Customer Reviews for

Journey to Riverbend

Average Rating 4.5
( 41 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A great book!

Journey to Riverbend is an amazing book! I loved the plot, the characters, and everything about the book. The plot was perfect, the characters were perfectly described, and the book was just amazing! I love romances, so this book to me was one of the best. Romances are ...
Journey to Riverbend is an amazing book! I loved the plot, the characters, and everything about the book. The plot was perfect, the characters were perfectly described, and the book was just amazing! I love romances, so this book to me was one of the best. Romances are my big thing and this western romance was just great! A perfect read that anyone will enjoy!

posted by diana56 on August 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not your usual Christian historical fiction novel!

Henry McLaughlin is an extremely talented writer, weaving a tale so vividly that I feel I could draw a map of the places traveled and could paint each character's portrait. At times it truly seemed that I was using all five senses while reading "Journey to Riverbend." ...
Henry McLaughlin is an extremely talented writer, weaving a tale so vividly that I feel I could draw a map of the places traveled and could paint each character's portrait. At times it truly seemed that I was using all five senses while reading "Journey to Riverbend."

Now, I'm not going to try and write a synopsis here, since anyone can just go and read the editorial review. Instead I'm going to focus on what made this book an interesting and unique read.

I said this is not a typical Christian historical fiction novel because its not filled with the fluff that so many of them are. "Journey to Riverbend" deals with the true, nitty gritty, and sometimes just plain horrendous parts of life, especially life in the "Old Wild West." The protagonists and heroes are flawed, dealing with their own pasts of lawlessness and sin, and are still plagued with their former lives, quite like reality. However, the truth of God's Gospel is just as, or perhaps even more relevant and life-changing, and the message of His grace and redemption is woven throughout.

One aspect of the book that was quite impressive to me, was McLaughlin's ability to create evil and despicable characters and yet show their humanity and the broken parts of their souls that made them who they were, enabling the reader to actually feel understanding and perhaps even sympathy for them.

*possible spoiler alert*
In conclusion, if you're looking for a story that is all sunshine and lollipops, with everything coming together at the end in a nice little package, without pain, heartache and sadness, this is NOT the book for you! I really appreciated Mr. McLaughlin's willingness to write out of the box, resisting the pressure to give the reader a "happily ever after", "everything coming up roses" ending that is so common in Christian fiction, but frankly so unrealistic in life and/or history.

posted by AlaskanTebowFan on July 22, 2011

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended!

    I'm giving this mystery romance novel points for literariness.

    Chapter 1 begins the novel like the first scene of a movie: right in the middle of the action, short, intriguing. The following chapters read like a montage, setting the stage, introducing characters, unfolding the plot.

    Journey to Riverbend is a well thought out novel. Definitely one of the few within the Christian fiction genre that I enjoy for its literariness as much as its moral values.

    I'm relieved to find characters that break away a bit from the category's mold. I also appreciate the novel's brevity and restraint, often lacking in usual love stories-perhaps a benefit of male authorship?

    At any rate, Henry McLaughlin won an award for this debut novel, and I can see why. I'm looking forward to more from this author.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    At last a great western that leaves you wanting a sequel!

    April 10, 1878, was a day that an innocent man was hung. Ben Carstairs was charged with a crime that neither the sheriff or Michael Archer could prove innocent, so they sat by while Ben hung. His last wish was for Michael to return his dead mother's cross to his estranged father, Sam and hopefully explain to his father how truly sorry he was for being a disappointment to him.

    Michael Archer is a man with a dark past but since finding salvation in Jesus, he is looking to find a new start in life. So when his path leads him to Riverbend in search of Sam Carstairs, he finds more than a new life there, but hope in Rachel Stone.

    Rachel Stone is a woman with a past life she wished never existed. Traded among the men in her life beginning with her uncle and then sold in prostitution with Red Mary, she longs for the day when she can walk the streets of Riverbend and have men not leer at her with lust and women turn away with disgust. She too is hoping to start a new life in Riverbend thanks to the generous funding of Sam Carstairs to open a dress shop called Rachel's Hope. Little does she know the plans God has in mind for her the moment she gave her life to Him to redeem.

    Since the world of Riverbend revolves around Sam Carstairs, one of the biggest and wealthiest land owners in town, he has little to fear. Yet one day as Sam is returning from San Francisco on a stage, he receives a letter from someone in his past that is about to come collecting on a debt that Sam had hoped would never surface.

    When Sam goes missing from the stage along with a newlywed couple, the town will all unite to bring Sam home no matter the cost. God however has a master plan in mind when it comes to the people of Riverbend.

    I received the novel Journey To Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review. I loved it! Being a huge fan of western romance, I craved the open trail and the search for love and redemption in the town of Riverbend. The characters are well written so that you can come to get to know them like friends. I was hooked from the very first page and commend Henry McLaughlin for a brilliant first novel. This one rates 5 out of 5 stars. Here's hoping for even more from this amazing and talented author.

    This book is available in paperback and eBook formats.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Evening Read with a cup of tea!

    *Spoiler Alert* A romance book written by a man? Admittingly, I was prejudicial going into the book. But from the first page where he starts Chapter 1 with, "The crowd was small for a hanging. Quieter than usual, as if they all knew justice would not be served today," had me hooked. Would the romance part take backseat to the action? Not when he writes, "The morning light glowed around her. An orb of pale sunshine highlighted her elegant features and brightened her pale yellow dress. Released from the bonnet in her hand, her hair cascaded to her shoulders and framed her face with light brown wisps. Her eyes sparkled. Her lips moved soundlessly. She followed the path to the river." The story reminded me a little of other western-romances, but Henry McLaughlin takes the story down its different rabbit trails. He introduces us to several characters, but centers around three of them: Michael Archer, Rachel Stone, and Sam Carstairs. Three people who have dark pasts; two that were rescued and introduced to Christ. Sam, however, is a complex character. I didn't expect McLaughlin to develop the character the way he did, and I made certain assumptions based on past western-romances that I had read by a variety of authors. A romance book written by a man? It's possible. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story together. The only confusion was at the end. I didn't know where Michael had come from; one moment Rachel was alone and in the next she found herself in Michael's arms. That confusion didn't detract from a fulfilling happy ending. Book Reviews are always impartial. This book provided by the publisher for review.

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