Reviews & Accolades
What they're saying about Summer of Fire
book review by Mihir Shah
"She was bound to this land, by blood and by a book that reached to her through the years."
Inspired by the devastating fires that ravaged Yellowstone in 1988, the narrative delivers a hauntingly precise portrayal of fire - its unpredictability, and its power. Best characterized by one of the central characters, park ranger and biologist Dr. Steve Haywood, the destruction is, in many ways, an opportunity for rebirth and overcoming adversity. Revolving around firefighter Clare Chance, this rebirth is not just for nature but also for Clare and the other characters that are constantly juggling their passion for duty with personal scars. Jacobs' work captures both the fickle nature of the fires and the human spirit and emotions of the frontline workers who, despite knowing their efforts will be rendered helpless against the inferno, continue to battle.
Clare is divorced, sharing a teenage child, Devon, with a man who seems more interested in flaunting his wealth than paying attention to his daughter. As determined an individual as one can find, Clare has been shattering norms throughout her life. For example, she left the teaching field to be one of the few female firefighters. Nevertheless, she relishes the camaraderie. Firefighters literally rely on each other to defend their lives. Unfortunately for Clare, an apartment fire during one particular Texas summer leads to the demise of a fellow firefighter and close friend. The torturous experience and survivor's guilt thrust her into the forefront of the Wyoming blaze.
From the perspective of character development, Jacobs has crafted highly personable characters whose indomitable spirit for life and their craft is on display time after time. For instance, there is Steve Haywood, who douses his life in alcohol to drown out the shrill cries and excruciating loss of his wife and infant daughter in a Boeing 737 plane crash. Then there is military veteran Chris Deering's daredevil nature in the cockpit. More than once, readers will likely question why Dr. Haywood doesn't just simply give up, or why Deering won't go to his beautiful wife, Georgia, and listen to her persistent requests to retire from flying.
As the plot unravels, Steve's fear of flying, Deering's sometimes egregious, adrenaline-junkie behavior, and Clare's determination to save lives put them on a collision course that will ultimately determine the fate of Yellowstone. What makes Jacobs' endeavor truly remarkable, though, is her ability to create flawed individuals with purpose with whom readers can identify. This ability stems from the backstory that resurfaces throughout the characters' lives. For Clare, her fear of trusting men is clear. Steve uses alcohol as a mask to avoid intimacy. Deering uses his daredevil nature as a facade to disguise what he truly felt from his wartime days in Vietnam. Almost instantly after their paths collide, the inevitability of a romantic triangle adds a dimension to the unfolding natural disaster that pits their sense of duty, both to their current roles and to the ghosts of their past, with their attractions. Each character is a dichotomy, constantly teetering between being heroic and being consumed by their self-interests.
The author's writing style, in conjunction with strong, thrilling character arcs, brings the 1988 Yellowstone fires to life. There are numerous scenes where the reader will feel the heat of the flames as if under the fire-retardant shelter and completely surrounded by flames. Using an ensemble of active verbs and vibrant imagery, Jacobs lets her readers embrace the sensory experiences through the characters. Moreover, the juxtaposition of each character enduring long, grueling days with their evening interactions over dinner adds a glimpse into the inner workings of the human mind. Even heroes and those that are constantly in the embrace of adversity seek respite, albeit temporary.
While Jacobs' novel is decidedly character-driven, the level of research allows her to stay true and reconstruct a disaster that is authentic to history. At various points throughout the book, the author provides an in-depth account of the actual conditions and damage exacted by the fires. Jacobs transports readers into the minds of the firefighters. How do they make split-second decisions that often abandon any caution for their safety while battling for the welfare of others? A constant dose of adventure, thrill, and calls to action amidst the backdrop of an event that continues to reside in the memories of many who experienced it make Jacobs' historical fiction a novel to relish.
A 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
"She was bound to this land, by blood and by a book that reached to her through the years."
