Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Prep School Incident Haunts the Team's Lives

Rob Carney, a champion sculler, receives a scholarship to the prestigious Fenton School. He thinks he'll be showing his prowess as a sculler, but the school has a different idea. He is slated to be part of their star rowing team, the God boat. Rob has reservations about being part of a rowing team, particularly since the captain, Connor Payne, a millionaire legacy at the Fenton School, is as driven as Rob to win races, but Connor's goal is to win the traditional Warwick race with the God boat. He and the coach intend to force Rob to become part of the team.

When the story opens, Carney, now a freelance documentary filmmaker, is returning from a shoot in Africa. His life has two emotional issues: he's breaking up with Carolyn, his partner of five years, and he has received a letter from John Perry, a rowing team member from the Fenton God boat, urging him to come to the Fenton reunion. It's been fifteen years, but he and John are still haunted by what happened after the Warwick race.

Although the story toggles back and forth between the adult Carney and the fifteen-year-old, the author does a good job of weaving the time periods together through the emotional issues that span the two eras.

The book moves slowly. The rowing scenes ring true, as do the interactions between the team members, but the action is measured, like the sport of rowing. The author tries to hold the tension by referring to the inciting incident that haunts the characters. However, the book drags because of the constant self-examination of the major character.

I found the book hard to get into. If you love character driven stories about how incidents in the teen years affect adult life, you'll enjoy this book. If you're looking for action and adventure, give it a miss.

I reviewed this book for Net Galley.