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How far does a girl have to run to escape a lifetime of pain and loss at the hands of Alaska’s notoriously unforgiving Bering Sea? Twenty-seven-year-old Aesa Fredriksen thought landlocked Columbus, Ohio would suffice, and it does until the fear of regret drives her to return to Dutch Harbor in a final attempt to make amends with her nearly-estranged father. Intent on salvaging the wreckage of their relationship, she reluctantly agrees to join him—the only family she has left—as he heads out to fish for king crab, forcing her to brave the very waters that pulled him away from her as a child. The waters that stole her mother’s life.

When the day finally arrives for the Norwegian Queen to sail off into an uncertain future, Aesa can’t help but fear the worst. Beyond the violent swells and impending storms, there is far more than death and danger awaiting her on her journey: love awaits her too.

Decker, a young but seasoned member of her father’s crew, is a force of nature as strong as Aesa, He’s her perfect match, and even she can’t deny it. But he too is a man of the sea, and with memories of tragedy and abandonment etched so deeply into her mind, can she overcome her demons and let him in or will she drown in her darkness, forever caught in its undertow?


BOOK REVIEW: Undertow

Amber Lynn Natusch

RATING:

“Everyone always leaves me… Will you leave me too?”

When you read as many books as I do, it becomes increasingly difficult to find the kind of story that does not fit into a popular mould, the kind of story that is thrillingly original and so very different from the rest. And then one day you stumble upon one such story, an act of serendipity if you wish, and you are absolutely hooked from its first flawlessly written page. Who knew I would find my thrill in a book about finding love aboard a crabbing boat…?!

Aesa is the daughter of a Norwegian sea captain, a legacy she both loathes as well as fears. Her father’s career had taken him away from her and her mother for most of her childhood, his fishing vessel being his second home, and the sea being the second love of his life. Having lost her mother to suicide and always having blamed her father for her mother’s broken heart from loneliness, Aesa has lived the past nine years far away from home and with no contact with her only living parent. When she finally returns to the small fishing town she grew up in, she does so in hopes of fixing the broken relationship with her father. But nine years of estrangement and a lifetime of resentment are not easily erased, especially when the true villain of the story – the frigid, greedy, unpredictable depths of the Bering Sea – remains an untouchable foe.

“I not only hated the open water, I feared it ardently.”

As Aesa joins her father’s crew on their latest fishing expedition, she stays hopeful that facing her biggest fears would also help them heal their bond and mend her broken heart, never expecting that the setting of all her childhood nightmares would also become the very place where she would find her heart again.

Decker is unlike any man Aesa has ever met – kind, wise, brutally honest in his observations – he gently lowers her defences, makes her question everything she has convinced herself to be true and offers her a fresh perspective on her life, her father, her past and her future. While her natural reflex is to distance herself from the people around her, guard her heart at all costs and blend in with the crowds, Decker refuses to allow her to withdraw into herself, challenging her self-taught predisposition to flee, and showing her the true bravery in selflessly caring for another human being.

“You can’t live your life through the eyes of the past forever… Don’t drown yourself in the sorrows of what has been.”

While the treacherous and whimsical Bering Sea rages beneath them, Aesa and Decker fall in love, their feelings for one another growing as powerful as the unruly waves crashing against their brave little boat. And when Mother Nature unleashes her cruellest storm, Aesa finally learns the true power of love. But twenty eight years of fiercely shielding her heart from further hurt and finding safety in solitude prove to be a large obstacle to overcome, especially when only one person is fighting for them.

“I’ll let go, if that’s what you want, Aesa. I can’t be the only one who wants this.”

A genuinely delightful and profoundly emotional tale of heartbreak, loss, forgiveness, bravery and resilience, Aesa and Decker’s beautiful romance shows us that unnecessary angst is not always the essential component of a timeless love story. The sincerity with which these characters open their souls to each other is refreshing and truly inspiring. When all odds are against their happy ending, embracing their worst fears and fighting selflessly for one another might prove to be the only way to defeat the demons of the past.

This is a truly stellar book, its unconventional storyline only matched by its perfect prose. If you need a book to warm your soul, look no further.

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“I’ll never let you fall again.”

Excerpt

“What do you want?” he asked, cocking his head slightly to the side. For whatever reason that tiny movement set something off in me and I knew why my heart had won. I wanted him. I wanted him for all that he was and all that he promised to be.

“You,” I said with slightly more power behind the words that time. He smiled at me in a devilish way, like he had won the game I hadn’t known we were playing. “That wasn’t so hard to say, now was it?” His voice was playful, covering an almost palpable passion that hid just below the surface. He was holding on by a thin thread himself, his immense self-control dissipating rapidly. “Say it again…”

“I want you,” I replied with a purr, joining in with his little game. Judging by the response my words garnered, I had won.

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Natasha

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38 Comments Hide Comments

This is a great review! I actually saw this book last weekend at a signing (St. Louis, the only one remotely near me) and I kept gazing at it, but I had well overspent and was short on space in my luggage so I passed. But it sounds so great and the cover is gorgeous. I’m kind of kicking myself now!

This sounds so incredible!!! Thank you for all that you do!! You’ve opened up so many doors for me as a reader and I’m so thankful!!!

Once again this was an amazing review! :) This book sounds amazing and beautiful. It’s definitely going on my tbr list.

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