Customer Reviews for

A River to Cross

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( 32 )
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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Interesting plot, but too formulaic

    First, I'll say that when I read Christian fiction, I expect a degree of predictability and stock roles. It's part of the fun (same as romantic comedy movies). This book, however, never moved beyond the cookie cutter romance.

    DID LIKE: the setting is interesting, with the threat of war between Texas and Mexico. The plot moves pretty quickly, more action than most Christian fiction. The book begins with the heroine being kidnapped so it starts on an exciting note. One big plus is the absence of any of those annoying filler sub-plots.

    DIDN'T LIKE: the characters are not drawn out. We're just hit over the head with what they are. Elizabeth Evans is the typical, spirited heroine. Jake Nelson, the Texas Ranger who rescues her, is a caricature. He's strong, silent, tough, cool, and did I mention strong? He's told a lot of women good-bye, and being married is the laaaast thing on his mind---you know the rest.

    The book is very disjointed. I often found myself turning pages back to see if I'd missed something. In one scene, Elizabeth launches into a rant about how Jake thinks children and needlepoint are the only contributions women can make. It comes out of nowhere and with no basis. It's just a choppy scene inserted to build tension, and that's a pattern in this book. The author's writing is clunky at times to("She lowered her eyes, unsettled by a tug of attraction to this big, slow-talking man. The wrong man"). Groan-inducing.

    Finally, there were some absurd improprieties for the time. E.g. Jake kissing her in her nightgown, inviting her to stay at his place overnight, bringing her coffee in bed, etc.

    If you like romances where the characters are constantly fighting their feelings, kissing furiously, clamming up (repeated every 20 pages or so), this is the book for you.

    Disclosure: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their Reader Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Full of historical inaccuracies

    The story is not very well written, in some parts things are skipped and it jumps from one thing to another and then back. It is slow in some parts and two fast in others.
    However the worst part are the historical inaccuracies of the story, and I'm not only talking about the way the characters behave, but also about the historical surroundings. First, in 1886 Mexico had a very strong, military president called Porfirio Diaz, who was in no danger whatsoever of being overthrown at that time. He was a no-nonsense president with little tolerance for even drunks on the streets who were imprisoned, so I highly doubt Mexico city had gangs trouble at that time (maybe El Paso and Ciudad Juarez did, however, gangs violence had its origin in border towns, but I'm almost sure it started later). Mexico has never had a president called Hector Guevara. The only politician called like that is a congressman from this century.
    There aren't benedictines in Mexico. 7 catholic orders came to Mexico, non of them benedictines. As far as I know in Chihuahua there were franciscan missions and some jesuits. In fact, El Paso was founded by franciscans.
    Fort Bliss didn't need to expand so much and El Paso and Ciudad Juarez were just like one big town then, and there weren't so much trouble on 1886 as there were years BEFORE and AFTER. The story could have taken place 25 years later, when the mexican revolution brought violence, population increase, and a lot of trouble to Texas' border and when Fort Bliss had to expand and Texas Rangers had to go to control the situation violently and there were texans expeditions into Mexico, etc.
    If she really researched, she did a very poor job of it. I'm guessing she just talk with people and never did found out when did things really occur, or if they happened at all.
    If you're writting a historical novel you must do a very good research about the time you're writting about or in any case don't tell it's a historical novel, just say it's fiction, don't write a year, and just tell your story leaving your readers decide when it took place (or if it's feasible that it had taken place at all).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2012

    Disjointed and choppy

    1.5 stars Nothing about this story felt natural. The characters individually were interesting, but together they were a mishmash of opposing personalities and had no chemistry. A few times I even wondered if I had missed reading a page because the heroine would fly into a rant with no background basis for it. I had to wonder if she was manic or just a shrew.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2012


    Such a disappointment! This story had so much promise. I think this story must have been rushed. It was so choppy and story development seemed forced. Bummer.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Could Have Been So Much Better..

