Anna Larson's daughter, Lauren, is confused, brokenhearted, and misguided. It's the turbulent 1960s and, feeling alienated from her mother, Lauren chooses to stay with her paternal grandmother. However, repelled by the woman's manipulative and spiteful ways, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn at Shining Waters.
There, Lauren begins to appreciate the person her mother is becomingand she loves the river. However, romantic interests throw a wrench into the works and Lauren, jealous and angry, returns to her grandmother yet again.
But as time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisisone that puts the entire family at risk.
About the Author
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books, including Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon, Limelight, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, Melody is also the author of Homeward, which won a Rita Award. Melody and her husband live in central Oregon.
Read an Excerpt
The Inn at Shining Waters Series
By Melody Carlson
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2012 Melody Carlson
All rights reserved.
Anna's dugout canoe sliced a quiet path through the glasslike surface of the river. Today the Siuslaw was the color of topaz, with reflections of trees along its edges. Interspersed between spruce and firs, maple trees shone in shades of gold and rust and red. Anna turned the canoe around, paddling back to the inn where she would start breakfast, when the silvery form of a good-sized fish shot out of the water. Soaring nearly a foot into the morning air, it arched then gracefully came down with a quiet splash. The third one she'd seen this morning.
Spawning season. The salmon were beginning their annual migration upriver, and in a day or two, the whole river would be hopping with them, with fishermen not far behind. Grandma Pearl used to say that the salmon were practicing their jumping skills, getting strong enough to make it up mountain streams and small waterfalls in order to lay their eggs in the same spots their ancestors had been procreating their young for hundreds of years.
October was Anna's favorite month on the river. With mild weather, good fishing, harvest moons, and gorgeous sunsets, who could complain? And this year—her first October back on the Siuslaw in twenty years—she was sharing this special month with Clark! Only two weeks since returning from their honeymoon, Anna and Clark had already fallen into a comfortable pattern. It was amazing how compatible they were. Both enjoyed the quietness of the morning, a good cup of coffee, and the great outdoors.
Clark was nearly finished with the first cabin, with a good start on the next one. Meanwhile Anna enjoyed puttering around, putting up produce from her garden, catching up with neighbors, making plans for the inn, and being a wife again. She was just entering the house when she heard the phone ringing. Surprised that anyone would call this early in the morning, she hurried to answer it. Perhaps it was a guest wanting to book a room. So far the reservations had been few, but both she and Clark agreed that was a blessing in disguise since it allowed them more time to enjoy being newlyweds.
"Mom?" It was Lauren, and she sounded upset.
"Yes, dear, it's me. How are you?"
"Not good, Mom. Not good at all."
"Oh, dear, are you sick?" Anna had heard there was a bad strain of influenza going around in the cities. Lauren had been on campus less than a month. Surely she wasn't sick.
"I don't know ... maybe."
A wave of worry washed over Anna. She remembered the time when Lauren had been seriously ill with scarlet fever as a young child. "Tell me what's wrong, Lauren. What are your symptoms?"
"I've been throwing up and I just feel awful."
"Oh, dear, that sounds like influenza. Do other students have it too?"
"I don't know."
"Maybe you should go to the doctor."
"I don't know who to go to here."
"What about your sorority mother? Can she help you?"
"Mrs. Ellis is just horrible, Mom. She's a real witch. Everyone hates her."
Anna controlled herself from correcting her daughter's judgment. "Well, is there a clinic on campus you can go to?"
"I don't know, Mom." Now Lauren was starting to cry.
"I'll talk to Clark," Anna said quickly. "Maybe he can bring me up there and we'll figure out what's going on with you."
"Okay...." Lauren's voice sounded weak now.
"You'll be all right until I get there, won't you?"
"Yeah, I'm going back to bed."
"Good. Stay warm. And I'll call your sorority and leave a message about when we'll arrive." As soon as she hung up, Anna ran outside to where Clark was just coming up the stairs to the house.
"Hello, darling—" He stopped, studying her closely. "What's wrong?"
She quickly explained and Clark, without questioning her, said he'd be ready to go as soon as they had a quick breakfast. Anna hurried to cook eggs and toast, explaining to Clark about the time Lauren had been sick with scarlet fever. "She was so little and so ill." Anna set his plate in front of him. "Her fever was so high, I really thought we were going to lose her." She sighed as she went for her own plate. "Even after she recovered there was some concern about heart problems. Although she's been fairly healthy since then. Until now that is."