"Human, brutal, wrenching." John J. Nance, NY Times Bestselling author of aviation thrillers.
"Summer of Fire is at once a beautiful and disturbing voyage through the kind of hell only firefighters understand. Clare Chance is as genuine a character as they come - brave, vulnerable, well-trained and thrown by her own act of escape into a forested hell. Beautifully crafted and shudderingly real."
"Uncannily accurate" - says Yellowstone Superintendent Bob Barbee, 1983-1994
"Linda Jacobs has produced a gripping novel about one of the most electrifying events in the annals of American wildfires - the great Yellowstone fires of 1988. Through her fictional characters, Jacobs has captured the essence of the emotional roller coaster, high drama, and the outstanding performance of America's finest wildland firefighters. She has done her homework well and the setting is completely accurate. This is a compelling work and I had trouble putting it down."
SUPERB READING EXPERIENCE - A REAL PAGE TURNER - Harriet Klauser, Amazon.com's # 1 Reviewer, as per the Wall Street Journal.
"Straight-line plot, background is detailed, characters are developed over time - memorable and important secondary characters, will leave you feeling content, at ease, peaceful."
From "Theysaid" on wildlandfire.com - Five Chainsaws
"A very good and satisfying read set against the backdrop and action of the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Good writing, good research. A couple of times I found myself in a mental After Action Review." Posted by Mellie.
"I just finished reading "Summer of Fire". It was excellent. I just wish there were actual fire maps in the book noting the advance of the fire. (Author's note: maps were provided but were too detailed to fit into the format of a mass market paperback.) So if anyone is interested in buying it, it's worth the few dollars. Linda Jacobs is an excellent writer, especially for never being a firefighter herself. Excellent research." Submitted by "PJ."
5 Blue Ribbon Review, Brianna Burress, Romance Junkies
"Summer of Fire is a tense but passionate tale that will keep you anxiously turning each page as you read of the struggles to fight the fires of Yellowstone Park. Linda Jacobs will keep your heart pounding as she describes the fires that tried to destroy Yellowstone in 1988 and the work that was done by the brave men and women who fought this fierce dragon."
Five Stars - Posted to Barnes and Noble by Peggy McMillan, former bookseller
"Be prepared to stay up all night. The story draws you in and makes you feel as if you're there during the horrific Yellowstone National Park wildfires of 1988. Lots of history, realism and human emotion. The main characters are wounded by some tough life experiences and how they deal with their emotional crises makes the story so gritty & real. Linda Jacobs’ research paid off in spades! Kudos to a new voice."
Five Fires! Jeannine D.Van Eperen, Gottawritenetwork.com
" Linda Jacobs does a magnificent job of recreating the scene, the heat, danger and the fatigue the firefighters face, while also telling the stories of four primary characters. All seem very real, and while the reader may not completely like all of them, the reader comes to understand what makes these people tick and how they got to the place in their lives where they now find themselves. Linda Jacobs does a wonderful job of letting us truly see inside her characters' minds."
What they're saying about Rain of Fire
book review by Michelle Jacobs
"Who's going to believe something's going on underneath all this peaceful beauty unless we bide our time and gather evidence?"
Kyle Stone is a geologist who specializes in studying and monitoring earthquakes. As a child, she watched her parents die in the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake near Yellowstone. Scarred by the tragedy, she lives a life of vigilance and fear. But her knowledge and expertise bring her out into the field when a series of strange occurrences break out at Yellowstone. To Kyle, they are warning signs from the earth. She embarks on a race against time to prove that the beauty of Yellowstone belies its fury, which simmers with the potential to crack, quake, and boil. Joining her quest into the backcountry are two men from her past. One is a ranger, and one is a volcanologist. As she faces her childhood tragedy and fears, she begins to consider a future filled with hope rather than terror.
