Monday, March 28, 2011

Journey to Riverbend

Journey to Riverbend
Henry McLaughlin
ISBN: 978-1414339429
January, 2011/432 pages/$12.99

Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.

Soon after arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets and falls for the stunning Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel seems to be running from a past as dark as Michael’s.

When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stagecoach home, Michael offers to join the search party formed by the local sheriff. With a budding romance behind him and a dangerous rescue ahead of him, he sets out on the trail, determined to complete his journey no matter the cost.

Henry McLaughlin is the 2009 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest. He has a master's degree in social work and spent many years working in the public child welfare system. It was in this role that he first honed his writing skills in preparing concise and accurate court reports and petitions. He retired from that career in 1999 to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries.

To improve his craft, Henry belongs to several Christian writer organizations; attends writers conferences, workshops, and retreats; and participates in online and local critique groups. He completed the Christian Writers Guild Craftsman course in April 2010. The story had

Henry and his wife, Linda, have been married for over forty years and live in Saginaw, Texas. They have five children, the oldest of whom is in heaven, and one grandchild. Learn more at his website.

I've read debut novels that shouldn't have seen the light of day but I know that if it has won the Christian Writers Guild First Novel Contest, it won't fall into that category. Journey to Riverbend does not disappoint and is a solid introduction for Henry McLaughlin as an author. Plenty of action, including stagecoach attacks and posses, will satisfy the lover of western historical fiction, yet this book is so much more. Multiple threads weave together throughout this story, including greed & evil, judgmental & legalistic attitudes, grudges & forgiveness, redemption & new beginnings, and faith, hope & love. I look forward to more from this author.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale 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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