Undertow by Amber Lynn Natusch
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?
I had a very hard time connecting with the characters in Undertow. It was often kind of boring, and just overly dramatic for no reason. Not the book for me.
The books starts with Aesa going back to her father before starting her medical internship. This is her last chance to try and have a relationship with him. She had stormed out 9 years ago never to return. She blames her father for a lot of things, and sees him as a horrible person. I don't really get why as I felt the author never really showed us. She blames him for her mother committing suicide since she was so sad and depressed because he was always leaving on his fishing boat. I'm not sure why, even after she learns the truth of her mom's suicide, she is never upset with her mom. She blames her dad for ruining her childhood and has nothing but bad memories of him. She constantly tries to pick fights with him and see the worst in him, even when he is trying so hard to be nice to her. For the most part I just saw a dad who obviously loves his daughter, wants her to be happy and wants nothing but the best for her. He knows this is his last chance with her and is trying his hardest to make it work. So kind of sad old man that I felt sorry for. That contrasts with Aesa who is just horrible to him. Whenever anyone says something nice about him she just scoffs like as if. He is a horrible person! She keeps mentioning how he ruined her childhood and is horrible, but I never saw it. I only saw her being horrible and I really did not like her at all. She was over dramatic all the time and just a nightmare for me.
When her dad's boat has to leave earlier than expected he ask Aesa to come along. She agrees and we meet Decker on board, one of the deckhands. He was...almost too zen and I'm trying to think of how to describe it. It is like he is overly sappy, but sappy is not the right word. I don't know. Every time he talks with Aesa he just tells her what she is really thinking/feeling. What she is not willing to even acknowledge to herself most of the time. By the half way mark I was getting tired of all of the conversations that were just Decker telling Aesa something, then Aesa being all oh man he is right! It is scary how he knows me so well! He knows what I am thinking and hits the nail on the head every time! I just....it didn't seem like a natural way for her to deal with her issues and see them for what they were. It was just here let's have him say something deep and insightful that will yet again make Aesa reassess what she thinks. A couple times would have been fine, but it got to the point where I was just like alright I got it.
Decker and Aesa's supposed love for each other I didn't see either. Sure they seem to like each other well enough, but I didn't see them falling in love that quickly. Then what she does to him at the end...that is pretty unforgivable in my book. Well maybe not completely, but it would have take so much more than nothing to get back to where they were for me. I really think the reason I didn't like her so much was she keeps thinking things are always black and white, no grey, when in real life almost everything is grey. She is not willing to compromise or even talk to the man she supposedly loves and just makes rash decisions based on the black and white that she sees. She is so dense it got to be so frustrating.
The other thing I didn't like was the Damon issue. It was all resolved so quickly and easily. I kept expecting him to pop back up, but he never did. Or maybe he got someone to sabotage her dad's ship or something, but no. No retaliation from him. It didn't make much sense based on the way the character was portrayed up until that point.
I know I am in the minority on this one, but this book just didn't work for me. I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters and found the story to often be boring. I thought the idea was fun, love on a fishing boat, but the execution just did not work for me.