother, the professor, the cook at the lodge, the brothers who keep getting into trouble, Nate's deputies, etc.
Roberts really did take her time making everyone come alive in this one. I honestly even questioned whether a murder needed to happen in this one. Just reading about the hi-jinks in Lunacy was enough for me.
The writing was good, though be warned this book is very long. It's over 600 pages so it took me a bit more than a day to finish. The flow wasn't consistent throughout and I can't lie and say that every part of the book sang to me. I was slightly bored towards the end until things picked up and the murderer was revealed.
The setting of Lunacy, Alaska fascinated me. Roberts must have done some research into things such as how cars/engines are kept heated. I liked reading about the Northern Lights and how much the town changes when it becomes summer and the sun doesn't quite set for months on end.