Customer Reviews for

Eternal on the Water

Average Rating 4
( 179 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(73)

4 Star

(67)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A Glimpse of the Eternal

This is an excellent book. The characters are interesting, the plot a real tear jerker, but what is most important for me is the beautiful writing. Monninger brings his natural settings to life. The emotion evoked by the power of his writing about nature is what drives ...
This is an excellent book. The characters are interesting, the plot a real tear jerker, but what is most important for me is the beautiful writing. Monninger brings his natural settings to life. The emotion evoked by the power of his writing about nature is what drives the story for me.

Deciding to set this tragic love story in such beautiful, yet harsh places make the theme obvious. The world is beautiful and terrible at the same time. We have to appreciate the beauty and live to the fullest with the tragedy and cruelty.

I highly recommend this book. It's not an escapist fantasy. It says something about honor and living a productive life.

posted by nfam on January 25, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not so eternal per this reader

Although I really wanted to love this book, I am sad to say that it just didn't happen for me. Love at first sight may be a very real thing, and based on most readers reviewing the book, it is evident that I am in the minority. I knew it would be a tear jerker and I w...
Although I really wanted to love this book, I am sad to say that it just didn't happen for me. Love at first sight may be a very real thing, and based on most readers reviewing the book, it is evident that I am in the minority. I knew it would be a tear jerker and I wanted to be swept away, but the author just did not draw me in.

Here's what I really liked about the book:
1. Stories about crows and raven mythology
2. A very positive portrayal of the value of assisted suicide

Here's what I did not like:
1. Characters, settings and situations were not believable for me - too perfect.
2. The writing was not challenging for me - the author often writes for young adults, and I felt the vocabulary and style would have been great for that audience.
3. In the first few pages I knew the death of our heroine would occur before the end of the book, and I felt it was a slow, tedious journey getting to that point.

The book Love Story kept echoing in my mind, but then Segal also wrote a very popular book that was not well received by the critics. This book may have the same appeal, which means it could be something you will totally enjoy. But to describe it as a major literary achievement with eternal lasting qualities might be quite a stretch.

posted by JaneM on January 26, 2010

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    Eternal on the Water: Good Read

    I will be honest and say I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own. However, I am SO glad I read it! It was very easy to be transported to the different locales and feel like I was right with Mary and Cobb. Once I was about 50 pages into the book, I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the humor between the characters and thought it was a nice balanced with the seriousness of the situation faced by the main characters. I also thought the minor characters added to the story in several ways. I didn't really enjoy everything about the crows, but I could easily see how the stories added to the overall story. I also liked how the end of the story was at the beginning of the book -- interesting way to draw in the reader. I will recommend this book to my reader friends (in fact, I already have).

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

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    Interesting Story

    When I read the Scottish folk saying and prologue at the start of the book, I knew this was going to be an interesting read and different than the books I am usually drawn to. The story is both a love story and a life story. I really like how the author weaves in nature, animal folklore and some very difficult topics for the reader's consideration. I felt the initial meeting and instant love connection of the main characters to be a bit over the top and not too realistic, but the wonderful descriptive writing style made it easy to immerse yourself into the lives of the characters.
    I struggled with the last part of the book as well, as it touches on the subject of ending life and I had a hard time with how that was presented. But on the other hand, the author made me think and ponder so I would consider that a good read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    An improbable but moving love story

    Although there were many aspects of this book that struck me as implausible, or rubbed me the wrong way, I was in tears by the time I finished reading it. The text reveals its own ending in its first section: Mary Fury, the woman whom Jonathan Cobb meets on a kayak trip following Henry David Thoreau down the Allegash River in Maine and with whom he falls immediately and passionately in love, is dead. Knowing how the story ends didn't lessen my interest in the book or ruin the journey. The book, which chronicles Mary and Cobb's love affair from its first moments to its ending, does several things very well. I enjoyed the quality of Monninger's prose, Mary's role as a storyteller (she's developed a broad and beautiful mythology of crows and other corvids, mixing stories from many different sources), and the text's commitment to show nature in all its beauty. I found the love at first sight part of the love story implausible, as well as the frame story (in which Cobb apparently tells the long, intimate story of their love to a ranger he's just met). Although this book is far from perfect, I'm grateful I had the chance to read it and would recommend it to others

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

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    Beautifully written

    The writing style is just beautiful, and the best that I have read in a long time in that regard. I really felt that I could smell the pine trees and feel the water. This is a story of a life beautifully lived in the face of a terrible illness. The characters are well drawn, and very likeable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2010

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    The first romance that I truly enjoyed!

