Book Review: Under Dark Waters by Bernadette Calonego

Published April 14, 2015
394 Pages

Driven by lingering pain and grief, historian Sonya Werner leaves her home in Switzerland to travel across the world. Officially, she’s tracking down the German author Else Seel, who had left Berlin in the 1920s to marry a Canadian trapper and homestead in the wild woods of British Columbia.

But the real reason for her trip is much more difficult to face: three years before, her husband took off to this part of the world on one of his usual mountain-climbing adventures, and never returned.

Only after the police brought her word of his death—and the mysterious circumstances in which they found him—did Sonya discover the simultaneous disappearance of her beautiful best friend, Odette, and the possibility that her husband had been lying to her all along.

Now, haunted by sorrow and jealousy, Sonya sets out on a dangerous mission to discover the truth, and to try to put back together the pieces of her broken heart.- Goodreads

This read started off really well and for about half way through the book, I was into it. But the focus seem to be more about making this a long read as opposed to making it a great read. What I mean by this is the author kept the book going by not really answering a question and being completely vague. I have no issue with this but at a certain point in the book, you get tired of questions piling up with no answers.

You also get tired of Sonya. She keeps referring to the past too often and it is lazy. For instance, she could be drinking tea and then think to herself, so and so use to drink tea with me blah blah blah. This may be a slight exaggeration but not by much. Sonya was one of those people that you love but that love is mixed with pity. The author doesn’t go too much into who Sonya was before meeting her Husband but who she is now isn’t necessarily someone that you would be excited to constantly be around.

I love the mix of a woman finding the truth about her deceased husband and also tacking historical information for a museum. The blend of then and now, history and present is perfect. But this book didn’t execute it that well. What I also loved about this book was imagery the author was able to pull in this book. I felt I was in those towns, I felt that I was one that plane, on that boat. I was impressed with this.

Beyond the fact that the book felt dragged and Sonya really couldn’t keep anything together, what bothered me was how everyone, literally everyone knew what was going on and Sonya knew that they knew but was too weak to push it. The author made her extremely fragile and in situations where she could have done more, she would always back down. I know about not wanting to deal with confrontation but not when the whole purpose is to find out the truth.

Overall, I was disappointed in this book not because it started off good but then started to drop but because it couldn’t get back up to the good it was at. I love complex reads, I love really about shady small towns, I love reading about finding the truth but this book wasn’t presented in a way for me to appreciate it.

2 Pickles