by Heather Lende
Heather Lende is a wife, mother and obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, Alaska a town of 2,500 situated 90 miles north of Juneau - a town without a stoplight (even a flashing yellow) and practically inaccessible if the ferry is out and the weather too bad for six-seater air service.
She tells the story of living in Haines firsthand with vivid descriptions of the town's characters: the tattooed Presbyterian pastor, the ZZ Top bearded sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle, the one-legged female gold miner, and the Roy Orbison-impersonator school principal.
The story varies from the humorous anecdotes of the daily interactions among the town people to the sinking of a family fishing boat and the loss of a young man at sea. Mixed in with all of the stories are her vivid word pictures of the moose, the seals, the bears, the mountain goats, and the mountains and glaciers that paint the Alaskan landscape.
This is a enjoyable read and very hard to put down once you start reading it.