    Though I do not generally like books of romance, this book was entrancing and drew me in emotionally. The beginning left me wondering what all the pages could have for me since I thought I knew the surprise ending, but I was completely misguided in that belief. I would highly recommend this book, but also recommend that it is not read at work or another public area, as you will smile, laugh and cry (like a child that fell of the swing set) throughout the book. Thank you for a wonderful book that has opened me up to romance books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

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    A Sweet Tale of Unexpected Love

    This is a love story with an unusual backdrop. The main characters fall in love at first sight while on a kayaking trip in New England. You'll follow Jonathan Cobb & Mary Fury through their love story as you read of their adventures kayaking on the Allagash, to Indonesia, to Yellowstone... and through every day goings-on back in New England. Along the way, you'll fall in love with the people that inhabit their world and the passions that drive them to carve out their unique perspectives on life.

    Eternal on the Water has a gentle flow about it - maybe it's the beautiful writing about nature and the slower pace that comes from that exploration. It's a nice read that raises some thought provoking questions about life, death and the imprint that other people can make on our lives.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2010

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    Great Read !

    Eternal on the Water was a great book. Be sure to have some tissues near by at the end, it does bring tears to your eyes. I loved this book and my husband is really enjoying reading it also !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    Eternal on the Water

    Eternal on the Water is a haunting love story and a book that will make you evaluate your position of one of the central issues of the story. I like Mr. Monniger's writing style and his ability to transport you from the Allagash River in Maine to a beach in Indonesia and off to the forests of Yellowstone. His use of folk lore and animal imagery is beautiful and haunting. In so many ways its a quiet story - the reader know the ultimate ending of the Cobb and Mary's love story from the beginning and there are no spectacular plot twists. The fact that it is such a quiet story makes it such an enjoyable read. You almost feel like you've been allowed to observe the very private and difficult side of couples relationship and it makes you love them for the gift. Eternal on the Water is a great read for a long cold winter day or a kayak trip down the Allagash.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

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    A worthy addition to your TBR list.

    "Time Passing. A Triangle Life of work, love, family." p307. This story is beautifully rendered. It follows the tale of Mary Fury and Jonathan Cobb from their meeting along the Allagash River in Maine, trips to Indonesia, Yellowstone, and their life in New Hampshire. Mary and Cobb establish a life filled with love, adventure, and compassion. Although at times the story lacks a more realistic touch it is a worthwhile read. The story is poignant and timely. There is much to learn from the depth of love that is exhibited in this beautiful story. Life comes full circle. Mr. Monninger's writing style evokes beautiful images of the beauty of nature and life around us. Pick up the book and enjoy "...a quiet period, a deep chair with a good reading light..."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

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    I am glad I reached out of my comfort zone

    I normally don't read books like this but I am glad I asked to read this one. From the gorgeous cover and the amazing characters I was impressed. I fell in love with everything about this book. It was like a love letter to a girl, to a river, to life. It is impossible to explain how this book touched me. Wow. I was plain speechless! I hung on to every word wanting to know the entire story. This book is enchanting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2010

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    What a Gem!

    This a beautiful story of a couple going through the motion of finding themselves and ended up finding each other. I couldn't put it down! If only we all could be loved as much as Cobb and Mary loved each other and their worlds around them, we could all be so lucky!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

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    A Love story that rivals The Notebook

    The book begins with a death, but the book is about life, and how to love it and others around you. It has quirky characters, and lovable secondary characters that give the story depth and definition.

    If you are not a big nature lover, some parts of the book can be slow as it delves into the woods of the Northeast. But, the author does portray the scenes in very vivid descriptions so if you have never even seen the great outdoors, you might start falling in love with it.

    I especially liked the Indonesian section of the book, and grew to love the main character Mary even more during this section.

