Book Review: Eternal on the Water

by Joseph Monniger

Gallery Books, 2010

My Rating: A

Eternal on the Water is a beautiful love story. It’s not a romance novel. And, yes, there is a difference. There is no silliness in this story. It’s a beautiful adult love story set primarily out of doors. What makes this a cut above  the other love stories is the writing. I want to share with you a few passages so you get a real feel for the writing. Let me first give you a simple outline of the story.

Jonathan Cobb has taken a sabbatical from his teaching job so he can study Thoreau. He has decided to kayak the Allagash River and camp on Pillsbury Island. Mary Fury is a biologist who loves crows and has long ties to and a deep love of this Maine river. Jonathan and Mary meet in a camping area the night before they are set to launch a trip on the river. They like each other immediately and travel together down the river. They are letting this new love they feel for each other grow.

In this first passage Cobb is thinking about the night they slept together (no sex):

How in the world had this happened? We had kissed only once, but when I woke I found my arm over her, her body pushed back into mine to spoon. I felt like a man who had lived in a house all his life who, opening a door he expects to lead him into a closet, finds the house possesses other, more gorgeous rooms. Rooms he had not dreamed of, rooms he had not imagined.

So much of the book takes place outdoors and I loved that. I felt I was with them and I could see and hear and smell everything in the forests and on the river. Here’s another section from the book.I could see this too. Here Cobb is spending the night on Thoreau’s island and he’s been fussing, getting his pack organized.

. . . but now, rolling onto my back, I saw the moon, nearly full, and the gray clouds moving past it like dog shadows running behind summer sheets hung to dry on a clothesline.

In addition to the outdoors of Maine, the story takes us to New Hampshire, Yellowstone National Park and Indonesia.It’s a great adventure for Jonathan and Mary. An adventure trip is also how they see their lives together.

The author took a risk by telling us the end of the story at the very beginning. For me it worked. I was driven to find out the rest of the story. I wanted to know why all of this happened. I’m not going to spoil it for you though because I really want you to read it.

Above all this is a love story so let me close with this final quote.

I liked her smile. And I knew that I had fallen in love. I knew that I wanted to run rivers with her, and camp, and go out to dinner and dance, and meet people with her at my side, and establish routines, and hear every knock-knock joke in her repertoire. I knew that. The knowledge came as simple as clean linen.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Check you local library for this book. Eternal on the Water is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.) I received and read this book as part of Barnes and Nobles’ First Look Book Club.

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12 Responses to Book Review: Eternal on the Water

  1. cerrin says:

    That is very beautiful. I might just have to check this out…even though I do love my fluff romance lol

  2. Barbara says:

    This does sound like a true love story which is, you’re right, very different from a “romance.” Since my husband is from Maine and that’s where we fell in love, I feel it’s my duty 🙂 to read this book. Thanks for the tip.

  3. kaye says:

    nice review Margot, the book sounds very sweet. I don’t mind those kind of romance stories.

  4. I totally agree that there’s a difference between a love story and a romance. I do enjoy a love story from time to time and this one sounds beautifully written.

  5. There’s nothing better than a well-written sentence. Thanks for pointing out the beautiful writing of this book. I’ll add it to my list.

  6. Stacy says:

    This looks just like the book I received in the mail from a very special lady. Thanks, Margot! This book looks like my cup of tea.

  7. Staci says:

    It does sound great. Your review style on this one was pretty awesome…you’ve made me want to read it too!!! 😀

  8. I have this too but didn’t get around to reading it yet, even though I want to. Other books just keep pushing their way to the top!

  9. BooksPlease says:

    I like love stories, especially those without “silliness”. I’ve checked both the libraries I use and neither has a copy of this book – shame! It sounds good, I’ll have to see if one of them will get a copy for me.

  10. I loved this book too – the writing was absolutely beautiful. Great review!

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  12. Beth F says:

    Wow! It is beautiful. This is a must-read book for me.

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