    I thought I'd give A River To Cross by Yvonne Harris--the first of this author's books I've ever read--a shot. I bought the book hoping for a great story... The first chapter starts off fast, immediately dipping into the action. Harris keeps the characters busy for most of the book--new places and people were continuously introduced throughout. .... I didn't care much for, however, the way the author chose to transition scenes or switch perspectives. I feel like the actions of the characters were not well written, because a lot of times I felt the need to improvise and create with my imagination what the characters actually did when they spoke or moved. The author created dry characters. When the character spoke, did she give a humorless chuckle because of the situation? Or did she bite her lip in thought when the scene so required?....The book(of only 196 pages) could have thickened a bit if the author had included such details, which would have made the book so much more enjoyable in my own opinion. I would have loved to have vividly visualized the settings, the movements of the Rangers and Elizabeth, and to have thoroughly fell in love with the characters. .... I also feel like the characters were unknown to me throughout the first several chapters. Who were Gus and Fred? They were Rangers, sure, but only Rangers with names. They were important characters in the book. Why did I have no concept of who these people were? And with Elizabeth and Jake, I felt, even by the end of the book, that I only had a vague impression of their personalities. Yvonne Harris explains in short detail what the characters' looks and personalities are like, but she doesn't let me find out for myself. Rather than show me by the characters actions, and by adding relevant little details, she simply tells me. On top of that, I strongly feel that the author should firmly establish her important characters in the beginning. Which she did not. Perhaps a more polished, complete product would have resulted had Harris cowritten the book with another author. .... I was very confused throughout a good portion of the book because of unclear prose. And to whomever may care, the author is Catholic. ..Which is yet another reason why I feel that some parts were hard to follow, because I do not share her Catholic beliefs. So I honestly was a little bit confused when it came to the brief religious parts she included. .... The story wasn't entirely bad, but I found that it was very inaccurate. Like someone else in a review previously mentioned, in the 1800s, women--especially those of high social positions--would not have so freely kissed any man, not at knowing him for such a short time, nor so many times, so passionately, and with nary a concern for her reputation. That all falls into incomplete character development, as well. ....As for the history, I'm no expert, so I could not say if the year was exact or if any of the definitions of the time in history were true at all. .... On one last departing note, I'll say that I would have liked to known more about and seen more of Ruthie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014


    Loved this book! True to Texas history & a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Love story set in Texas

    This is a very good love story set in Texas during the time of political differences between some in Mexico and those in Texas. It is filled with information about the Texas Rangers, as well as adventure, heartache, and love. I hope you enjoy this story as I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014


    Walks in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Training hollow


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  • Posted January 4, 2014

    Great book!

    I enjoyed this book. It was a western, romance and mystery. It told how the west was with the hardships the people went through. You will enjoy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013


    Not what I expected. A little too mushy for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    A river to cross

    I loved the book . Good till the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    I dont know why i completrd this tead

    A free book. Choppy reading and poorly developed characters

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  • Posted November 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I thought this book was GREAT!!! I don't know what the bad revi

    I thought this book was GREAT!!! I don't know what the bad reviews were talking about and wonder if we even read the same book. lol Oh well, if you want a good read, this will be the book for you.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    Wonderful Story!

    A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris is a novel that takes place in the Rio Grande- Texas in the year 1886. Elizabeth Evans is a journalist for her brothers paper during the war between America and Mexico. During a town meeting she sees her brother shot and killed by the Mexican general, Manuel Diego who kidnaps her and takes her to Mexico. A Texas Ranger named Jake Nelson and his posse track the Mexicans down and save Elizabeth. This starts a hunt by Diego to find Elizabeth and murder her.
    This book is a face paced western Christian fiction. I found it quite intriguing and thoroughly enjoyed the book! I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a good western romance!

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good story line that seems to have a few inaccuracies.

