Review: The River at Night

January 24, 2017 book review 3

  • Written by:  Erica Ferencik
  • Published by:  Gallery/Scout Press an imprint of Simon & Schuster, January 10, 2017
  • Length:  304 pages
  • Source: E galley via Net Galley, permission granted by publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I was not paid for this review.


A high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters, visceral prose, and pacing as ruthless as the river itself, The River at Night is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

My Thoughts:

Holy crap this book grabbed my attention, and if I was a faster reader I would have finished it in one day instead of two! I also couldn’t stop talking about it to my husband.  It’s like Deliverance, but substitute women and take out the violent sex, it’s a wild ride!

Let me first say I’m not an adventure seeker and I didn’t really see this as part of Winifred’s persona either, so I thought she was quite the team player and friend for agreeing to a water rafting trip in sparsely populated Maine.  While I’m sure the undisturbed beauty of the Allagash Wilderness is real, the thought of hiking and rafting in it has little appeal.  Just the drive up there seemed bleak and scary to me.  Erica Ferencik described the landscape and the lack of commerce and people perfectly.  The one gas station/restroom is a visual I’ll never forget.

Being left alone to manage the river, plot a way out and back to civilization is tough enough, discovering people who live far off the grid adds an ominous tone to the already high stakes adventure.  Every page and chapter in this book bring more challenges and a real test of their friendship.  I enjoyed seeing the relationships of Wini, Pia, Rachel and Sandra grow during the book.  When your life depends on each other a unique bond is formed.

I loved this book, it was well paced, the language is beautiful and the emotions run wild.  My heart raced as I was reading, I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.  If you’re a fan of suspense, this is a book you’re going to love. Highly recommend.

3 Responses to “Review: The River at Night”

  1. Rhonda

    Definitely moving this book to top of my tbr list.just the thought of going down the river scares me not an outdoor type but reading about it perfect.

  2. ondbookshelf

    I was on the fence about this one, but after reading this review, I’m definitely adding it to my wish list! Great review Anita!

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