I received an advance copy of this book through the Barnes and Noble FIRST LOOK program.
ETERNAL ON THE WATER opens with a body being found on the river. Jonathan Cobb witnesses his wife's body being pulled from the river, a victim of an apparant kayaking accident. Cobb is joined by a sympathetic ranger as he keeps vigil over his wife's body. During this one night, Cobb relates to the ranger, his love story from the moment he met his wife, Mary, until the moment of her death.
I don't want to give too much away about the plot because how it unfolds is the key to the success of this story. The reader knows how the story will end but the journey to that point is so compelling and moving. As Cobb tells his story, we journey back to the point where he and Mary meet on the Allagash river. Cobb is retracing Thoreau's journey down the same river and Mary is lecturing to a group of girls called the Chungamunga girls who are on a river experience trip. The two are instantly attracted to each other in a "love at first sight" scenario. The rest of the book follows their lives together over the next eight years until Mary's death.
This one is a tearjerker. I have to admit it got to me at the end. Even knowing what was going to happen. When I first received this book, I didn't think I would enjoy it. I wasn't sure I would be able to connect with the characters. But I assure you that after reading this book you will want to: a)go camping/kayaking b)learn more about crows c) go watch "All That Heaven Allows" and d) sleep outdoors. The story is slow to unfold and some readers may get a little bit antsy and it requires a little willing suspension of disbelief to believe the "love at first sight" love story but I assure you that the end is worth it.
This book will be released in a trade format in mid-February 2010.
BOTTOM LINE: A beautiful tragic love story that manages to avoid being maudlin. This book may just make even the most cynical reader believe in love at first sight.