With a touch of romance in this action-packed adventure, Jacobs spins an exhilarating tale filled with loss, urgency, and survival. This rousing adventure into Yellowstone navigates the majesty and havoc of the earth. Kyle embodies this duality of nature in her journey from a terrified child to a capable scientist. Her return to the place of her worst memory with the hope of saving lives is a satisfying, full-circle redemption story, a triumph of the human spirit in the face of catastrophe. Jacobs builds the suspense in this page-turning tale with close calls that tease out the tension. Nature is on full display in this intelligent thriller that reminds readers of the power and unpredictability of the earth. Jacobs revels in the power of storytelling to thrill and to provoke. The story smolders with scientific detail, the interior life of a compelling main character, and a moving evocation of nature.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
"A thrilling vision of what could take place tomorrow" - Robert Vaughan, N.Y. Times Bestselling Author who has published more than 250 novels.
"In Rain of Fire, Linda Jacobs has created a thrilling vision of what it's like to be in the crater of an active volcano. Based on fact, the book details the signs, warnings, and the eruption that could take place in Yellowstone - tomorrow. Fast-paced, yet with touchingly human characters, Rain of Fire is a page-turner of the first magnitude."
"Superb storytelling" - Yellowstone Superintendent Bob Barbee, 1983-1994
"With Rain of Fire, Linda Jacobs is in the zone. The book is a grabber for sure - I could hardly put it down. Jacobs has a gift for weaving story and reality, taking the improbable and moving it to the realm of the possible. Superb storytelling and her grasp of Yellowstone detail is uncanny."
Romance Reviews Today, Connie Ruebusch - A Perfect 10
"RAIN OF FIRE is beautifully written with exceptional plot momentum and well developed characters. Kyle, Wyatt, and Nick are strong and capable, yet each exhibits such a touching vulnerability that the reader is privileged to see the vast possibilities not only in nature but also in life. Every character, primary and secondary, is well rounded and thought out.
As the second book of the Yellowstone series, RAIN OF FIRE includes recurring characters from SUMMER OF FIRE, but is definitely a book that stands entirely on its own."
Harriet Klausner -- 10/10 Value, 8/10 overall rating, recommended
"RAIN OF FIRE by Linda Jacobs is exciting, poignant and puts you on the edge of your seat which is why it is my honor to award RAIN OF FIRE a Perfect 10. Run out and pick up your copy of RAIN OF FIRE and SUMMER OF FIRE today, you won't be disappointed."
Romantic Times BOOKreviews June 2006 - FOUR STARS
"RAIN OF FIRE is an exciting thriller that grips the audience with the tremors that threaten Yellowstone at a time when there seems to be an increase of major natural disasters. The story line is action-packed, warning people about the potential of natural disaster in a place where most people fail to realize the danger."
"Jacobs masterfully combines scientific knowledge and suspense as expert scientists unite to predict the sometimes inexplicable forces of nature. The addition of the tension-filled romance between Kyle and Wyatt adds a human element to this swiftly moving, captivating read."
What they're saying about Lake of Fire
book review by Mihir Shah
"'There was once a great volcano here. The lake fills its crater,' Cord observed. She’d seen obsidian here in the park and other once-molten rocks."
Set in 1900, nearly a century before the 1988 fires that ravaged Yellowstone (the focus of the first book in the series), this novel delivers the same electric energy in depicting characters that interact with the spirit of Yellowstone as in the earlier books. While fire is not as encompassing in this particular story, it undoubtedly plays a pivotal role. The author’s ability to move the plot and character development forward while painting a vivid picture with sensory images is on full display.
When outlaws overtake a stagecoach carrying Laura Fielding to Yellowstone’s Lake Hotel, the paths of the main characters—Laura and her rescuer, William “Cord” Sutton—collide. Witnessing the driver’s death marks the end of Laura’s innocence and entry into a world of adventure that she had pined for since being mesmerized by photographer Henry Jackson’s studies of Wyoming. From battling bears to reeling in trout, Laura develops an identity to which she fiercely clings.
