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Friday, January 13, 2017

Whitewater Wilderness Adventure Far-Fetched, But Engrossing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

There's no doubt that Winifred Allen needs a vacation.  Grieving both the loss of her brother and the end of her marriage, the 39-year-old could use a break.  An extreme river rafting adventure isn't quite what she had in mind, but when her BFFs suggest it for an upcoming girl's trip, Wini can't talk her way out of going.  Reluctantly, she joins her three besties as they head into Maine's Allagash Wilderness.  

Wini's concern grows when she meets the river guide, 20-year-old college student Rory Ekhart.  He's nice to look at, sure, but does he know what he's doing?  It's not long before they find out.  A freak accident leaves the group stranded in the woods.  Soon, they're struggling to survive—against nature, each other, and a host of other dangers lurking in the wilderness.  Can they all make it out alive?  Or will their gal pal adventure mean the end of their friendship forever?

I enjoy a good man vs. nature survival story where ordinary people have to dig deep for the will to survive an extraordinary situation.  The River at Night, a debut novel by Erica Ferencik, tells just such a story.  Naturally, it's an exciting, fast-paced adventure tale full of twists and turns, danger and drama.  Yes, it's far-fetched—I mean, would a group of inexperienced middle-aged women really sign up for an extreme, week-long outdoor adventure led by a kid they know little about?  And what is the likelihood that everything would go wrong pretty much right from the start?  Well, it makes for a thrilling story, anyway.  In the end, I didn't love The River at Night, but it did keep me engrossed and guessing—two hallmarks of a good, gripping page turner.   

(Readalikes: I can't think of any specific books, but The River at Night did remind me of the movie The River Wild)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love: I received an e-ARC of The River at Night from the generous folks at Scout Press/Simon and Schuster via those at Wunderkind PR and NetGalley.  Thank you!  
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