I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
An outdoorswoman takes her niece on a two-week journey through the wilderness, sharing stories of her life and her passion for the outdoors in author Colleen Gerwing’s “The School of the Haunted River”.
We are all born of a river, and that in itself should be enough.
On a two-week outdoor winter snowshoeing trip in northern Saskatchewan with her niece Dilly, outdoor adventurer Jay tells stories as they hike and camp. Some are true – her outdoor training in Wyoming, her early life on the farm – and some are stories within stories within stories. A faux diamond necklace that mysteriously appears and disappears, Jay’s youthful encounters with the mysterious Cowboy, an inspiring series of books that she read on her long-ago canoe trip alone – all are underscored by Jay’s love and respect for the wild.
In The School of the Haunted River, the late Colleen Gerwing fashioned a novel based on her own life as an outdoorswoman, a novel about the natural world that will haunt and enchant even as it educates you.
This was a heartfelt and captivating read. The author does an incredible job of crafting a narrative that feels both genuine and creative all at once. The character development between Dilly and Jay is great to see, as it transcends the typical mother/daughter tension and instead brings that same energy to an aunt and niece setting, emphasizing the distance that has grown between them and the emotional journey they take both physically and mentally to come back together again.
For me, the heart of this story rests in the honest and heartfelt writing style the author brings to the narrative. With the author’s long history of being an outdoorswoman and hiking through similar trails as the protagonists of this tale, the setting and atmosphere of the novel felt authentic and memorable, creating a strong sense of imagery in the author’s writing.
Thoughtful, engaging, and captivating, author Colleen Gerwing’s “The School of the Haunted River” is a must-read novel. The creativity and entertaining aspect of the stories Jay tells to Dilly throughout their hike and the emotional bonds that are formed as their journey progresses made this a truly compelling read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!