"Don't worry, honey." He patted her hand. "We'll be there by afternoon and we'll stay as long as you like."
"Or maybe we can bring her home with us."
"Sure. If you think she'll be comfortable in the pickup." He frowned. "Times like this make me wish I had a car instead."
Now Anna thought hard. "I wonder if Dorothy might be able to help. She lives near the college. If she could bring Lauren here in her car ..." Already Anna was heading for the phone.
"If Dorothy can bring her, Lauren could be here by this afternoon," Clark pointed out. "Then you could nurse her back to health."
"Yes," Anna said eagerly. She was already dialing the operator. Before long, Dorothy was on the other end and Anna quickly explained the dilemma. "I hate to bother you, but—"
"It's no bother," Dorothy assured her.
"But I hadn't considered—what if Lauren has something contagious?"
Dorothy laughed. "Don't you worry. I'm strong as a horse. My girls come home sick with some new illness every year and I never seem to catch a thing."
"Okay ... if you're positive."
"You just give me the details of where Lauren is and I'll head over there straight away. I'll pack blankets and pillows and maybe a thermos of tea. And my girls are in school. Even if they get home before I do, they're capable of being by themselves for a few hours. Ralph gets home by six. Really, I'd enjoy the drive, Anna. Don't give it another thought. I might even stay into the weekend, if you have the room."
"Of course we have room. And you know you're always welcome here." Anna told her Lauren's address and they estimated the time she'd arrive in town. "I'll take the boat and meet you at the grocery store," Anna promised. "I need to get some things anyway."
Next Anna called Lauren's sorority and explained to Mrs. Ellis that Lauren was ill and that her friend Dorothy would arrive there soon to pick her up.
"She's sick?" Mrs. Ellis sounded surprised, and a bit grumpy.
"Yes. I think it may be influenza. She's been vomiting."
"This is the first I've heard of it."
"Yes, well, it may have just come on this morning. She can stay with us through the weekend and we'll see how it goes. Perhaps she'll be well enough to return to classes next week. But if she's contagious, it might be best if she's not there."
"Yes, that sounds wise. I'll let Lauren know your friend is coming."
Anna hung up the phone and returned to the table where Clark was filling her coffee cup. "Sounds like you've got it all worked out."
"Yes." She sighed and sat down. "Thank goodness for Dorothy."
"I wouldn't mind driving up there, but for Lauren's sake, I'm glad Dorothy can transport her." He patted Anna's hand. "Now, try not to worry."
"Yes ... you're right. Worrying doesn't help anything."
"But this does make me wonder if I should consider getting us a car."
"The road is so terrible, Clark."
He nodded. "We could keep the car parked in town. That way, if there was an emergency, we'd zip down in the boat and have a car to use."
"Oh, I don't think we really need a car."
"But what about when you have guests at the inn? Perhaps you'll want a car if you need to pick them up or take them somewhere, Anna. You never know."
Anna was embarrassed now. "I don't even know how to drive, Clark."
He chuckled. "Well, I've seen you handle a boat. I'm sure you'd be just fine behind the wheel of a car too."
She smiled. "It might be nice to know how to drive."
"Then we will see that you do."
"I just hope I don't put you through too much stress. I remember how Eunice complained when Lauren was learning to drive."
Now he told her about teaching Marshall to drive a couple of years ago. "And that boy had a lead foot and an attitude to go with it. So I'm sure teaching you will be a piece of cake."
After the breakfast things were cleaned up, Anna went to work getting a room ready for Lauren. Although the weather had been temperate, she decided to put a heating pad in the bed, as well as an extra quilt. She also put a water pitcher and glass on the bedside table, along with a small vase of garden flowers. Then she made a grocery list and called in her order, saying she would pick it up around two.
To keep herself from worrying about Lauren, she decided to make some of Lauren's favorite childhood foods, including baked custard and snickerdoodle cookies. Staying busy was good medicine for her. Instead of fretting, she began to look forward to this unexpected visit. Focusing more on the time they'd get to spend together, she put her worries about Lauren's illness behind her. It was wonderful that Lauren had called her—and not her paternal grandmother, Eunice. That alone gave Anna great hope that her relationship with Lauren was already much improved. What Anna's former-mother-in-law would have to say when she found out (and, knowing Eunice, she would find out) was beyond Anna's control.
