What If? Review - Terror at Turtle Mountain
Reviewed by: Emma Louth
Listen up, girls! Want a book involving heroic feats leading to a young girl's self-discovery? Then Terror at Turtle Mountain by Penny Draper should be on top of your reading list. At only 144 pages, it still has a concrete story line with a message of strength and courage aimed at girls thirteen and under. More experienced readers will find this an easy read.
This well-researched historical fiction is set in 1903 in the town of Frank located in British Columbia, where the most horrific landslide in Canada occurred. Frank was a typical, small mining community with a mine inside Turtle Mountain. The landslide happens during the night, obliterating many houses, destroying telegraph poles and blocking the railroad tracks. If the regularly scheduled train is not warned, it will collide with the rocks, leaving little chance of survival. The only fictional characters are Nathalie Vaughan (the main character) and her family. The rest of the characters in the book are real people and what happened to them is accurate.
We begin with Nathalie on a typical day of a teen in the 1900's, going to school, playing with friends. It is a slow pace. Then the mountain comes apart, launching us into a world of terror. The miners are trapped, the sleeping people are oblivious to what is hurtling down the mountainside, and the train carrying Nathalie's cousin is due to come down the tracks at any moment. Now we share Nathalie's life-changing experiences through the mayhem of the disaster. "She...sees bodies rushing in all directions...They looked ghostly through the limestone dust... but no one seemed to be in charge." (67)
What happens to the miners? The sleeping people? The train? How will Nathalie meet destiny's call? Read Terror at Turtle Mountain to find out.