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However, as plans are made, news comes of ...
However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose - a tough man named Clint Hardin - and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters.
As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne - who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.
Mature reading audience. 1851, Memphis, TN. After being widowed,
Jeanne Bettencourt struggled to make ends meet for her and her
six-year-old daughter, Marvel, as a chambermaid at the Gayoso House
Hotel. Jeanne was always leery and alert when working in the rooms of
the men staying at the hotel. Even her daughter was aware that “she
didn’t like men very much.” The real issue is that she didn’t trust
them. Her life was about to change for the better when a distant,
unknown Hardin relative passed away and she became a half-heir to his
estate–a paddle wheeler steamboat. She grew up on one, so she was
elated. However, the other half-heir was Clint Hardin, a tough man who
had his way with women. Being a Christian woman, Jeanne was
uncomfortable “living” on the boat with him, but both needed money, so
they made a business arrangement where she would pilot the boat and he
would keep up the mechanical end. Though courting wealthy plantation
owner, Mr. George Masters, Jeanne began her new life as a steamer pilot.
Masters wasn’t happy with the arrangement, but she needed income. The
River Rose, by Gilbert Morris, was an entertaining and great historical
book! I found that the descriptive events of the daily trappings of the
river, the gathering of supplies, the procuring of new customers and
cargo, the bantering from the male pilots, the noise and filth of the
docks, and the keeping of the logs during the eight-day trips made for
an interesting read. I loved the bantering of being nicknamed the
‘petticoat’ pilot. The author fires up the ante with Clint falling for
Jeanne and an unexpected shock waiting for Jeanne at the end of their
fourth run. Though I did not care for Clint’s lifestyle before working
on the steamer, he endeared himself to me as he was so gentle and caring
for Marvel. He thoroughly loved the little girl. All the other
characters who worked the steamer each had their own little quirks, but
I really enjoyed Ezra Givens. He seemed gruff and crusty hard, but he
was really a softy on the inside. He’d been working the steamer with
the previous owner, and remained as part of the ‘inheritance.’ Jeanne’s
thankfulness to God for the small things in life as a chambermaid, and
the circumstances that followed her after receiving the steamer, were a
light to those around her, and was instrumental for steering her through
her daughter’s illness and the shocking news and trial upon returning
from her river trip. Her care for Roberty came from a heart willing to
help this homeless child. Having read other books by Mr. Morris, I knew
I’d find an excellent read with detailed descriptions of every episode.
He accomplished it once again. You will be amazed at how his writing
will stay with you, as he has a way of gleaning and sharing historical
information that sticks with you. There was one thing that somewhat
frustrated me. The title of the boat on the cover didn’t match the name
on the boat in the book. I kept waiting for it to be renamed. Not sure
if that was intentional or an oversight. Though Jeanne had been raised
on a steamer, I found it hard to imagine a single woman working on a
steamer with all men, except for her daughter, in that time era. The
River Rose is Book 2 in a three-book series. However, The River Rose is
a stand-alone novel with zero overlap in characters or plot lines
between the books. They are a series in the sense that all three books
take place on Mississippi River paddle wheelers during the 1850s. I
received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H
Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The
opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Posted August 3, 2012
I absolutely love to read. But one of my pet peeves is to start reading a book and not be able to get truly interested until about chapter 5 or 6 because of all the “introductory” material. Gilbert Morris has a history (no pun intended—he writes historical fiction) of writing books that grab you on page one. This book is no different. From the moment I picked it up, I was hooked. The characters were fascinating, the setting was charming, and the story line was well thought out and very intriguingly written.
The River Rose is book #2 of the Water Wheel Series. I was a bit concerned about reading it since I haven’t read book #1 as of yet. But even though it was part of a series, it was entirely enjoyable as a stand-alone novel. Usually when I read a novel that’s part of a series (not book #1), I can always tell when the author is “catching the reader up” with what they missed in book #1. In this case, the book was so seamlessly written that I didn’t get that sense at all.
This book is particularly written for the Christian Historical Fiction audience with a good amount of romance as well. However, I believe that it would appeal to the non-Christian audience as well. The Christian aspect of the book doesn’t feel like it’s crammed down your throat, but instead is very tastefully written. I would highly recommend this book to any of my friends. It’s a keeper!!
Posted July 23, 2012
Brilliantly written and masterfully crafted.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimers: I received a temporary electronic of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I did not expect this book to be as good as it was. From the second I started reading, the characters and the writing style swept me away.
The world that Morris created was one that I found fascinating. Jeanne has not been dealt an easy hand in life. She's a widow struggling to make ends meet while trying to provide for her eight year old daughter, and yet she is incredible. I loved learning about her. Like many of my favorite characters, I wanted to hit her upside the head a few times. But I thoroughly enjoyed watching her progression.
And then there was Clint Hardin. Clint was roguish enough for me to absolutely adore him, but refined enough that I didn't feel bad about liking him. He was so kind to Jeanne and her daughter and I loved him from the moment I met him.
Morris' world was full of intrigue, suspense, and romance on the backdrop of the Mississippi. I found myself thoroughly entranced by the tale and recommend this to all fans of historical romance with spunky characters.
In Summary: Brilliantly written and full of lovable characters set against a backdrop that lends to an incredible tale of romance, suspense, and intrigue. I definitely recommend this one. I for one will definitely be checking out Morris' other novels.
The Wrap-up: This book managed to be heart-warming, heart-breaking, hilarious, and poignant all at once. Any book that causes me to feel that wide range of emotions automatically makes its way onto my favorites list. Definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a touching romance with spunky characters who will have you rooting for them from the very beginning. In short, this was a great read that I recommend.
Posted June 28, 2012
This story begins in Memphis, December 18, 1854. It is about what happens when Jeanne Bettencourt and Clint Hardin each inherit half the riverboat Helena Rose.
Jeanne, a widow with a six-year old daughter, Marvel, was working as a chambermaid in a hotel, and just barely making enough money to get by. Her parents died in a tornado that destroyed their steamboat before Marvel was born and her soldier husband was assumed dead.
Clint was a machinist, singer, and boxer. He had seen Jeanne and Marvel when he sang for a town Christmas festival, but was surprised to see her again in the lawyer's office when they learned a distant relative of theirs had died and left them the cargo steamboat.
With Jeanne's experience as a pilot on her parent's boat and Clint's experience as a machinist, they go into business together delivering mail and carrying cargo. The business becomes successful quickly, partly because of help from a gentleman friend of Jeanne's, George Masters, a frequent guest at the hotel. The rest of the crew consists of Ezra who had worked on the boat for the previous owner, Vince, a friend of Clint's and Roberty, an orphan boy Jeanne rescued from a beating. A stipulation of the will was that they had to also take the dog, Leo, which they all loved.
There were many complications in the story which made reading even more interesting. At one point, when I thought the story had reached a satisfactory ending, another major problem popped up. It was difficult to put the book down because I wanted to find out what would happen next.
This is a Christian novel and there are references to God, the Bible, and Christian life. I appreciated the way this was handled and I liked that one of the main characters was further along in spiritual development than the other. This allowed the reader to observe the growth and, yes, there were a few tears along the way.
Overall, an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. The book was then donated to my church library.