Book 2 in a the three-book Water Wheel series, The River Rose is a stand-alone novel with zero overlap in characters or plot lines between the books. The series is linked geographically and historically on Mississippi River paddle wheelers during the 1850s.
Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her eight-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi.
However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose – a tough man named Clint Hardin – and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters.
As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne – who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.
As I have mentioned before, I have a special place in my heart for Gilbert Morris’ books. Reading his books envelops me with a sense of comfort in the familiarity of his distinctive writing voice and style. His books usually release as part of a series and, for me, they have the “Lays Potato Chip” Effect on me: bet you can’t read just one. Gilbert’s ability to breathe life in to history through fiction was the beginning to my fascination with history, which would become my major in university and now one of the subjects that I teach. It is very true that everything you read becomes a part of you!
I adored The River Rose’s unique and rich setting of a river boat-it is a niche topic that I was happy to explore through the lives of Jeanne, Marvel and Clint. Jeanne and Clint are unlikely partners but their personal journey and their relationship will pull on your heartstrings and keep you turning the pages. I loved that Jeanne wasn’t cast as simpering or damsel in distress; instead she defies the odds with strength and courage to ensure a future for her family. Clint is a hero in need of reforming that is a complex character once you scratch beneath his self assured veneer. The plot continued to develop start to finish with a few unexpected twists and turns that added excitement to this river adventure. There are a few pivotal developments that occur off-page that I wish had been shown first hand to the reader, but otherwise the pacing was consistent.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H Publishing Group. 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.