Cover Image: The Net Beneath Us

The Net Beneath Us

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Member Reviews

Wow, I am in awe that The Net Beneath Us is a debut. Truly. This story was captivating in the quietest way and I loved every page. A beautiful exploration of grief in many forms and many ways that I recommend to all readers, as it captures humanity at its worst and at its best.
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The Net Beneath Us is an absolutely incredible debut book! Elsa lives in an unfinished house in the middle of the woods with no water and electricity, with her two small children, when her husband gets in a horrifying accident. The Net Beneath Us is about grief, promises, perseverance, family, and understanding who you are. The descriptions and characters are beautiful, and overall it was just an amazing book to read. Bravo!
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This is a beautifully written debut about love and loss and life off the grid.  It is incredibly atmospheric. I found it so interesting that the story draws from the author's own experiences.  The writing is stunning,  The story is dark and gloomy but absolutely perfect for fans of literary fiction.
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3.75 ⭐️ This was a beautifully written piece of lyrical fiction and I love stories where rural/wilderness is as much a character as it is a setting. While I loved the characters/perspectives of Ethan and Hester, the author tipped the scales for me a bit too far with the continued disturbing decision making/judgements of Elsa and Luvera. I get that one is not thinking clearly when grieving — but it was just a bit too disturbing for me. That’s what kept this from being a 4 or 5⭐️ read for me.  My other issue was this was supposedly set in Northern Wisconsin, yet while the sense of rural wilderness was outstandingly conveyed, it could have been any forest/woods region. Aside from a few mentions of Madison, nothing gave me any sense of specific location or region. 
Still, a wonderful work and I look forward to reading this author again and recommend putting this on your TBR.
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This was a beautifully written book about grief, regret, communication and love. It had memorable characters and evocative descriptions of nature and life in a rural community. I enjoyed reading this and it brought me to tears many times.
Elsa's physical and monetary struggles as she copes with her grief are tangible through the descriptive pages. The difficulty she has with accepting help and her lack of communication were believable given her past and her desire to be accepted. I felt empathy for Elsa and her children - even though her behavior was sometimes frustrating! Luvera and Ethan are realistic characters who demonstrate the comfort of years of marriage between them, who share regrets and sorrow from the past and whose relationship is tested and strained in the wake of tragedy. 
This is a beautiful book and one I would recommend to anyone but especially to nature lovers, mothers and those who have faced unbearable grief.
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This book was unlike anything I have read before and it felt modern but also reminded me or stories of my childhood like Littlr house on the prairie because of the return to living off the grid. I like how this wasn’t told in first person but instead you get a full view of each character so well. At times it was confusing how the story jumped back and forth between time frames as it flashed back to the past because it wasn’t always clearly written that it was a flashback to the past. I think this could be confusing if someone was listening to this book. Overall, this was a powerful and unexpected story of love, grief, perseverance, and growth. Some of the content may be hard for some- medical content, death, grief, etc.

Thank you Net Galley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book!
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This atmospheric novel is for fans of Landslide by Susan Conley and Leif Enger. It’s about found family and marriage and love and the power of nature. When living off the grid in Wisconsin, Elsa’s husband Silas has a logging accident that changes their life forever. I thought the writing was beautiful, the characters were well developed and the story was slow but not boring. I really enjoyed this book!
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Rating: 4/5⭐️
Pub day: 9-13-2022

Welp, I was NOT prepared for this very emotional read. There was one particular moment in the first few chapters where I absolutely wept. Real tears rolling down my face while I tried to keep my s*** together because I didn’t want to freak my daughter out! 😂 

This wonderful debut has a slower pace but is packed full of insightful moments and a wide range of characters. A deeply emotional tale about loss, strength, and finding what is needed most in each person’s life. 

I did a combo of audio and digital and both were wonderful. The audio is done by one narrator, but I never found it lacking when she altered her voice for different characters. Really impressive debut, I’m excited to see what Dunbar writes next! 

Thank you Macmillan Audio, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, and Netgalley for the arc & alc in exchange for an honest review!
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This is Elsa and she's a princess.  No, no she's not- she's a woman who is struggling to hold her family together as her husband dies and after.  Elsa and Silas came from different worlds- she's an artist who lived around the world and he loves the land- but together they made a team that surprised his uncle Ethan and aunt Luvera.  This will break your heart as Elsa, her daughter Hester, and Ethan come to terms with the loss of Silas.  Everything is hard; there's no running water, the house is half finished, there are mice in the walls, and there's no Silas. Or income.   I don't know how to describe how much this captured me and how much I rooted for everyone.  It's painfully atmospheric, especially in the hospital and after Elsa brings Silas home but also as Elsa tries to keep everything going.  Terrific storytelling and wonderful characters- and it's a page turner.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Can't praise this more- highly recommend.
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This is a story that pulls at your heartstrings and doesn’t let go, an emotional journey.
The main message is that we are all capable of surviving and enduring whatever is thrown at us!
The main character Elsa learns how to survive with young children when her husband has an accident. Highly emotional,  the storyline reveals a wonderful tale of strength and family dynamics. 
This is a debut novel, well written and delivering subtleties superbly!
I can’t wait to read more from Carol Dunbar!

