cora holmes
Cora Holmes
Cora Holmes' Reviews

cora holmes' book reviews

Rochester: A Memoir
Alaska's Wild West
Time Of The Otter
Outside Man
Goodbye, Boise and Dear Cora...


"Rochester, is a story that will be treasured by all lovers of "Jane Eyre". It is of their time together as seen through Rochester's eyes and gives the reader greater insight into his character and being. While Rochester is passionate and dangerously attractive in his arrogant and sullen manner, the writer skillfully portrays his desperate need of tenderness and love. A man who has suffered much in his life, Rochester becomes very real and endearing to the reader.

Cora Holmes is an amazing writer and has a gift for storytelling that captures the reader's interest from the very beginning. She has a talent for personalizing her characters and making them come alive and real. "Rochester" may well be her best work. - R. Hawley, Editor



Dear Cora:
Thank you so much for sending a copy of "Alaska's Wild West" to the Smithsonian Institution Archives. I have it up at the reception desk and everyone who looks at it is WOWED! It is incredibly beautiful and the quality is outstanding.

You know what geeks we are when we saw the reference to the end sheets and it was perfect. I heard more than one person say, "Now that's a proper citation." Anyone using your book who is curious about that image knows exactly where to find it. BRAVA. - Smithsonian Institution Archives

"...a glorious book. I am so delighted that you've written it. I'm sure it will be enjoyed by many and consulted for years and years." - Raymond Hudson, author of Moments Rightly Placed, and Family After All.



Time of the Otter wins second award, the 2011 Independent Publisher's gold medal for romance!

Cora, Thank you. When reading the book, I feel as though I'm within the story itself- I felt as though I was her. I could feel her emotions. The transformation to the old Aleut village life, the language and into a sea otter- was real. The suspense was all the way up to the end of the book (because I did not know if both Katherina & Vince were going to share their lives together) as it was written so well. Cora, the descriptions of the land, the way the seagulls sang, the motion of the wind, and the souls of each individual being was intriguing. Again, qagasaakun! —Janis Loresa Krukoff, Aleut, Unalaska, AK

What still stays in my memory is the way you describe the heroine...her entry into that hidden cave where she meets her lover...your marriage of past and present with the flavor of the paranormal. You kept me reading page after page long after the lights should have been out. Your detail in describing the terrors of the ship chilled my blood. In conclusion, as a classroom volunteer, I admired your solutions for present challenges with the young people in remote communities. You offer inspiration for a future of hope. Thank you. —Doris Telleria, kindergarten and first grade classroom volunteer, Garfield School, Boise, Idaho

Now-as to your wonderful book-I enjoyed it immensely, fanciful in parts, mystical actually, but a wonderful yarn, beautifully told in the true storyteller's tradition. Kate Browning and her wonderful cove still move in and out of my thoughts several times a day. Your descriptions are very vivid, painting wonderful pictures...especially for those readers who will never see the unique and distinct topography of the islands. Characters are sharply drawn and evoke a sympathy and connection right away. I liked how the teenagers came into the story. As with Outside Man I couldn't put the book down, yet I didn't want it to end. I loved it. —Reverend Dale R. Kelly, Methodist minister, Anchorage, Alaska

A good read. I loved what you did with the otters. —Shawn Dickson, anthropologist, University of Alaska rural extension director, Unalaska, Alaska



The protagonist of Cora Holmes' novel The Outside Man is Mell Stewart, a woman who has suffered recurring nightmares and panic attacks ever since the death of her newborn son four years earlier. With her crooked, charismatic husband dead and her life a mess, Mell has traveled to the Alaskan wilderness in search of Askhana, the Aleut mummy rumored to offer guidance to those who ask.

But when she finds Askhana, she also finds Adam Hudson. With his Aleut features and taciturn manner, Adam is the embodiment of the Outside Man, the legendary Aleut outlaw spurned by his own people. The foster brother of her late husband, Adam stood accused of killing his mother, and was disowned by the family patriarch. Adam has come to Askhana for guidance in his quest to clear his name. But the signs from Askhana indicate that Adam and Mell's futures lie along the same path.

Holmes' spare language echoes the stark beauty of the Aleutian wilderness, and the novel is resplendent with myth and wild magic. When Mell falls into a glory hole (a deep and unexpected pit) she climbs out using a bone she finds as a belaying pin. When she learns the bone is that of an Aleut—most likely an Outside Man—she becomes intent on returning it to the body in the glory hole, for the Aleuts believe that to cut up a body disperses the soul's power. In her quest to return the Outside Man's power, Mell discovers her own power to save herself and Adam.

Holmes has created a wonderfully tight story. While Adam's attempts to clear his name drive the novel's action, the real adventure lies in the depths that Mell and Adam discover within themselves. Both yearn for connection and family, both are nearly crippled by their pasts, but they are also strong willed and stubborn. With their contradictions, disappointments, strivings, and yearnings, Mell and Adam have a natural complexity that seems to transform them from characters into real people, and the book from fiction into truth.

