The novel is basically about the difficulties Ben and Laura have experienced in the past and the growth that takes place between the two characters.
Both grew up in St. Helens, Wisconsin. Ben has returned to St. Helens after serving a prison term to sell the home of his deceased uncle. Lauren, a doctor, has recently divorced her husband who was also a doctor. Ben struggles to keep his sanity while dealing with many troubles: primarily the betrayal by a friend who seized the contributions to a video game Ben and Lauren created. Most of all, Ben was troubled by the mysterious death of his cousin in Michigan where the novel’s river flows. Lauren struggles with the memories of her abusive father and a failed suicide attempt. Together they search for the meaning behind their past hardships.
I was bored at times and interested at others while reading this book. Ben was highly introspective person which was boring and confusing. However, I enjoyed reading about his return to his childhood hometown, where he became familiar with the people and the town again.
Usually, I do not like romance novels. When they first met Lauren had no interest in Ben. I was interested to see if anything developed between them. However “This Bright River” is more than a romance novel. It is a psychological thriller especially when Lauren’s ex-husband became involved. As their characters develop, I began to empathize with the two of them and cared for them as human beings.
Because of the attention to character, the suspense, and drama that keeps the reader turning the pages, I recommend this book as a fascinating novel, well worth the read.
Other psychological novels include The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh and The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.