Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Book Review: River to Redemption

River to Redemption. Ann H. Gabhart. 2018. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Adria Starr didn't want her mother and little brother to stop breathing the way her father had. She wanted to take care of them.

Premise/plot: River To Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart is set in Springfield, Kentucky in the 1830s and 1840s. Adria Starr, our heroine, is orphaned by a cholera epidemic. The epidemic essentially devastates the community--leaving many dead, most--if not all--families effected. But one man stands as a hero in the community, a slave named Louis. He cares for the sick, and buries the dead. One whom he rescued is Adria. Louis and Aunt Tilda save her and love her like family in the weeks following the devastation. But they also know that they can't keep raising a white girl--even an orphaned white girl with no family. They find a new home for her. The school teacher's wife has been widowed. The two need each other.

After Louis' owner dies, Adria--and subsequently Ruth--are determined to remind the town of Louis' heroics. If ever a man deserved his freedom, it is Louis. She's hoping that even those in the community who believe in slavery will recognize this. (As for Adria and Ruth, they believe that slavery is wrong. They are abolitionists.) With the help of the local pastor, they're on a mission to raise money to buy Louis' freedom--he's due to be auctioned off in the coming weeks.

River to Redemption is loosely based on history. There was a slave named Louis who stayed behind in Springfield, who nursed the sick, buried the dead, kept the businesses safe. The community did come together and purchase his freedom and helped him set up a partnership with a blacksmith. There is a monument in the town honoring him. All the other characters of the novel are fictional.

My thoughts: I really found this one compelling. The focus is on Ruth AND Adria. I loved, loved, loved Ruth's romantic storyline. Adria doesn't have much of a romance in this one. I'm unsure if this is the start of a series or a stand alone novel. I'm fine either way. I am. I wouldn't mind reading more about Adria. But the story feels complete as is.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: