"Wicked River: a Novel" (Sourcebooks Landmark), by Jenny Milchman
Natalie Abbott has cold feet on her wedding day. She loves Doug Larson more than anything, but even now she doesn't know everything about him. His past before she met him is still a mystery. She shakes off her feelings and marries him. For their honeymoon, Doug has planned a backpacking adventure in the Adirondacks. Natalie has never been camping in her life, and though she would prefer to lounge on an isolated beach, she reluctantly agrees.
From the moment they arrive in the woods with a canoe and their supplies, events go horribly wrong. They are being watched by someone who knows the region in intimate detail, and soon Natalie and Doug are running for their lives without a map or supplies.
Author Jenny Milchman utilizes the setting of her tale well, invoking every aspect and feeling of being surrounded by nature in all of its glory. What makes this novel worthwhile is Natalie. She's every woman who must overcome fear and doubt to find solace in the man she married while also making it back to civilization.
Doug comes across as a bit of a goof at first who is not worthy of her, but over the course of "Wicked River" he grows into the man Natalie saw when she agreed to be his wife. The villain is crafty and cunning and adds to the overall sense of danger and despair.
Milchman has crafted a truly engrossing novel where the river is not the only thing that's wicked.