Huge congratulations to the publisher, NetGalley and the very talented author for this insightful book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I loved it! I was sucked in immediately to this beautiful (but very sad) story of motherhood, marriage and family. I had so much empathy for Elsa and her complicated relationship with her in-laws. Not every tough family relationship is the result of one or two cruel acts or even of repeated offenses. There are often just characteristics and notions that make people unsuited to be together. But the United love of a person it was brings them together. This is so true with Elsa, Luvera and Ethan. When the unthinkable happens and they’re forced to come to terms with it all, Dunbar writes a beautiful story about what family can be. I highly recommend this one.
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The Net Beneath Us is an engrossing novel about a family dealing with struggle, but the tone and ambience are the true standouts. Carol Dunbar masterfully crafts the setting of rural Wisconsin, immediately transporting the reader to the north woods. Her characters are well-formed and believably flawed, and the narrative switches among them smoothly leaving you unsure who (if anyone) is a reliable narrator. This book drew me in and kept me hooked until the very end.
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This story grabs your heart at page one and does not let go. It is the story of a family trying to live off the grid when tragedy happens and the wife, Elsa, is left alone with her 2 small children to figure out how to survive. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character- Elsa, her 5 year old daughter Hester, and her late husband's Aunt and Uncle- Luvera and Ethan. Through the eyes of each character you learn about their lives, their grief, and their dreams. It is a story that is heartbreaking at times as the members of the family struggle to understand each other, but you as the reader understand that they are always on the same page and want the same things. You want to scream at them to open up to each other and fully understand what the other is going through and thinking. Carol Dunbar draws them all expertly and you empathize and connect with each one. 
The prose is beautifully crafted, and it is a book that will stay with you for a long time. It is an age old tale of love, grief, survival, and what it means to be a family, but it is told in a completely unique and modern way. You are along for the ride as each member of the family struggles, grows and learns that are they better if they can rely on each other. They each discover their strengths and that love is at the center of it all. I am excited to read more by Carol Dunbar in the future.
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A nice change in speed and I found The Net Beneath Us to be very poetic. It is on the slower side so I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. The Net Beneath us is a very soft spoken and a gentle book but with a lot of hardship mixed in. This book is about loss, parenthood, marriage and self-reliance. While I think this is targeting a specific audience, if you're looking for a change in pace or interested in trying something new, this wouldn't be a bad book to try out. Just prepare to have a lot of tissues beside you because your eyes will leak.

Elsa husband is in a coma after a work accident and she now finds herself stumbling blindly taking care of a half built home in the middle of the woods with her two young kids. From big city girl with everything provided to her to a single functioning parent figuring out how to chop wood to keep the house warm in the winter, Elsa is out of her element but she is determined to succeed. With the constant doubt from her mother in law and her own father, Elsa has grown to not accept help from others but to rely on herself. However, Elsa also learns that receiving help isn't always bad.

I love Elsa and her fierceness for independence. Her character growth, like this book is slow but with its own rhythm. I admire the way she sees the world and her ability to keep trying. There are many quote worthy moments and many places where my heart aches.

The writing is beautiful but there are parts where it felt janky and I had to go back to reread what the last event was. It jumped a little from one topic to another and I felt like that could have been written better. With this, there wasn't a lot of story - again, this being a very slow book - but with the writing style, it made this book to be interesting enough for me to finish. Overall, a beautifully written story, just targeted at a more specific audience.
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This was quite the book!! I absolutely loved it! I loved the setting, the characters, the premise- all of it. The writing was so well done. I had never heard of Carol Dunbar until I read this book. I was fully invested in the hardships and grief that the characters endured in this book. It explores how hard motherhood is and what we do for our children and family. I highly recommend this book to others. Thank you to Netgalley and to the publisher for the ARC. I’m very appreciative☺️
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Beautifully written heart wrenching a novel that comes alive draws us into the lives of a young family.A family that lives off the grid working daily on the land building their home.All is well till the day of a horrific accident and Elsa the young wife is left to survive without her partner her husband.Elsa is a city girl not used to life off the grid watching her mourn yet gain strength so she and her babies can survive.This book was so real so moving lyrically written abook that will stay with me anauthor I will continue to follow recommend.#netgalley #thenetbeneathus.
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With gorgeous, evocative prose, THE NET BENEATH US welcomes readers into a bucolic, off-grid life that has been turned upside down for a young family. When her husband is the victim of a logging accident, Elsa needs to "keep on keeping on" as Silas would put it. For her, that means a challenging life lived close to the bone in an unfinished, off-grid life that requires tons of effort and skills to be learned, all while she's responsible for young children trying to survive grief. I loved the story's balance of being immersed in a very specific lifestyle while also being carried forward by the universal aches of loss, fear, determination, dedication. Elsa has to grapple with the biggest questions we can face, and watching her confront, make peace, conquer and grow is at turns harrowing and inspirational. The setting is an exquisite part of the story, a character in its own right, and I was left with a hunger to live farther from the grid and deeper into my own life as a result. Highly recommend!
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