The River’s Call
By Melody Carlson
Published by Abingdon Press
320 Pages

Back Cover: Anna Larson's daughter, Lauren, is confused, brokenhearted, and misguided. It's the turbulent 1960s and, feeling alienated from her mother, Lauren chooses to stay with her paternal grandmother. However, repelled by the woman's manipulative and spiteful ways, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn at Shining Waters.

There, Lauren begins to appreciate the person her mother is becoming--and she loves the river. However, romantic interests throw a wrench into the works and Lauren, jealous and angry, returns to her grandmother yet again.

But as time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis--one that puts the entire family at risk.

REVIEW: I bought the eBook copy of this book because I was in a hurry to find out what happened next to Anna’s family. I was glad to know that book two The River’s Call continues the story of the Larson maternal line all through the late 50’s early 60’s at The Inn at Shinning Waters This novel begins where book number one, The River’s Song left off.  The main focus of this story is on Anna’s daughter Lauren and the choices she makes that keep the relationship between her and her mother strained. Things are seemingly hopeless for Anna as she and Clark manage their Bed and Breakfast. Lauren is far away and calls are few and far between. This story is told in Anna’s pov. I liked that.

Anna reflects on her daughter Lauren’s upbringing and how maybe some of Anna’s choices could have been different. Maybe Lauren wouldn't have been in this situation and/or be so self-absorbed if Anna had not lived with her mother-in-law for so long. She concluded she did the best she could for the situation.

 Times where hard when Lauren’s dad returned from Vietnam wounded. He was a shell of a man. Anna did all she could to nurse him along but he had lost his fight to live. In the meantime Eunice, her mother-in-law took that opportunity to bond with her granddaughter Lauren and take the affection that was due her mother, Anna. Readers got a peek at Eunice’s dark side in the last book. In this one the author shows Eunice in all her glory. It’s not pretty. I could see how Anna felt hopeless in her circumstances.

This author interweaves American historical events throughout that took place in the 60’s. Many changes take place in our country and in Anna’s life on the river as she and her husband Clark make improvements to The Inn at Shinning Waters. Its fun to read about Clark and Anna working together as their love blooms as they create a peaceful and fun environment for their guests to enjoy. I wanted to go there. Not kidding! Grin!

What makes this story even better is the colorful cast of supporting characters. Hazel is Anna’s friend who is an Indian researcher. She is also Clark’s mom. Clark is a building contractor who has studied law, Henry is the river boat delivery man. Babette, is an adorable French woman who is a friend of Anna’s family. Eunice Anna’s mother-in-law who you get to see up close and personal in this novel and someone who will get under your skin.

I marveled at the patience Anna and Clark had when they dealt with Eunice. They kept healthy boundaries and showed her the love of Jesus at the same time. They would not let Eunice abuse them or their guests. They had a contagious love that spilled over to their family and the people God placed in their lives on the river. I love how this author shows this and how when they fail at loving they pick themselves up and seek his help to love again.

There is a struggle between Lauren, Eunice and Anna that is difficult. Anna learns to rely on her Christian faith, supportive husband and dear friends Hazel and Babette. Life lessons are interwoven throughout this novel and series. This is a heartwarming story that will have you look at relationships and family in a whole new light.  I highly recommend this as a great read and a book club pick. There is so much in this novel.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
Book Fun Magazine
The Book Club Network blog


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