24 July 2012

This Bright River by Patrick Somerville, Book review

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
ISBN-13: 978-0316129312


Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.

As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?

A compelling family drama and a surprising love story,
This Bright River confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

My thoughts:

I am actually puzzled as to how describe my thoughts for once! Frankly 'This Bright River' is not what I expected and yet I want to be fair to the author. 

Despite concentration (and I opened this book quite a few times only to put it down time and again!) I remain confused. I could not get hooked.
For one thing, the numerous layers of introspection, the tedious plots and the cynical characters themselves project dark tendencies, none which I cared to identify but reminding me life is much simpler when you trust in God. 
So, to be fair...

Contemporary stories rarely attracts me as I have said before but I thought the thriller and the love story combination might just be entertaining. 
Not so!

Quotations by John Muir and Epictetus did peak my interest however.
'John Muir scoffed at the Christian God and went through life as a wild and unbounded soul'. Maybe, but whom did he think created this beautiful world he was so enamoured with? 

As to Epictetus 'First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.' Good advice...Human nature dictates however we often say one thing when we really mean another...Timing is also of the essence...

I would not describe this story as anything compelling yet there is a message there...somewhere...betwixt the pages...

The story alternates from Ben and Laura's point of view. Both of their background painfully tumultuous and each is at a turning point. But neither of these two protagonists or their confusing common past grasped my interest at anytime.
I breathed with relief after the last page.

So it might be entertaining to others but not for me. Adult thematic contents, expletives  and questionable editing are to be noted as well.

2 Stars!

About the Author:

Patrick Somerville is the author of two novels - 'This Bright River' and 'The Cradle' - and two books of short stories - Trouble and The Universe in Miniature in Miniature. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago, and he teaches creative writing in the MFA programs at Warren Wilson and Northwestern University.

For more on the author visit his website (here) .

I received this ARC from HACHETTE as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Noelle, how many books do you read a week? I love to read too! Just stopping by to say hello.


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