Monday, October 15, 2012

River's End By Melody Carlson

River's End brings to an end the successful trilogy that follows the lives Anna, her daughter Lauren, and granddaughter Sarah in the river country of the Pacific Northwest.  Through the three novels, their relationships falter and heal with each woman having her own unique story.  Newly discovered faith, forgiveness, and fresh starts are the underpinnings of the series.  At the center of the three women's lives is the inn on the river that Anna and her husband Clark have built from the old general store Anna's parents had run.  Another strong element is Anna's maternal Native American lineage.

The setting of the first book River's Song is the late fifties and early sixties as Anna tries to raise her daughter after her husband, who has never recoved from WWII wounds, dies.  A domineering mother-in-law pushes a wedge between the young mother and her only child Lauren.  Book two River's Call follows Lauren and her mother through the turbulent sixties as readers witness Lauren marry too young and falter as both wife and mother.   As the young Sarah finds solace and comfort at the inn with her maternal grandmother, slowly Lauren finds the need for a new life.

As River's End opens, it is the late seventies and both Lauren and Anna remember Sarah's birth eighteen years earlier.  Neither knows where the young woman is, as the troubled teenager had fled home over a year earlier .  This book, like the others, is one of contrasts between society's destructive unstable path and the inn's solid foundation.  When Sarah finally arrives back at the inn, thin, weak, it quickly becomes apparent that her mind and heart have been led in a new, dark direction. Will her grandmother's love be enough to hold her at the inn?  And can anyone show her the power of forgiveness and new starts?  Or will the strange allure of cults and "spiritual leaders" win out?

I liked this series, but I felt  the characters and actions were not as fully developed as Francine River's Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dream even though both series followed
the troubled multi-generational stories of mother-daughter love.  That said, I still give this series a strong recommendation for those who like Christian historical fiction with a near contemporary setting.  I received an e-copy of this title from NetGalley for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.


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