A group of close friends get together every year to go on new adventures. This time the four women get wrapped up in a daring river wilderness trip, which only one of them is looking forward to, but that all will go along with to escape the humdrum of normal life. Of course the trip turns into a nightmare mesh of wilderness meeting human depravity.
The River of Night involves four women but is told singularly through the main character, Winnie, a recently divorced and middle-age woman who has a loyal heart and semi-adventurous spirit. The book opens with her small dabs of humor and self-approach, setting a good lead for the story. I dug how the author mainly focused on the dynamics of the friends, including some of them feeling a little betrayed by the boy-crazy friend who puts them to the side for a guide. It added a realism to the story that I frankly see in my own circle of friends. Their bond is strong but not unrealistically clean and chic-lit style. It's sweet because it's awesome but it's not sweet because it's syrupy.
It takes awhile to get to the tension, and when it finally does the story calms down a bit. They have real dangers to face but the second half could have delivered a bit more in some areas. The river is formidable element of nature to contend with and we get our tragedy involving it, but the book could have held other dangers to spice up the story-line, especially involving animals or other elements of the setting. Instead it focuses on the dangers of those who may want to live alone for a reason, a story theme that's been told several times before, but there are differences here that work. Winnie's past history with a brother works into the present because of a unique element of the story-line.
While salvation is granted, there's a bittersweet line that the freedom removed from the the wilderness isn't always a perfect solution. It's good closure but it's not a neat closure, which fits to be realistic and not simply clean and unlike actual life.
A nice balance of pacing and characters for a thriller that - while not fully unique - delivers what it sets out to: a harrowing ride with tense adventure.
Received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.