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)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

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

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 9
  • Posted January 26, 2010

    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 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.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2010

    "You wanted to say . that it meant something, but time just wore it away."

    Eternal on the Water has all the elements that should have made it a great novel: a love story that will inevitably end in heartache, stunning settings, environmental concern and fascinating folklore woven in. And yet upon reaching the final page, I could only deem its sum lesser than its parts. Partially, I think my disappointment over this novel stemmed from the author not knowing what he wanted it to be: a romantic tale, an eco awareness raiser or a mythological fable. As a result, its sections felt disjointed, at times even jarringly so, as though the author were forcing the reader to veer completely off the intended path. Even worse, the romance proved stilted and awkward to read. Monniger is quite masterful at bringing scenery poetically to life, and his characters were overall well developed. In the end, however (borrowing a quote from the book), "I wanted to say that it meant something, but time just wore it away."

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    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 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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to like this one.

    I received this ARC copy for the purpose of reviewing it here at BN. I tried really hard to like the book, but I just couldn't get into it. I knew from the get-go that it would be a tearjerker, but although I tend not to read those kind of books, I thought I would give it a chance. I thought the writing was fine enough, but the story just didn't grab me like I was hoping it would. The romance and relationship of the characters seemed somehow too perfect. I did read it until the end, but never felt really invested in the story. I will admit that I may have just been "not in the mood" for that particular book at that particular time. As with all books I don't enjoy, I will pass it on to a friend who is much more likely to love the story. And, still, I must say that you should just try reading it for yourself. My opinion is but one in 6 billion.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Eternal on The Water is a timeless masterpiece

    Joseph Monninger gives us a poignant love story. A story of hello. A story of good-bye. A story of life with all its joys and sorrows. It's like a haunting melody that stays with you long after the song is over.
    Eternal on the Water is a love story. A story of how a remarkable couple deals with a terrible and too often fact of life. Mr. Monninger is a wonderful storyteller which is evident by his flowing prose like dialogue filled with myths, folklore and stories forever told around a campfire, and interspersed with thoughts and quotes from the likes of Thoreau, Steinbeck and Darwin. He gives us wonderful picturesque scenes of wilderness glories from Main to Yellowstone to a brief stint on a quaint island in Indonesia. His characters are all three dimensional, all incredibly in depth and all wonderfully portrayed. His hero John and heroine Mary are exquisite examples of his skill as an author as he unwinds their lives for our reading pleasure.
    This is an exceptional piece of literary fiction, one that's destined to become a beloved classic enjoyed by generations of readers. As heart wrenching as it is to read this amazing story I will always come away from it with the thought of an eternal optimist who turned the lemons of life into lemonade.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Water Under the Bridge

    I know this review will be far different than most of the other reviews for this book. I read it, I enjoyed it (for the most part), but I will not remember it for very long. I knew this story would be a tear-jerker and I was fully prepared for that. Surprisingly, I didn't find those tears until the last few pages. The story was romantic and enjoyable, but there were too many things that I found annoying. One of them was the main character, Mary. She had far too many quirks for me to fall in love with her and like her for more than a few minutes. The romantic side of the story just seemed to rushed for me and made it a little unbelievable. Other parts of the story were just too clean cut and perfect, which also made the story a bit unrealistic. But, since this is a work of fiction, I suppose that's to be expected to some extent. I appreciated the assisted suicide aspect, and that was the most interesting thing to me that helped me enjoy the story. Overall, this book would be good for young readers and romantics. I gave it three stars because it was a decent story, but it wasn't captivating for me and I had too many issues with the main characters to really care for either one in the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2010

    LOVED IT!

    I truly enjoyed reading this book! I will definitely recommend it to my friends. This story touches on some of life's most wonderful and most tragic experiences. The scenery is beautiful, the characters are captivating, the story timeless. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys a realistic love story.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2010

    Eternal on the Water - Fantastic!

    From the very beginning of the book I was drawn in to the story. From the first time that Cobb and Mary met to the end of the book (as I was reading thru tears), I couldn't put it down! The locations used, and the words describing everything were fantastic. One of the best books I have read in a long long time. I will definitely be reading other books by Joseph Monninger...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of the BEST Love Stories Ever Written!!!

