Eternal on the Water

Eternal on the Water

by Joseph Monninger
4.1 179


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Eternal on the Water 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 179 reviews.
Kathy17 More than 1 year ago
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."
JaneM More than 1 year ago
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.
nfam More than 1 year ago
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.
JoanieGranola More than 1 year ago
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.
Megtall More than 1 year ago
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.
CathyB More than 1 year ago
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.
coffee_luvr More than 1 year ago
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.
mack9678 More than 1 year ago
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.
CUParent More than 1 year ago
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.
dragonfly_yayn More than 1 year ago
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.
PiperMurphy More than 1 year ago
Eternal on the Water is the story of Jonathan Cobb and Mary Fury. It is a love story and a life lesson. We learn from the first sentence of the book how their story will end, but don't assume that this is the whole story because it's not. The story is how Mary faces a terminal illness with dignity and grace, living her life to the fullest making every second count, and how her approach to life affects Cobb, her family, and friends. The book is beautifully written from Cobb's point of view. His emotions as he faces Mary's illness are heartbreakingly real. I highly recommend this book. My only minor criticism is that the first and last chapters are unnecessary. Mary and Cobb's story is strong enough to stand on its own.
Paula_Jean More than 1 year ago
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.
lhays More than 1 year ago
This book is a story about love at first sight. We know that one of the characters dies from the very beginning, so we know that it is going to be a tearjerker. Since I like to know the ending of a book before I read it this was perfect for me. Cobb tells the story of the love and life that Mary and him have. Joseph Monninger mixed in folk lore in with the great adventures that Mary and Cobb take. I think that it was a fantastic book and that you should read it for yourself.
Fulton More than 1 year ago
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 !
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Joseph Monninger's ETERNAL ON THE WATER is a wonderful love story that begins in the woods of Maine. Jonathan Cobb takes a break from his teaching job to experience nature as Thoreau did. While on his sabbatical he meets Mary, a free spirit and while enjoying their first night by the campfire, a true love story begins. Mary's tales enchant him; her knock-knock jokes not so much. They travel to Indonesia, Yellowstone National Park and back to New England. Mary is a member of the Chungamunga Girls, a secret society of girls who experience life in the forest. Monninger has written a heartbreaking journey of feeling love, experiencing life to its fullest and understanding death.
gte510i More than 1 year ago
Without giving spoilers-this story shows two lives that meshed beautifully together and characters that lived a fully rich while life not accepting any limitations. I loved the chungamunga girls and what they add to girlhood.
bookworm_gp More than 1 year ago
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger is a well told and heart wrenching love story set against the Allagash River in the wilderness of Maine, the islands of Indonesia and Yellowstone National Park. Right from the beginning we know that the young couple will not have a happily ever after fairy tale ending and yet the story remains an uplifting tale of the power of true love. The book begins when a woman's body is discovered in the river and her husband tells their story to a ranger. Jonathan Cobb was kayaking and attempting to trace Thoreau's path down the Allagash River when he met Mary Fury. They had so much in common and they fell in love immediately. Cobb is a loving, devoted person and Mary was a bit of a flake but they knew they were soul mates. Mary had Huntington's disease, a debilitating illness. She intended to end her life before she became a burden and she told Cobb he would have to help her when the time came. He agreed and they had a good life, lived to the fullest. For as long as they could, they embraced nature and their relationship. When the time came, Cobb fulfilled his promise and there was a heart-breaking send off. The description is vivid and puts you right in the scene. The symbolism of nature and the river adds an extraordinary depth. The emotional journey of two people was so well portrayed it brought tears to my eyes several times. This is a very special story about love, nature and true commitment. I recommend it very highly.
Shapatm More than 1 year ago
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.
debbaker More than 1 year ago
"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..."
cmmn More than 1 year ago
Eternal on the Water is formost a love story, the kind you want to read on a rainy day or when you just need to get away. But it is also more than that. It is a life story. From kayaking in Maine, to releasing turtles in Indonesia and tracking wolves in Yellowstone the story pulls us into the lives of Cobb and Mary. You know it's going to end and you know how it's going to end but getting there has all the requirements for a very enjoyable read.
hookedonbooks09 More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book and hated to have it end. For me, it's one of those where the characters will creep into my thoughts randomly, I'm sure! The characters were well-developed and the writing was exceptional. I loved the mythical stories woven throughout and found the topic of corvids to be a tempting "side read"! The description of the New England landscapes made me feel the crisp, cool nights and smell the evergreens, and the same goes for the writing of the locales in Indonesia. I think Mr. Monninger did an exceptional job with this subject and I've made a point of recommending it to the many people with whom I share book knowledge.
Melissa_W More than 1 year ago
I received an advance of Joseph Monninger's Eternal on the Water from the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club program. Eternal on the Water does have an interesting premise - a husband and wife must make a difficult choice when she is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease - so it sounded interesting. I've also only ever missed one First Look book and that was when they did two at once and you could only pick one. So I signed up, promptly got behind in reading because Flannery O'Connor's short stories weren't being kind to me, and finally finished Eternal on the Water the other night. Monninger has a lovely writing style, very in tune with the natural setting of rural New England, and it fits with the narrator's (Cobb) initial goal in the book of writing an essay about Thoreau and his wife's (Mary) occupation as a corvid biologist. Interwoven throughout the story are many different folk tales surrounding crows and a few about bears (an old legend has it that bears turn into people when they want to come close to the fire so it becomes a running joke throughout the novel). Thoreau's Walden is fequently invoked and I kept thinking of it while reading Eternal on the Water (even though I've only ever read part of Walden). There's a also a very lovely sequence when visiting Mary's brother in Indonesia; the nature theme is continued because he is heavily involved in coral reef and sea turtle conservation. The bulk of the book spans a single year following Mary and Cobb's meeting. Once symptoms of Mary's disease (Huntington's disease - an autosomally dominant genetic illness) manifest Monninger speeds up time, only hitting highlights so that the last years of Mary and Cobb's time together are compressed into a chapter; I'm still not quite sure how many years Mary and Cobb were together. Monninger draws out Mary's final days and his writing makes a very touching scene. What I could have dispensed with was the "present day" scene that began and ended the book. Cobb narrates the story of his life with Mary in flashback and I find that the whole "tell-the-end-then-explain-what-happened-to-the-reader-for-350-pages" is getting a bit overdone. Because we know all the particulars in the first five pages it really becomes a struggle to stay with the narrative. I think it is a testament to the quality of Monninger's writing that I was able to stay with the narrative and admire the work. I think this would have been a very powerful novel using just Cobb's narration alone but Eternal on the Water is a very lovely book as it is now.
CatholicKittie More than 1 year ago
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.
mgmama33 More than 1 year ago
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!
freelamp More than 1 year ago
ETERNAL ON THE WATER is a lovely book that takes Life and Love and mixes them into a perfect match. The flow of the story is like a river, often running over rocks and between crevices but coming to a peaceful pool at the end. The two main characters Mary and Cobb find each other, fall in love, and deal with the ultimate challenge, death, in a beautiful way within the scenery of nature. It is not a romance book so do not skip over it because of the love element, but it is a view of how two different people deal with living in the present moment and deal with their future, knowing what is coming. This story has had me thinking about it long after I finished the book and that is unusual nowadays.