Beyond the Wild River Book Review

An honest review.


Author: Sarah Maine
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date: April 18th, 2017
Format: ARC 
My rating: DNF — 25%
Buy it: | |


For fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, a highly atmospheric and suspenseful historical novel, set in the 1890s about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder.

Nineteen-year-old Evelyn Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business — and affairs of another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her boredom and resentment behind good manners — so when an innocent friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit union, Evelyn is appalled.

Yet the consequence is a welcome one: she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and reconnect with her father.

Once they’re on the Nipigon, however, Evelyn is shocked to discover that their guide is James Douglas, the former stable hand and her one-time friend who disappeared from the estate after the shootings of a poacher and a gamekeeper. Many had assumed that James had been responsible, but Evelyn never could believe it. Now, in the wilds of a new world, far from the constraints of polite society, the truth about that day, James, and her father will be revealed…to stunning consequences.

The Cover:

Let’s talk about nature for a second. I’m a total sucker for books who’s covers are pictures of natural beauty. I love the cabin that’s secluded in a forest and enshrouded with thick green trees. The river bed, where the water crashes into the grey rocks. It’s extremely aesthetically beautiful. I won’t lie, it does capture the idea of the story.

You can tell there’s something mysterious about what’s happening in the picture, and what’s more mysterious than nature herself?

So yes. I had high expectations for this novel, and I made the conscious decision to judge a book by its cover.

The Story:

I don’t really know what to say other than the fact that this novel was very slow. I’m sure many will disagree when I write this, but I enjoy stories that are a little quick paced. I’m not patient enough to follow up with something if its drawn out, and if the writing is dry.

As you saw, I didn’t get very far with the story, so I ended up skipping to the end to figure out how it unravelled.

I enjoyed the thought that there could be a forbidden romance between James and Evelyn, and there was *not really a spoiler, when a book says there’s a forbidden friendship for two people at a young age, hormones are bound to take over when they see each other when they’re older*.

This novel is a historical fiction/mystery, and how Evelyn travels countries with her father in hopes to refurnish her relationship with him. I don’t really want to give away that much since I technically didn’t finish the novel, but if you’re patient enough to read through this be my guest. I will let you know that it picks up near the end. As do most mystery novels.

I just found it very boring, and it didn’t captivate me as much as I hoped it would. I didn’t really see much in Evelyn’s character either, which is most likely the reason why I couldn’t carry on.

Thank you Simon & Schuster and Sarah Maine for this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Jon Doe’s story.