    What a privilege it's been to read Eternal on the Water.

    I just finished the book last night/this morning;it took me waaaay longer to finish this book than it should have simply because I did not want to separate Cobb and Mary. Their love story was so overwhelmingly real that I could hardly bear to face the end, which of course makes no sense as I already had when I began the book.

    But emotions, and especially love don't always make sense do they?

    As for reading the end first (the book begins with Mary's death), I have to say that doing that was the most brilliant thing done technically in this novel. It made it real from the beginning, no false hope about "maybe she gets saved at the end", and it let me as a reader focus on what mattered. I got to focus on their story together, and not be distracted that "this is fiction" and so therefore think that a miracle was in store. Instead I focused on spending as much time with Mary as I could, alongside Cobb.

    A friend asked me to describe the book without giving away any spoilers yesterday after I had been raving about it. What's funny is I said "it's very real life in that surreal kind of way", lol.

    I had just read the part that talks about the movie "All That Heaven Allows" and the window scene, and was explaining how it reminded me of "Sleepless in Seattle" in that way, but that it was much more as a book than just that little moment.


    Reading Eternal on the Water was seriously like just listening to a new friend tell you his life story (thus far) because you've come to that point in the friendship where you really get to know each other; where you both begin to share that intimacy of real friendship by sharing real stories about the deeper points in your life, not just the so-called powerpoint version. So, reading this book was not like most books I read where I feel as though I'm the main character and I'm experiencing things as if they're happening to me. It's more like this conversation where I was listening to this man Cobb's amazing life story. And it's that intimacy that's so inherent in this book that made me care, and respond as if Cobb were truly my real friend. Because of this, I understand exactly what the author means when he says Cobb & Mary "whispered" their story to him instead of feeling as though he was seeing it or shown visually the story as it came to him.

    On another note, I also found it really meant something that a guy ( Cobb tells the story) was telling this story. As a woman, I don't often hear men open up so much about love stories, etc, the way women do. So all the while I felt that Cobb was telling me his story, I knew it really meant something because a guy is telling it, and so you (as a reader) feel honored to share it.

    Bottom Line:

    I LOVED this book. Thank you Joseph Monninger for writing it, and Thank you B&N for bringing us this book! It's beautiful and without a doubt one of the best love stories I've ever heard/read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing - I couldn't stay awake through it.

    I received my ARC copy of Eternal on the Water a few days ago and was excited about being able to be included in the first group of people to read the book.

    However, the story just didn't live up to what I thought it would be. This is the story of Jonathan Cobb and Mary Fury, a woman who has Huntington's Disease. It's the story of their relationship and includes all sorts of descriptions relating to nature; crows and turtles being two prominent figures.

    What I didn't like about the book was that the story never managed to fully grip me. Unlike other authors of this type of novel (Sparks being one I can think of) the characters failed to grab my interest and become alive to me. For the last half of the book I was having to force myself to pick it up because I had become, for lack of a better word, bored by the story. I knew where it was going to end (thanks to the prologue) and the love story wasn't one that held any sort of interest for me.

    The descriptions were vivid and well done and the stories about crows were fairly interesting (I didn't realize I had an interest in crows). They just felt disjointed and didn't make the character come to life as they should have.

    But, on the positive side, I came away from this book with a whole new repertoire of knock-knock jokes.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2010

    Over the top events over shadow the real story.

