Marie St. Onge-Davidson is president of the Essential English Centre in
Breaking Trail, Joanne Bell’s first novel, was inspired by her own
experiences travelling by dog team and living in remote cabins in
Yukon’s Ogilvie Mountains.
A young girl named Becky is determined to participate in a dangerous
11–day race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse. As she travels with her
father, mother, and younger sister to their cabin in the Yukon
mountains, Becky is driving her own dog team for the first time. She is
worried about her parents’ relationship and at the same time is
preoccupied with her dogs and their training. Of particular concern is
her lead dog, Ginger, who is about to have pups. Throughout the story,
italicized paragraphs present glimpses of Becky’s happier past.
Breaking Trail incorporates the author’s expertise with respect to
handlers, mushers, and dog teams, and is filled with a sense of
wilderness adventure. The story is destined to be a favourite among
young readers interested in the Canadian north. Recommended.