The River At Night by Erica Ferencik
“When does hope turn into masochism?”
Winifred Allen desperately needs to get away. She loathes her job, she has been recently crushed by the death of her beloved brother, and her husband has left her. When her three best friends suggest that Wini join them on a trip in Northern Maine, to white water raft in the Allagash Wilderness, Wini has hesitations. But her loneliness and fear of her mundane life cause her to give in and agree to go.
What starts out as a life-changingly invigorating trip, turns into a hellish nightmare. A freak accident has left them stranded in the wilderness. Separated from their raft, they have nothing that they need to survive. They are hopeless; however, when dusk approaches, they see a glowing light from what seems to be someone’s campfire. The campfire seems to be located at someone’s homestead in the mountaintops. This could be their lifeline. These people could be able to tell them their way out of the wilderness. But as they learn the true intentions of these truly wild people, the four women must do things they never imagined they were capable of doing, in order to survive.
Erica Ferencik is a wonderful writer, and a master of pacing. This book moves and flows perfectly. It’s fast paced, but in a way where she beautifully lets you rest between the book’s highs and lows. I felt completely engaged when reading this book. I could feel every intention of the author through her writing. I was physiologically involved during the intense and frightening paragraphs: my heart raced, my breath was caught in my throat, and I felt frozen with the real fear that the characters in the novel were experiencing.
One of the things that I reluctantly appreciated about this book, was how it depicted the reality of friendship. It was both beautiful and also a little heartbreaking because it was real life.
You had the friend who sort of always disappeared in the mix. One of the friends who everyone loved with just a small twinge of resentment because she really only wanted to be a friend when it was on her time table, but she’s just too much fun to flush her down the friendship toilet. One of the friends was also a recovering alcoholic, and the other one a survivor of breast cancer. They all had to deal with very real issues and problems as four women who grew up together through all of one another’s crap. You could tell how much they loved each other by how much they were willing to hate each other, when disaster struck.
Ultimately, I loved this book. The pacing was perfect, and I felt that the characters were very real and relatable, despite their ages and lives differing from mine. I could tell that the author did a lot of research in her writing too, and this I appreciated. I gave this book 4.5/5 stars.
*I received a copy of The River at Night by Erica Ferencik through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Gallery Books and to Erica Ferencik for the opportunity*