The River at Night was a good read, but it wasn’t as good as I was hoping given the hype. Four friends, Pia, Rachel, Sandra, and Winifred, head to the remotest region of Maine for a river rafting trip, their annual girls weekend. The story is narrated by Wini, who’s recently gone through a divorce and is still devastated by the death of her brother. She has reservations about the trip, but Pia, the wild, outgoing one, convinces her everything will be fine.
The women are accessing a never before rafted river because their young tour guide’s family owns the land that has the only launching point onto the river. It’s supposed to be the experience of a lifetime, and Pia has organized for them to take the maiden voyage before the tour company becomes so popular that they cannot get a booking.
As you may guess, things don’t go quite as planned.
The pacing was a little off with this book. There are only 304 pages, but at least half is exposition. All of it told from Wini’s point of view. Perhaps if the perspective had shifted to the other women as well, the beginning wouldn’t have dragged quite as much. Then the second half of the book is fully action-packed, but it just didn’t make up for the slow beginning for me.
Rating: 3 Stars
The River at Night
Simon and Schuster
January 10, 2017
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.