Indeed much of the book is concerned with transformation. Holmes uses the glory hole as a metaphor for the power that lies deeply within us all; descent into the pit's darkness mirrors the descent Adam and Mell make into their own internal landscapes, emerging with new knowledge of themselves. Outside Man becomes, then, a deeply felt journey into and out of the darkness.

Cora Holmes lives and writes in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. She is the author of Good-Bye, Boise...Hello, Alaska, and Dear Cora... as well as several magazine articles and short stories." - BookWire Review, May 11, 2006

"Ancient legends, edge of the seat suspense, a heart tugging romance and such vivid details that the reader is right there at every turn of the plot. Outside Man has it all. This is a wonderful story that will appeal to both romance readers, fans of Tony Hillerman, and other Native American based suspense tales. Ms. Holmes keeps you guessing until the last page where she delivers a happy ending and all the loose ends tied as well." Gwynn Morgan, author of Powerful Medicine and the Copper Stars Of Cochise series

"The drama of Outside Man unfolds on many levels, the secrets of the past, the tense intimacies of a man and woman on a grueling trek across a rugged wind-swept island in the Aleutians, and the fascinating promise of Askhana. It is a journey of faith, love, and trust. Outside Man will linger in your memory forever." Helen Marie Graham, Editor

"Your manuscript was truly a joy to work on. You write so passionately about the kids Mell teaches. I want this book for my own library shelves." Pat Dunbar, Editor Treble Heart Books

"I need to write about your new book. I was so disappointed when I started to read it. I thought it would be more about the ranch like the other two. But, I thought, I want to finish it, and boy, was I glad. I couldn't put it down. Good work." Jeanne W in Hubbard, NE

"I love reading and do a lot of it, especially in the winter, but it is rare for me to say about a book, "I couldn't put it down." Outside Man is the exception. I'm a rapid reader. I felt exhausted when I finished as if I'd been there experiencing what Mell and Adam did. As a rapid reader I'm scarcely conscious of reading - I feel as if I'm actually in the story. Recently I read an article, how writers may put seemingly insignificant details in a story which turn out later to be very important. I saw evidences of that. As new locations, behaviors, settings and people were introduced I thought about how each might be a result of your own experiences or observations. Mell's class of special needs children-where did that come from? ....why did you choose North Wales for Sebastian's studio...? Wish we have known Margaret and Amos better. They sound like lovely people." Elizabeth D. in Southington, CT

"The book was great. I couldn't put it down. Was surprised how it ended. It really is a wonderful story. You did a great job." Dorothy M. in Murdo, SD

"I just had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book. I read it when I first received it-well, I had too read it again last month. I couldn't put it down and stayed up past midnight. I love the novel. I imagined those cliffs. I could almost see the mummy's cave. The story kept me reading page after page. You have a gift for writing, Cora." Renee A. in Paradise, CA

"Read your book, twice already. I was afraid I missed something so started all over. Your book is amazing! So interesting. I love mysteries. Thanks for the autograph. My daughter-in-law was impressed. She has read your other books and liked them." Mary W. Hancock, MA

"Speaking of wonderful stories, I sure enjoyed your book. The story and characters were great so all your hard work is appreciated." Bobbie S. Martin, TN

"Great to get your book. I really thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my tests is how much I think of the characters once I've closed the book and when I've finished and I thought about them a loot-almost wishing I hadn't finished the book, wanting to read more! There's my test. I loved the way you brought inn the native characters and lore-beautiful! I also kept picking up little parts that I wondered if you had brought from your own real life, like the fear of water and the baby in the garbage..?" H. Lopez in Boise, ID

"Right now I'm half way through Outside Man and I can't wait to read the outcome. It is great, a love story, a mystery, history and geography, all in one, plus adventure." Gloria W. Westchester, IL

"Enjoyed your book, Outside Man, so much I read it twice. I love your style of writing." Audrey C. Woodstock, GA

"I've finished your wonderful book!! Fantastic. I could barely put it down. Robin Wood says you are a very powerful writer. From one author too another I'm sure that is a great compliment." Doris H. Olympia, WA

"I am enjoying your book! I don't have as much time as I would like to get some 'me' time to read. It is so interesting I hate to put it down." N. Koch, Raymond, WA

"Boy, you sure write interesting books. I got it yesterday and have been reading it every chance I get. I'll spend New Year's Eve reading my book. Please let me know when you are going to do another. I'll sure buy it." Delia H., International Falls, MN

