Book Review, Books Read in 2017, Thriller

The River at Night

The River at Night book cover
Title: The River at Night
Author: Erica Ferencik
Year Published: 2017
Genre: Thriller
Obtained: at the Public Library

Synopsis: Four women take on an adventure white water rafting in the Maine wilderness when a fatal accident sends them on a whirlwind fight for their lives trying to get back to civilization.

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My grandmother is an avid reader (which is probably where I get it from!) and she recommended that I read this book. It took me awhile to get around to it. I have quite a pile of unread books on my bookshelf, but I’m so glad I got to it. This book kept me literally on the edge of my seat! Page after page, I was sucked into the lives and surroundings of these women. The author did such an incredible job with describing the wilderness of Maine that it felt like I was there myself.

I’m no stranger to New England, especially Maine, but these women were so off the grid that the nearest town was 30 miles away. It’s just something I can’t fathom, but Ferencik’s setting was so well written it wasn’t difficult to imagine. The backcountry of Maine is in itself a main character of this novel. During the day, the characters are in awe of the beauty of the wilderness, but at night, they become terrified of the secrets that the woods hold. The literal difference of the woods are night and day.

The Characters

The connection between the four women at the beginning is a bit strained. They’ve been friends for years but life has kept them apart living in separate states. They unite only during major life events and once a year for a girls vacation. Their relationship doesn’t get much better as they begin their trek into the Maine backcountry. But it only gets worse when their rafting trip doesn’t go as planned. They throw blame around and get very hostile with each other trying to find the best solution to their predicament.

It’s only near the end that they come together a little bit more, working together to escape the wild. But in the very end, you can tell that things have changed irrevocably. Words can’t be unsaid, actions can’t be undone, and these characters have to live with what happened to them and the cause and effect of their own actions. Nothing for them will ever be the same.

This story really stayed with me long after I finished reading it. Ferencik brought the characters’ personal histories to the table as well, mingling in what these women had been through in the past and how it’s so prevalent while they’re lost in the wilderness. She brings through their strengths and weaknesses in their personalities as well, making me feel like I could be one of them lost in the wilderness. Ferencik makes them relatable and real.

Overall, I really recommend this book for anyone who loves a good thriller and likes to get invested in the lives of the characters!


Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Storyline: 5 stars (An incredible journey that had so many twists and turns.)
Characters: 4 stars (Some flaws here and there, but overall they were well-developed.)
Setting: 5 stars (The setting itself was a character all its own!)
Reading Pace: 5 stars (I couldn’t put it down!)
Memorable Quote: “What difference does it make how old I am or what jeans I can fit into or how fast my roots come in? My aging body, my dull job, I mean, really, who cares?
I’m alive.

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