Laura and Cord’s travels on Dante are accentuated by the panoramic portrait of the area's hot springs and lakes where volcanic craters once stood. Readers will be so enchanted by the duo’s journey to the Lake Hotel that it is arguably a moment of sadness when they finally arrive and reacquaint themselves with reality. At the plot’s core is Hank Falls and Cord’s bid for the Lake Hotel.
Within this framework, Jacobs integrates Bitter Waters—Cord’s uncle and the catalyst to his parents’ death. Despite being adopted into an affluent white family, Cord is plagued by his two identities. He is the adopted child of a white family, but his ethnicity is that of a Nez Perce. Chaos ensues as numerous plotlines of blatant racism, family turmoil, revenge vendettas, and a clear-cut abuse of power by Captain Feddors intersect toward a spectacular, unmissable finish.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review
FOUR STARS! Romantic Times Book Reviews
"Jacobs once again spins a winning tale of romance set against the beautiful backdrop of Yellowstone. The characters' captivating journey across the West of the early 20th century will keep the reader's attention from the first page until the riveting conclusion."
Reviewed by Sheri Melnick, Romance Reviews Today
"LAKE OF FIRE is a vastly rich and riveting novel set in the country's first national park. Linda Jacobs uses her familiarity with the setting to its full advantage to show the courage of her protagonists. The park could almost be called the third leading player in the drama that unfolds within and around it. Full of emotion and intrigue, rivalry, greed and the beginnings of love amid natural splendors, LAKE OF FIRE is an exceptional reading experience. Previous (award-winning) books in the series set in more modern times are SUMMER OF FIRE and RAIN OF FIRE. Anyone who has thrilled to the wonders of Yellowstone should be especially interested in Linda Jacobs's colorful, well researched novels."
Spur Award Winner and Bestselling author Kathleen O'Neal Gear
"Lake of Fire is marvelous: well developed characters who grow in the course of the story, truly beautiful physical descriptions of place, and lots of action."
Spur Award Winner and New York Times Bestselling author Robert Vaughan
"Bold and brawling and touchingly human"
Romance Junkies - 4.5 Blue Ribbon Review - LAKE OF FIRE isn't to be missed.
"Linda Jacobs's third installment in the Yellowstone Series, Lake of Fire, keeps up the superlative standard set in WILLA award winning Summer of Fire (Fires of 1988) and Rain of Fire (Supervolcano). This new journey into Yellowstone's past to the year 1900 is bold and brawling and touchingly human. Lake of Fire gives the reader a front row seat for Indian war, stagecoach robbery, and hot pursuit through the backcountry. At the same time, it is a journey into the heart of man . . . and woman."
Reviewed by Lacey -- Romance Junkies
"LAKE OF FIRE is a highly riveting tale set in historical America and centered around one of the most famous national parks in the US. The storytelling grips the reader, pulling them into the novel, and never releases them until the end. Weaving suspense and adventure splendidly with heartwarming romance, Ms. Jacobs impressively creates a tale with very real and likable characters as she masters plot aspects guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat."
Carolyn Lampman -- "Road to Romance" Reviewers Choice Award Winner for her Western novel Wild Honey
"Linda Jacobs is a master storyteller. Lake of Fire is a guaranteed page turner, capturing the essence of Yellowstone and giving us a glimpse of its little known past."
Tina Welling, author of the Wyoming novel Crybaby Ranch
"First page, the reader is in love with the heroine, fifth page in love with the hero, final page in love with the author, Linda Jacobs, for giving the gift of a great story. Lake of Fire swirls with passion and adventure while informing you about the special world of Yellowstone National Park in the early 1900's, a time of wild beginnings that shaped the wonderland we know today."
Bob Barbee -- Yellowstone National Park Superintendent 1983-1994
"Uncanny insight into Yellowstone's geography and history"
"Once again, Linda Jacobs has blended her bounteous imagination with an uncanny insight into Yellowstone's geography and history. She weaves a turn of the century love story, steeped in high adventure and immersed in all the enduring human behaviors of empathy, malice, greed, prejudice and forbearance. As a person intimately familiar with Yellowstone's history, landscape and mystique, I found this a compelling book and had difficulty realizing that it is a creation of Linda Jacobs."
