When Bonnie agrees to follow husband Sam's dream of selling all their possessions and moving the wilderness of Alaska, she realizes that one man's dream is possibly this woman's nightmare. While looking for land to purchase, Sam and Bonnie feel more like they are on a permanent camping trip than on the cusp of planting their marital roots. Cut off from most outside influences, Bonnie learns to cope with no electric, running water, and oft times no social interaction. She covets the rare journey from the log cabin she and Sam built themselves across wicked Skilak Lake to visit the post office for news from family back home. Ultimately, Bonnie comes to realize that the combination of friends and memories, the hard work and sacrifices, are equivalent to the true meaning of home.
Winds of Skilak is that book that you never want to end, but that cannot be put down. Never have I held such a gem in my hands. Bonnie Rose Ward not only lived this exciting adventure, but she literally pulls the reader along with her.
★FIRST PLACE - 2015 JOURNEY AWARDS for Narrative Non-Fiction Chanticleer Book Reviews
★WINNER - 2014 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARD memoir
★HONORABLE MENTION - 2014 Forward Review's Book of the year
★FINALIST - 2014 USA BEST BOOK AWARD Autobiography/Memoir category.
When I met Bonnie in Sutton, West Virginia, we were signing our books at a small library in that town as part of a Young Writer's celebration. It is lays a thrill to meet other authors and sometimes trade books. That is what Bonnie and I did and I left that event with a commitment to read her story during my summer camping vacation.
Yep, our annual family summer vacation consists of camping in Randolph County, WV. The perfect setting for this book, right? Bonnie laughed at my plan to align my vacation with her life. We could "rough it" together.
Boy, was I ever wrong about that. When I finish reading the book the first time (It is worth the second read!), I looked around our camp and sent a prayer up in thanks for the electric that our camping trailer has, the running water in the pipes, and even the satellite dish on the roof.
While Bonnie and Sm spent many nights sleeping on the frozen ground and consuming beans as an only item on their daily menu, I read of their journeys on a sheltered porch to the sound of our electric ice maker popping out little, perfectly shaped cubes.
Even the tent stacked in our yard for our young nieces is moire luxurious than the accommodations shared by the young married couple of which I read.
I read Winds of Skilak two times in the week that I was in "camp" and shared the adventure with anyone and everyone who visited my porch. As I passed the book on to a visiting friend from North Carolina, she enthusiastically promised to read it before sharing it with another camping friend from Upshur County, WV. My husband is next in line to travel to Skilak Lake when the book is returned to me...But I might just have to read it again before I give it him.
At one time in my life, I might have been concerned about the physical condition of my returned, signed treasure; but as an author myself, I hope the pages are well worn and Bonnie's words are smudged with tears.
Lesson: When you find a good story, a really really good story, share it with as many people as you can. Trace the words with a finger, make note of the author's words, and be grateful to included in the journey.
Hey, and do not freak out if the book is returned to you with bent pages and coffee stains. I won't be. I know where I can get another copy! Bonnie will probably sign this one, too!
Until next week, keep reading!