    I really never connected with the story myself. Mary and Cobb are suppose to be in their thirties but they seemed like they were in their fifties to me. I'm in my thirties and I just couldn't relate to these people. Old souls you might say but I just found them old. Not that fifty's is old but I don't think these two characters, who were suppose to be in their thirties, were written to depict them that way. Mary,as a character, is suppose to give off the impression she is spirited but to me she just came off as a nut. I get spirit, I really do,I also get crazy. There was too much description of canoe and fishing equipment to keep my interest in the first few chapters. Some of the nature descriptions were very beautiful and I felt like I was there on the river.
    A lot of product names were thrown in ever chance the writer could. I get maybe a writer trying to give the reader a full description of what a person is wearing or product they are using, but book was overfilled with them. Just too much.
    The first few pages you learn the main character dies and I still don't know how I feel about that. The book had touching moments that seemed to get overshadowed by over the top scenarios. Actually it had a lot of those. I just didn't get it. It didn't touch me and I really thought I'd like it. The over the topness of it all never gave me a real chance to connect or care for the characters.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    Eternal on the Water

    Eternal on the Water is a love story. Joseph Monninger gives us a poignant love story. A story of how two people deal with what life throws at them. Mr. Monninger is a wonderful storyteller which is evident by his flowing prose-like dialogue filled with myths, folklore and stories forever told around a campfire, and interspersed with thoughts and quotes from the likes of Thoreau, Steinbeck and Darwin. He gives us wonderful picturesque scenes of wilderness glories from Maine to Yellowstone to in Indonesia. His hero John and heroine Mary are exquisite examples of his skill as an author as he unwinds their lives for our reading pleasure. It was a heart wrenching story, but one I will always remember.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not so Eternal..

    There have been a lot of glowing reviews given on this book, but mine will not be one of them. The front half of the book took me forever to read. The book is very nature oriented, coupled with a love at first sight story. A little less nature would have been fine with me. I know Mary's love of crows was a main theme in the book, but I did not enjoy reading, what seemed to me, the endless crow stories. Mary's brother Freddy's fascination with turtles was not quite as tedious to me, & I enjoyed reading the second half of the book much better than the first half. That being said, it is not a book I would recommend to a friend or fellow book lover. It takes much too long to get to the heart of the book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not usually my cup of tea

    If you were faced with a 50-50 chance of having a fatal condition that would slowly rob your body of mental and physical functions, would you want to know? Would just the possibility of having the disease give you a more heightened awareness of life? Would you want to live life with total abandon? What would happen if you met the love of your life? Would you give this person a chance?

    Mary and Cobb will face these questions in Eternal on the Water. While the story is focused on the relationship between these two individuals, this book offers so much more to the reader. You will find yourself immersed in the wilderness of Maine, the tropical beauty of Indonesia and the majesty of Yellowstone. You will meet characters that will touch your heart and stay with you long after you finish reading the book.

    Although the premise sounds dark and depressing, the story itself is told in an uplifting way. The dialog and humor keep the story flowing over the sad parts so the reader does not drown in the unhappiness of the tale. The folkloric tales that are interwoven are entertaining and provide a nice diversion.

    I will have to admit that I normally would not consider Eternal on the Water to be a book I would pick up and read for myself. I am glad that I did decide to give it a chance; otherwise I would have missed out on a real treat. The mark of a good writer is keeping the reader enticed and entertained throughout the entire story. This is especially true when the book is one the reader would not normally find themselves reading. So kudos to Mr. Monninger for a book that is truly well written.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Living life ...

    This book started off with the ending and captured my interest immediately. Although we know what is going to happen, there is still a little mystery. Namely, the why, how and when. The story centers on the relationship between Mary and Cobb. Specifically, love at first sight. We witness these characters living life to its' fullest in the face of inevitable tragedy. The story has an upbeat tempo . only a minor briefing of Mary's illness, Huntington's disease, is presented and we see only a few instances where the symptoms of the disease directly interfere with the lives of Mary and Cobb. I would have liked the characters of Mary and Cobb to have a little more realism associated with them. At times, they seemed too good to be true. Yes, there are truly selfless people in the world but here it seemed like it was everyone. -----
    The story flowed easily and was a joy to read. The characters and the locations were beautifully described. Each character brought a little something to the stage . very interesting. I found it easy to remember them all. What will you come away with after reading this novel? A feeling of sadness, a zest for life, a desire to help others, a .. You will need to read the novel to find out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 3, 2010

    Wow

    I really enjoyed this selection. Once I began reading I couldn't put it down. It would be a good book for a book club discussion. It was a sweet story for nature lovers and avid readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 179 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 9