    I am not a historian by any means, but this book is perhaps one of the obvious historically inaccurate books I've read. A River to Cross is about the very quickly progressed romance of Elizabeth and Jake. In the very beginning he rescues her after she kidnapped by Mexicans who are in a feud with Texans. From that point on he is trying protest her from being kidnapped again since they want her as leverage considering he status as someone's in government's daughter.
    As I said there were many inaccuracies from what I could tell. There were two very obvious things to me though. One was that the lead characters kissed a lot. I'm very sure public affection was not that approved of in the 1800s, but yet these two were at each other's lips almost every chapter. There is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't seem to match with how reserved most women, and society viewed conducting themselves in public. Now if she was working in a saloon under a mistress, and trying to seduce men it would have made more sense. The second thing was only one sentence, but it bugged me the entire time, because I've always known this. There is one woman who is insecure about her body, so she wears her dresses baggy to conceal that she feel she is overweight. If anyone knows anything about whatever then you know thin was not in for the women of the 1800s. Men loved women with lots of curves, and were voluptuous. A woman would have not been trying to conceal, but instead play up in the best way she could that she was extra endowed in certain areas, such as most notably the breast! Have you ever watched a movie from those periods that tried to cover those up?
    I did finish reading this book, which at least says that it vaguely kept my interest enough for me to do so. After the first few pages the action seemed repetitive, and the romance wasn't very deep. It seemed everything was happening, to just be happening. It was thankfully a quick read, so it didn't have to keep my interest long.
    If you are a fan of these historical, Christian, romance novels, then you'll probably love it. I'm not a consistent fan of them. I'm struggling to find many that know how to make deep, believable characters.

    This complimentary copy was provided by Bethany House in exchange for a review.

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this western, adventure story busting with action right from the start! Unexpected danger erupts when the author whisks the reader inside a court room.

    Elizabeth Evans is Senator Madison's daughter and sister of Lloyd Madison, newspaper business man. Elizabeth and Lloyd were inside County Courthouse, in El Paso Texas, when all heck broke loose. Elizabeth Evans then finds herself in the clutches of Manuel Diego, a man who rules Mexico underbelly.

    Texas Ranger, Jake Nelson, hears of Senator Madison's daugther kidnapping and sets out on a mission to find her. He's determined to keep Elizabeth safe once he finds her and brings Manuel Diego to pay for his brutal crime. Jake learns early on the assumptions he had about Elizabeth being a spoiled, woman of privelege are wrong. He soon discovers she's a strong courageous woman. She's stubborn and determined to learn to ride a horse in order to make an easier escape. She's determined but hiding in woods as they run from their enemy has it's own issues. It was time to come up with a plan they both could live with.

    Even though I did not read Yvonne's first book - I enjoyed this book very much and it read as a stand alone. I liked Yvonne's creativity and imagination. I also liked that I learned about that time period, gyspies and Texas Rangers. I liked this authors writing style well paced action and humor and how she started this story with a bang - literally. I liked the fact that this story wasn't preachy or mushy with lovey stuff. Yvonne has a great mix of adventure, and suspense, interwoven with a tender love story of two people facing the hurts and pain of their past! Both find themselves thinking they might just give love a change again. I recommend this book to people who like Johnny Stewart type westerns with tender love stories, faithful cowboys and a believable spiritual thread!

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Nice historical western romance

    I love historical novels, and if they are set in the west then that's just an added bonus.In this one Yvonne Harris transports us back in time to August 1886 in El Paso Texas. Elizabeth Evans moves to Texas from Washington to look after her brother Lloyd and his daughter Ruthie after the death of his wife and newborn son, and in return he will teach her the newspaper business,but instead her brother is shot dead and Elizabeth is kidnapped by Mexican outlaws. When Jake Nelson, a Texas Ranger learns of the shooting and kidnapping he sets out to rescue Elizabeth.When he finds her there is an immediate attraction,but could a relationship ever work between the two?