Harriet Klausner, Amazon.com's Number One Reviewer FIVE STARS
"Readers will enjoy this Americana romance that brings to life the business expansion across the western states. Fans will feel they are in Wyoming in 1900 as Linda Jacobs paints a vivid picture of the stagecoach trek and the town of Yellowstone at a time when the country celebrated the start of a new century. The star-crossed romance augments the historical elements of the well written engaging LAKE OF FIRE."
National Federation of Press Women
"Lake of Fire has a touch of everything: engaging narrative, intriguing characters, adventure, romance, and a remote locale descriptively drawn. Readers will find lots to like here."
Rus Bradburd, author of "Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey of Irish Hoops"
"Few writers can tell a story like Linda Jacobs. Her books gallop out of our collective Western history, onto the page, and into our hearts."
**Books that helped me understand the history of the early years of the park: For Everything there is a Season -- Frank Craighead, Falcon Press, Old Yellowstone Days -- edited by Paul Schullery, University Press of Colorado, and F. Jay Haynes, Photographer, Montana Historical Society. On the Nez Perce and the War of 1877: Soun Tetoken, Kenneth Thomasma, Grandview Publishing Co., and Following the Nez Perce Trail, Cheryl Wilfong, Oregon State University Press.
**Thanks to my husband Richard Jacobs for consulting on firearms and other details, and to Dr. Lee Whittlesley, of the Yellowstone archives, for showing me around on my several visits there. Thanks to my agent Susan Schulman, my publisher Medallion Press, and to the following for giving critical input on all or part of the manuscript: Deborah Bedford, Carolyn Lampman, Elizabeth Engstrom, Kathleen O'Neal Gear, Sarah Lazin, and my Rice University writer's group - Marjorie Arsht, Kathryn Brown, Judith Finkel, Bob Hargrove, Elizabeth Hueben, Karen Meinardus, the late Joan Romans, Jeff Theall, and Madeline Westbrook.
What they're saying about Jackson Hole Journey
Lucia St. Clair Robson, Spur Award winning author of Ride the Wind
"In Jackson Hole Journey, Linda Jacobs paints a vivid portrait of ranch life in Wyoming in the first quarter of the 20th century. With understated eloquence, she describes a devastating natural disaster and the much subtler conflicts of the heart."
Robert Vaughan, New York Times Bestselling Author, Pulitzer Nominee, and Spur Award winner (as K.C. McKenna)
"Linda Jacobs writes with power and authority about people you care about in one of the most fascinating places and times – as the Old West of Jackson Hole begins to yield to the modern era. I strongly recommend Jackson Hole Journey."
Jane Kirkpatrick, best-selling author of An Absence so Great
"Each character is there for a reason in Linda Jacob’s Jackson Hole Journey including the earthquakes, land slides, towering mountains and the steam and mystery of Yellowstone that engage the men and women of this vast Wyoming landscape. Linda takes us to a guest ranch in 1925 where we meet a family finding its way through legacy and innovation. With historical detail woven in with care, we discover Francesca, a young woman on a journey of her own. Mix in two very different brothers, involved parents, a potential partner with affairs of his own heart to tend to and you have a story that makes a reader think: "This is how it must have been. I wish I could have been there." A captivating page turner that lets us all know why Linda Jacobs is an award-winning writer."
Sherry Monahan, Author, True West columnist, and Wrangler Award Winner
"Jackson Hole Journey is another "can't put it down" by Linda Jacobs. She quickly ropes you in with characters you love and hate. The story that takes the characters along their journey is fast-paced, exciting, and historical--like a ride down the Grand Canyon. Jacobs's descriptive writing is done so well that you can almost smell Francesca's cooking! I hated to see it end."