Brothers Allard and Ed Keer are thoughtful, contented boys who seem joined at the hip. To say their family is close would be an underestimation. Mr. and Mrs. Keer are delightful folks, the kind who appreciate a simple life of understated beauty and sentimentality. Nature is their arena, and their children want no other life than the one they’ve been given. Surrounding their sensible New Hampshire home is a picturesque green country, a mix of charming, wistful childhood experiences, and visions of a land that seems nearly untouched by humans.
"Ask yourself when the last time it was that you read a book so beautiful and agonizing that it made you cry for joy and sorrow. THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT does that."
While ice skating on the river one day along with his brother, Allard’s daily routine is broken upon his discovery of a beautiful girl in desperate trouble. A stranger has fallen through the ice at its weakest point in frigid December water. She is not panicking, just struggling to hold on to her frightened dog, fighting the strong undercurrent. She and the animal are clearly within minutes of a fatal accident. In the dead of winter, the Keer boys see that the stars must have aligned perfectly for them to arrive in time. They just manage to get her out, but, in the process, Allard nearly goes under, falling in with her and being swept by the current under a shelf of ice. Miraculously, Allard and Sarah both survive and go on to see the experience as prophetic and rare. From that day forward, they are inseparable and become happy soulmates.
This bright new addition to Allard’s and Ed’s blissful natural life is one who will bring the Keer and Patrick families together. Both the kids and parents become instant, lifelong friends. And it turns out that Sarah ---- in spite of her startling beauty --- is a down-to-earth girl. Joyous and carefree, she comes from good working-class stock and believes in living simply in spite of the fact that she is rich. She spends every waking moment with the Keer boys and, through the years, sets up dreams and possibilities of settling down on the Keer land permanently. The three share a passion for film and nature, and set their hearts on going into business together. They intend to start a wildlife film company called “The Baker River Productions” and envision a future that will change the way people see wildlife.
We know, of course, that life is not so easy. No one gets by without getting hit by a few curve balls, at least not in real life. Events drive a wedge between the happy couple and force them apart, and before their love story is decided, Allard and Sarah come full circle twice. The book takes readers across picturesque areas that span North America, starting in the lovely green countryside of New Hampshire and venturing into more wild, untamed territories and mountains like the Wind Rivers and Gannet Peak in Wyoming. Far north, the trail bends into frozen winter landscape in Northern Canada, inspiring readers with extraordinary visions of animals of many varieties --- fearsome and simple --- narwhals singing, creatures cavorting, nature as an overwhelmingly beautiful and deadly force.
Ask yourself when the last time it was that you read a book so beautiful and agonizing that it made you cry for joy and sorrow. THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT does that. Filled with picturesque visions of nature and people, this love story is about healing and the things that really matter in life. Joseph Monninger has a perfect recipe for passion and a meaningful, down-to-earth existence. I can’t imagine this book not appealing to readers. The joys of being alive fill all the senses and leave you inspired, knowing what it means to be truly happy. Monninger’s prose is near-perfect; he never rambles and uses his gifts to speak to the reader’s soul. I can promise you --- particularly if you love romances --- that THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT is a book you’ll treasure and want to reread again one day.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on October 27, 2011
The World As We Know It