    With plenty of page turning action from the beginning, this book is certainly a quick read.I enjoyed learning a bit about the Texas Rangers,and the time period in general, while reading a sweet romance. I liked main characters in this book. Both were dealing with issues from their past that caused them to guard their hearts. Jake's heart was broken by his fiance, and the death of Elizabeth's husband Carl, who was killed in the line of duty in the Army, caused her to fear getting involved with someone who might put their job first.

    I think anyone who enjoys a good historical fiction western,with romance and plenty of action will certainly enjoy this fast paced read, I know I did.

    A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Story

    After the death of her first husband, Elizabeth Evans has vowed that she would never marry an "army man" again. She couldn't bear the pain. But when she is kidnapped by some rogue Spanish men, she is immediately taken by the handsome Jake Nelson, her rescuer. Throughout the next two weeks, Elizabeth and Jake find their mutual attraction somewhat disarming. As they spend time together, while they are taking Elizabeth back to a safe location, they begin to fall in love. Unfortunately the same men who had kidnapped Elizabeth are still on the hunt for her, and Jake has a feeling that they won't stop until Elizabeth is dead.
    I though this book was very well written, with great descriptions of everything from the terrain, to the way people looked, to the way they spoke, and such detail is important in a story such as this one. One of the only bad things was that I am not sure of the historical accuracy of a few of the things mentioned HOWEVER I am no history major by any means, and I could be completely wrong! I would recommend this book to those in highschool and up, and I sincerely hope you will buy it!
    Libbi H.

    Bethany House Publishers gave me this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Engaging Western Romance

    I received a complimentary copy of A River to Cross from Bethany House Publishing. A River to Cross by Yvonne Harris captures your heart immediately. In this historical western romance set in 1886, the reader is transported to El Paso, Texas when tensions ran high between the still-blossoming United States and Mexico. Manuel Diego, a scoundrel-of-a-general, wants to take over the Mexican government. Diego motivated by vengeance due to an article naming him suspect in the goings-on of El Paso kills Lloyd Madison, newspaper publisher. Elizabeth Evans witnesses the murder of her brother, Madison, and becomes a pawn in Diego's scheme. Consequently, Elizabeth, a senator's daughter is kidnapped by Diego's men, as he tries to build hostility between the two countries.
    And now the romance comes in for the romantic-at-heart. Jake Nelson, Texas Ranger, comes to Elizabeth's rescue and in the process rescues her heart. As a widow, Elizabeth is bent on not allowing any man capture her heart. Love ensues as the Rangers grab Elizabeth in the middle of the night and head back for the border to the United States. When all is said and done, A River to Cross ends on a happy note.
    Yvonne Harris evidently put a lot of time into her writing. I was impressed with the historical accuracy and research used in this volume. There is an inherent cultural flair to the book from beginning to end. She vividly paints the scene for the reader without bei\ng overly wordy. " From a distance, the whitewashed mud houses looked swept together against the mountain, their tile roofs touching. A sandstone church with a modest cross stood at one end of a large arcaded square; the school the two Romero boys attended, at the other."
    The character portrayal is consistent throughout the chapters, though you can identify the characters' development and growth. Elizabeth Evans begins as a widowed woman, out of her element who is thrown into a dangerous situation, causing her to draw on her own strength. In the process she finds her heart opening to a man she intended not to love. She began searching for herself in timidity and came out strong and assured.
    The only aspect I found odd while reading, was that in the middle Harris seemed so focused on the development of the romance between Jake and Elizabeth, I almost forgot about the surrounding political story. Then in the last third of the book when the Mexican general and military come into play, it seemed like a surprise. That said, Harris did a lovely job and the history of the book made up for any shortcomings. A River to Cross is filled with realistic characters, historical accuracy and a romance that would make any woman swoon. If you are die-hard, gooey, romance addict this volume probably isn't for you. However, if you are like me and can appreciate a romance novel without the fluff, then A River to Cross would certainly benefit your shelf. Happy reading!

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