Friday, March 30, 2012

River's Call

River's Call
Melody Carlson
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426712678
February 2012/$14.99/320 pages

What happens when the ties between generations are severed?

It is the 1960s and Anna's daughter, Lauren, is confused, broken-hearted, and pregnant. The difficult situation seems to bring out the worst in the selfish girl. When Lauren chooses to stay with her manipulative Grandma Eunice, Anna worries her daughter will never become a mature adult and the relationship between Lauren, Anna and Eunice becomes even more strained. However, when she hits the lowest point in her life, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn and Shining Waters. As time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis, one that puts the entire family at risk.

Read the first chapter here.

Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 5 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Carter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Audrey, her yellow lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

I have mixed views on this novel. Many of Melody Carlson's books are spot-on, but this one falls a biti short, in my opinion. The book itself is well-written and the story drew me in, especially as the sequel to River's Song, which was published last summer. There was much to like overall, and I enjoyed the reappearance of many of the secondary characters from the first book. However, as I read, I felt that the story skates perilously close to simply being a nominally "religious" book with humanistic overtones rather than one with a Christian message, even one that is subtle. Comments such as "the river called to me" and "the river gave me a second chance" contribute to this, as do some other conversations and attitudes. When a novel highlights such broken lives and relationships as River's Call portrays, I think it is important to be clear about Christ as the Source of hope. I would recommend this one with caution.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press and Glass Road Public Relations as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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