"Cora, the mighty Polar Star safely returned from Antarctica. Nice stops in Sydney and Honolulu. Your book was waiting for me when I got home so I sat down and finished it in two sittings. A real page turner...custom made for me. I could relate to almost everything and everyone except for Wales (well, actually, I can't relate to a lady who could wait a day to open a pack of pictures.) Anyhow, WOW! I can't imagine the effort it took, you should be very proud...I hope it sells well...and that a second one is in the offing." Captain Bruce, USCG

"I generally do not have time to sit down and read a book straight through. Before I go to bed I like to read a chapter at a time. Now your book was quite different. As I kept reading it was hard to put the book down. But then, my problem was, 'Oh no, it is midnight already, I have to go to sleep. But when I got too the last fifty pages, I decided I just had to stay awake and finish the book. Because Ii have read your other two books, it was easy for me to visualize so much of what you wrote about in Outside Man, which, of course, made the book even more special to read. I liked the story line very much. I always enjoy reading a book that has a bit of love and mystery in it. I'm very glad you had a happy ending. I hope you have some ideas for another book." Ethel M. Amherst, OH

"I loved your book. You are a good writer. What an adventure for Mell and Adam. Guess they were meant to be together. It keeps you in suspense until the end. II will always be glad to add any future books of yours to my collection." Lori N. Nashville, TN

"Congratulations! Outside Man is a great book, well written, diverse characters who come alive, each place a setting well set, complex relationships and emotions. I loved the character development and plot development, both of which kept me turning pages late into the night. The description of the landscape, climate, and mood of places are superb. Having lived in Alaska, I appreciated the realistic tension between native and white belief systems, the communication misunderstandings, and the basic humanity that crosses cultures-and how the art of Sebastian Cain too crosses cultural borders." Anne Millbrooke, author of Aviation History, Bozeman, MT

"You did a great job. ...As a fifty-three year-old adolescent boy, I enjoyed the action in the beginning and end more than the relationship and baby stuff in the middle. But the whole story was very well written. The mystical ending was very cool and totally unexpected, even though you'd set it up nicely. I'm impressed and a little jealous." Robin H., Greendale, WI

"Outside Man is as beautiful book, inside and out. It is exciting, full of adventure, mystery, history, and a beautiful love story. I truly did enjoy it. Keep writing." Joyce G., Santa Rosa, CA

"I can honestly say I was sad when the book ended. I wanted it to go on and on. You are to be congratulated in your talented role as author, creator, and entertainer. Thank you. I'm anxious to share it with my friends now." Joyce B. Ashland, OH

"Outside Man was an awesome combination-cultural/mystery/love story....I really do think it would make a wonderful movie. I say this sincerely and seriously...As I went along reading, Ii found I wanted to savor it, just a chapter at a time. There was so much emotion going on with Adam and Mell; then I found myself hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed in the did a super job of tying all the answers to the questions together...then topped it off with sweet love as us readers were hoping for. Tonight as I head to my sleeping retreat, I'm wondering what I might read and can look forward too with such eagerness as Outside Man! I come up 'blank'." Joyce B. Central, NY


Goodbye, Boise...Hello, Alaska & Dear Cora

"I purchased four sets of your books and every person I gave them to loved them. My cancer stricken sister-in-law said they really took her mind beyond her sick bed. You are truly my Eleanor Roosevelt. She was my ideal for all the work she did-so did you, Miss Cora. Thank you for coming into my life." Kay Espinosa, Yucaipa, California

"I just finished reading your books and I must say I could not put them down. The adventure, love, daily/seasonal routines, the ups and downs of raising your children on a remote island is a mind bending thing." Pat Fessler, Crownsville, Maryland

"Please excuse my use of "Cora" rather than Mrs. Holmes. After reading your books I feel as though we are all family. You probably get more mail like this than you care to receive but after reading those in the book, I decided to join the crowd and tell you of my experiences in regard to Dutch Harbor and Unalaska...." Don Taylor, California

"I just finished your delightful book! I was attracted to it by your interest in self-sufficiency and your spirit of adventure..." Bobbie Steinke, Martin, Tennessee

"I just had the immense pleasure of finishing your two books! I am only disappointed I don't have a third to start reading..." Collette Hand, Palmer, Alaska

"I like to keep in touch with you at least once a year. We have all your correspondence placed safely with your books, which Milton and I have read and reread..." Martha and Milton Headings, Archbold, Ohio

"I have just had the pleasure of staying at Chernofski Ranch foro a few weeks.. I'm a fish and Wildlife Service biologist and was assisting in a bird mortality study in response to the Selendang Ayu oil spill. While at the ranch I read your book...I found all of it fascinating. Pat Walsh, Dillingham, Alaska

I subscribe to Yankee is where I first learned about you and I sent away for your books. I was so touched by your story and what a dramatic turn of events led you to Alaska. I read that book many times and often toughed to tears by both of them..." Mary Snowbird Mzurecky, San Juan Capistrano, California