Monday, December 19, 2011

A Book Review

First, There Is a River by Kathy Steffan

For some reason, I can't add the image of the book. But here's the Amazon link.

From Amazon:  An old riverboat and the colorful characters aboard it form the backdrop for this tale of a woman's heartache and self-discovery and her crazed husband's quest for revenge. After her children are sent away, Emma seeks solace on her uncle's boat, where she is greeted by the kindness and companionship of a stranger. As she learns about herself and the possibility of happiness, her husband follows close behind, determined to take his anger out on her and everyone else aboard the boat.


My Review
After being subjected to abuse by her husband, Jared, Emma is devastated when he sends their kids to work on a farm. After contemplating killing her husband, she runs off and joins her uncle on a riverboat working as a cook. There she meets some quirky characters and finds strength in those around her…and love.


First sentence from prologue:

The summer of 1887 pressed a blanket of damp heat down the Ohio valley, smothering the life out of the towns along the river.


This sentence captures the mindset of the antagonist, Jared, quite nicely and foreshadows what is to come.


I was hooked by the prologue which begins with Jared. At first, since I had no idea what the book was about, I was not sure what to think about Jared. He was being bought by the father of the woman he loved to leave her alone and he refused the money. But then he fights the poor old man and lets him drown shortly after. Obviously, Jared was not a very nice man, but he intrigued me enough to want to learn his story, and to learn what happens next.


What I found was a story about not only a woman’s abuse, Emma, and not so much her quest for freedom (she hides the abuse and intends on going back to Jared after her job on the riverboat), but about those people around her who bring her back to life.


I truly believe that we are influenced by those we choose to keep around us-- friends, family, lovers--this story has Emma around folks who see her for what she is: human, a hard worker, a good friend, and a beautiful woman. And she begins to believe them.


And of course, we have Jared who relentlessly pursues Emma, leaving a wake of murders behind him. The author does a great job in keeping the tension balanced and left me on the edge of my seat turning the pages, praying that good will prevail and that those around Emma don’t meet a terrible fate.


I read this book because it was one of the free ebooks offered by Barnes & Noble a few weeks back.

I really enjoyed it.

5 comments:

  1. I've been thinking a lot about what you said here, about how we are influenced by those close to us. The company we keep. It is so true that often we become what others think of us.

    The book sounds good. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read--thanks!!

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  3. "I truly believe that we are influenced by those we choose to keep around us-- friends, family, lovers--this story has Emma around folks who see her for what she is: human, a hard worker, a good friend, and a beautiful woman. And she begins to believe them."

    This part of your review alone makes me want to read this novel. Awesome review!

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  4. Very nice review. You've intrigued me.

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