An entertaining book!

Under Dark Waters - Bernadette Calonego, Gerald Chapple

This is a book that was originally released in Germany a few years ago and now has been translated for US release by Gerald Chapple.  I think the author will gain a vast audience in the US for her work as this was a very entertaining read.


There are actually two mysteries in this book.  Sonya Werner is a historian who travels to Canada to research the life of a German poet.  The poet, Else Seel, is a real-life poet who left Berlin in the 1920’s to marry a Canadian trapper who lived in the wild woods of British Columbia.  Interestingly, the chapters dealing with Else Seel’s son, Rubert, and also Alan Blackman, who went to school with Else’s children, and Alice Harrison, one of Else’s neighbors, were taken from actual conversations the author had with these real-life people.  The mystery concerning this poet centers on the reason why a poet would leave the interesting life of the literary world in Berlin for the harsh, lonely life in the woods with a man she only knew from a newspaper ad.   I found this part of the book to be very interesting and to learn in the author’s postscript that this was based on fact made it even more fascinating.


The second mystery involves the death of Sonya Werner’s husband and step-son several years before her visit to Canada.  She was never given a satisfactory account of the plane crash that took their lives so takes the opportunity while researching the poet’s life to try to find out more about their deaths.  Her search leads her into dangerous territory and there are some very suspenseful moments.  One mystery leads to another and she has no idea who she can trust.  Quite an unpredictable roller coaster ride.


This is a well-constructed plot with many twists and turns.  I found a few of the sections a bit improbable but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book as a whole.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.