By Kari Herbert
Greystone Books, $18.95, 347 pages

Polar Wives by Kari Herbert is a tale only the daughter of Arctic explorers could tell. She characterizes the relationships between the explorers and their wives with a deft pen and crisp, swift prose that cuts through time and struggle as surely as a sled runner. The vibrancy and individuality of these resilient women shines through on the page, as their husbands fight the elements and struggle for fame, while the wives explore their own crucial role in their husbands’ superstar-like lives. The Victorian and Edwardian ages of polar exploration have never been matched for the interest of the public in the investigations of the wild, frigid polar worlds. Polar Wives captures this mania and the remarkable women behind these remarkable and outrageous explorers. Wives, mothers, publicists, defenders, financiers, and fellow adventurers, this gem of a book engages an audience as thoroughly as the expeditions did in their heyday, telling the stories of women like Emily Shackleton, Jane Franklin, Jo Perry, Eva Nansen, and Marie Herbert with a grace and style as captivating as the northern landscape itself.

Reviewed by Axie Barclay