Sunday, 8 January 2017

Books Read: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

'A thought came to me that I couldn't force away: What we are wearing is how we'll be identified out in the wilderness.'

Win Allen doesn't want an adventure. 

After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans.

Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air. 

No phone coverage. No people. 

No help...

Amazon links: Kindle or Hardcover

It's definitely clear that as I'm getting older my reading tastes are changing but not sure what it says about me that I'm tending to read a lot more crime and psychological thrillers!  So when I was contacted last year by Joe at Bloomsbury asking if I'd like to take part in the blog tour for the flagship title for their new crime imprint Raven, I didn't hesitate to say yes.

The River at Night features four friends who, despite graduating many years ago and their lives taking them in different directions, try to get together every year for a short break.  For most women in their mid thirties this would involve a stay at a spa resort or a beach vacation which is exactly what Wini had hoped for after an eventful year following her divorce and death of her beloved brother.  But sadly for her her spirited friend Pia has other ideas, Pia has decided that they need adventure and wants herself, Wini, Rachel and Sandra to go White Water rafting for 5 days in the Maine wilderness... what could possibly go wrong?

From the outset you knew that this was a story that was not going to be all plain sailing, and it's clear that tensions were high between the friends before they'd even set off.  And it's not long before things take a turn for the worse for them...  Will they be able to put their troubles behind them and work together as a team to navigate the treacherous terrain or will this be one battle too far for them to deal with?

It was clear that each of the women had their own strengths, weaknesses and roles within the group.  Pia was definitely the leader and most vocal of the group, whereas Wini was a born worrier and I found myself thinking that if only she'd listened to the negative thoughts that had told her she didn't want to go on this trip but then again there wouldn't have been a story!  Rachel, an ER nurse, is finally facing up to a life of sobriety, whereas Sandra has decisions to make with regards to her marriage and what she wants to do with her life.

Told through short sharp chapters, the story pulls you in and takes you on a ride with the women as they face one danger after another as they try to navigate their way back to safety.  Along the way they are pushed to their absolute limits, which brings out the worst in some and best in others, and are forced to make decisions that no-one in their wildest dreams would want to have to make but ones that are necessary to help them survive.

The descriptions of the stark wilderness and the rapid-flowing river with its death-defying drops were well-written and all added to the drama of the storyline.  But were there times when I thought it was all getting a bit too far-fetched and thought about giving up reading, truthfully yes but at the same time I was compelled enough to keep on reading to the bitter end to see how this tense trip was going to end.

Overall I was glad that I took the chance to read The River at Night as it was definitely different to everything I've read recently, and I look forward to seeing what Erica Ferencik has in store for readers in the future.

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