Review: Undertow by Amber Lynn Natusch - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Undertow by Amber Lynn Natusch

My Thoughts

Original. Vivid. Entrancing. Utterly Heartfelt.
I loved every moment in this poignant story about love, forgiveness
and boldly facing your fears.



undertow coverHow 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?

My Review

“The smell of the sea called to a part of me – somewhere deep in my DNA. I wanted to hate it, fight it, but I could not. With eyes closed, I stood on the shore of the Bering Sea and reflexively inhaled the salty sweetness that stole my childhood, my mother, and nearly my sanity.”

I loved this book. It was truly a breath of fresh air. The story takes place in Alaska, much of it on a king crab fishing boat on the Bering Sea. The unique setting and effortless style of the writing set it apart from other books. This is a story of forgiveness, survival and love amidst the crippling weight of long-buried anger and the life-threatening waves of the Bering Sea.  It’s about facing your past despite being surrounded by everything and everyone that symbolizes the very depths of your fear itself.

This is actually the first book I read by Amber Lynn Natusch and I was so impressed with her writing and storytelling. Her style was crisp yet emotive and exceedingly vivid. I felt as if I were there with the characters… I could feel the bitter and crushing Alaskan cold… smell the salty sea breeze of the Bering Sea. Just being transported into such a unique setting, reset my frame of my mind and opened up the opportunity for a really exciting reading experience.  In addition, Amber Lynn Natusch immerses us in the lexicon of the fishermen, further deepening the experience.

So what’s this story about?  Aesa Fredriksen, daughter of the Norwegian captain of a crab fishing boat, returns home to make amends with her father. Eight years prior, she left in a maelstrom of grief and anger, blaming her dad for her mother’s untimely death. Her father is a strong, tenacious man who wants nothing more than for Aesa to find happiness in that world she so despises, the world he would always call home.

“Norwegian fishermen were not supposed to show weakness or emotion. They were soldiers of the sea, born and bred to battle her, taking her bounty along the way. Some succeeded and lived, others failed and died, but that was the life he’d been destined to have.”

Aesa is tenacious herself, unswerving and focused, and up to then, unable to forgive her father for the hand he played in her mother’s death. In her eyes, he favored the seas to his wife, abandoning her to her loneliness which in turn became an irrepressible and irreversible resentment.

Aesa herself is a study in contradiction. A jarring juxtaposition between strength and fear. Her fear of loss and being left behind has become all-consuming over the years, encouraging a proclivity to run from her problems rather than take the risk and face them head on. She’s had to endure so much loss in her life, leaving her raw and vulnerable, unable to fathom the crushing loss of another loved one.

“She was driven, committed, and unwilling to fail. Knowing that about her, it only made me question how someone so outwardly tough could be so internally broken.”

When she agrees to accompany her father to sea for a couple weeks, she meets Decker, a deckhand on her father’s ship. He’s this calm and introspective guy who seems wise beyond his years. I loved him instantly. Decker hides a mysterious past and can’t help but be drawn to Aesa.  Aesa too begins to care for him and the more she needs him, the more her fear consumes again and she starts to push him away.

“I was drowning in something far more dangerous than the Bering Sea. Fear was overtaking me fast.”

But Decker… I mean, WOW. He is steadfast and unwavering, honest and direct and he refuses to let Aesa step around her issues. He forces her to face them, encouraging her to draw the necessary fortitude to find her happiness despite her past.

“I am a man. I don’t run. I don’t lie. I don’t cheat, and I don’t use. I don’t find enjoyment in games either. I’ve paid for my mistakes in life and learned from them. I know what I want, Aesa, and I want you. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

It’s during this time that secrets are revealed and amidst more pain, betrayal and loss, Aesa reaches an impasse — she needs to decide if she’ll continue to run or finally forge a different path.

Everything about this book is just wonderful and original and I was simply entranced by it. Beautiful, heartfelt story, crisp and vivid writing, two strong protagonists… what else do you need?! Loved every moment and highly recommend it!

 “You can’t live your life through the eyes of the past forever. You’ll never be able to move forward with that fear tethered to you, holding you back.”




About Amber Lynn Natusch

5399219If you’re dying to know more about me, allow me to put you at ease. I’m a sharp-tongued, sarcastic cancer, who loves vegetable smoothies, winter storms, and the word ‘portfolio’. I should NEVER be caffeinated, and require at least eight hours of sleep to even resemble a human being. At thirty-four, I just now feel like I can keep a straight face while saying the word “rectum” (which is actually a huge lie because I just laughed out loud while reading this to my husband). I live with my iPod firmly affixed to my body, drive too fast, and laugh/cry at inappropriate times.

I’m obsessed with urban fantasy… When I discovered that genre, I knew I had found my tribe. Now I write in that world because that’s what the voices in my head tell me to do. And they are very, very loud :)

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