    I do believe this book will become a best seller, and a memorable edition of literature similar to The Notebook.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

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    Soft and ethereal

    Firstly let me warn you that this book actually begins before Chapter One. I grabbed this book one evening and flipped to Chapter One, started reading, and loved it. Then about halfway through the book I checked into the Barnes & Noble discussion on it, and I found that they were asking how the readers felt about knowing in the beginning of the book that Mary would die. Know? I had sort of figured out that it was gonna happen, but they made it sound as if it had played out in the beginning of the book. What was that all about? I flipped back to the very beginning of the book, and lo and behold! Before Chapter One even begins there was an unlabeled Preface that I had missed, and it did indeed begin with Mary's death. Well, that changed things a little! (So don't do like me and miss the preface!)

    The book starts out with Cobb telling the story of the events leading up to Mary's death. He reminisces over the day they met and their life together.

    They met when Cobb decided to kayak down the Allagash in an attempt to trace Thoreau's path. Their meeting seems fated from the beginning. They fall fast and hard into love, and their lives are lived fast and easy as they realize that there is a timeclock ticking. Mary is out to lead a full and complete life in an abbreviated amount of time, and she does it quite well. When it is time to leave, she does so with no regrets and a peaceful mind.

    You get to know the wonderful support system of extensive friends and family of Cobb and Mary. The student that becomes something of a surrogate son to the childless couple. You feel their love for life and nature and adventure, and you are happy to be along with them on their ride.

    I loved this story, tragic as it may be. I thought that the ending was beautiful, and the last 30 pages or so had me boo-hooing much of the time. The way that her family and friends supported her decision to leave this life when she had reached a point where the quality of life was lacking and she was becoming more of a "burden" to those she loved, and her proclamation that it was "time", was touching. There's a soft, ethereal cadence that softened the blow of the harsh realities of the story. I would strongly recommend this lovely tale of love and life and death.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Great for outdoor enthusiasts and romantics

    When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was not sure I would enjoy it as much as I did. I became captivated early on with the characters and the romance of the river and Chungamunga Girls. Although the story seems somewhat familiar at first, it takes on new twists and captivates the reader. The river and its symbolism are wonderful. I felt like I was camping and living out the romance of Mary and Cobb right along with them. A great new book and I have found a new author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    All about life and love

    Cobb and Mary are strong, independent, outdoors-y types who meet while kayaking on Maine's Allagash River. They fall in love immediately but this is not a simple love story.

    Cobb and Mary are faced with tough decisions about how they will live their lives, and they build a rich, extraordinary life together.

    This was a good book, a fast read, with many scenes and embedded stories that will stay with the reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

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    An adventure worth reading

    I read Eternal on the Water for the First Look book club. I wasn't sure what to expect because it's not the kind of book I'd normally pick up at the store and read. However, I was hooked from the very first page. The story is beautifully written, the characters come alive on the page and the story, while tragic, is truly exceptional. The secondary characters add so much drama and depth to the story that they almost become the stars of the book.

    This book made me laugh out loud, cry and smile, sometimes at the same time. I would recommend this heartwarming and heartbreaking story to anyone looking for a great read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

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    Uniquely Uplifting

    This book is full of life. It overflows with nature, both in myth and reality. It is a book steeped in emotion. It tells what could be a melancholy story in a unique way and fills the story with joy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

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    Floating

    This book grabs you within the opening pages. Off the bat you get a strong sense at the love between Mary and Cobb. As the story progresses the characters continue forming and developing, creating a great foundation for the story. Unfortunately, I didn't find the story to be believable. I could imagine the people but not the situations. This story was written as a love story but I think you would have done better as a touching story about the effect of illness on a person and family/friends. It was a moving story and the main thing I would have changed is add another 25 pages on Mary's and Cobb's life dealing with the illness and how it was handled, it seemed to the most important part of the book and I felt that it was rushed. Either way it was a great read and I think that it would be a great find for any book club.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    A Beautiful Love Story

    A great read! I had to force myself to stop at the assigned sections for the first look book club. I found this to be a beautiful romance set in breathtaking natural settings. I will recommend this book to everyone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2010

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    Add this one to your wish list!

    What a beautiful story! Two people (Mary & Cobb) meet by chance (call it karma, destiny, right place at the right time) while each preparing for a solo kayak trip in Maine. As the trip unfolds, they realize that they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle and the trip takes them on a journey together that brings them to Indonesia and then ultimately back to Maine where one of them will be "eternal on the water." It touched my heart & soul!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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