As Anna removed the last batch of cookies from the oven, she mentally compared her new mother-in-law—Clark's mother, Hazel—to Eunice. Could two women be more different? Anna never met Adam's mother until after they had married—against his mother's will. But she had met Hazel even before meeting Clark. Perhaps that was a better way to plan a successful marriage—meet the mother-in-law first.
"Hello, darling!" Clark came up from behind her, slipping his arms around her waist and hugging her. "Something smells good in here."
"I'm keeping myself distracted by cooking." She turned around, kissed him, then handed him a warm cookie.
"Am I a lucky man or am I a lucky man?" He grinned and took a bite. "Yummy."
"They're Lauren's favorites. I hope she'll feel up to having one."
"Poor girl. I just hope their trip is going smoothly."
"I hope Dorothy thought to bring a bucket." Anna made a face. "In case Lauren gets sick, you know."
He made a face. "Oh, I didn't even think of that. Anyway, if you like, I can pick up the ladies in town. I put the full cover on the boat so it'll be warmer for the patient."
"I planned to go myself," Anna told him. "I've got groceries to pick up."
"You want a hand?"
She smiled. "I'd love it."
"We could put a cot in the boat if you think Lauren will need to lie down."
Anna nodded. "That's a good idea. And I'll get some blankets and things. And I already called Dr. Robertson. I explained that I wasn't sure what was wrong and he actually offered to come out here and look at her."
"A doctor who still makes house calls?"
She smiled. "He said he saw the article in the newspaper about our wedding. And he was so impressed with what he read about the inn that he's been wanting to come out and see it anyway."
"Ah, so an inn comes in handy for lots of things."
Anna felt worried again. "I just hope she's okay, Clark."
He hugged her again. "Even if she's really sick, she will have to get well quickly with you caring for her, Anna. Like Mom says, you have a gift when it comes to healing."
Anna wasn't too sure, but she didn't want to argue. She hoped Hazel and Clark were right. After returning to the old ways, Anna's grandmother had been a gifted healer. Anna remembered several times when traditional medicine had failed her family or their friends on the river. Without fanfare, Anna's grandmother would step forward, often when Anna's mother wasn't looking, and she would quietly recommend herbs and poultices and other treatments, and before long, the ailing person would recover. Anna wished she knew more about those ancient remedies, but mostly she was thankful for the quiet healing elements of the peaceful river itself. That alone had brought health and wholeness to her life. Maybe it would work its magic on Lauren as well.
Excerpted from River's Call by Melody Carlson. Copyright © 2012 Melody Carlson. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An exception story that offers peace, healing and forgiveness! The Shining Waters Inn offers its guests a place to relax, and find peace and healing beside the Siuslaw River. Now that it's gaining more popularity, Anna Larson is staying busier than ever before. Now that she and Clark are working full-time at expanding the Inn's lodging by building more cabins, she isn't prepared for the news that arrives during one late phone call from her daughter Lauren. She is sick and physically exhausted and needs her mom. When Anna sends for her daughter and offers her time to be cared for at the Inn, Lauren gratefully accepts. However what was thought to be a severe case of the flu, turns out to be worse than anyone expected. Lauren's pregnant and the father, Donald Thomas has no idea. Now all Lauren can think of is how her college life is going to be ruined by her baby and considers abortion. Anna cringes at the thought but realizes she can only support her daughter, she can't make her do anything even if that goes against anything she believes. Worse yet, when Donald does find out, he is already seeing another girl and doesn't know what to do. When Lauren's grandmother, Eunice finds out however, she figures she can manipulate everything so Lauren gets her way, marriage and happily ever after. But life doesn't always offer a happily ever after ending as soon everyone will find out as the river calls all of them back. Melody Carlson once again has created a beautiful story of what forgiveness means through her second novel in the Inn at the Shining Waters series, River's Call. Even though it can be read alone, you will want to understand the story about Anna and Eunice which is revealed in more detail in the first book, River's Song. I received this book compliments of Glass Roads Public Relations for my honest review and wish there was really a Shining Waters Inn because this story is amazing. The healing and peace that just being at the Inn offers is such a wonderful way to draw the reader into the story of Lauren and the difficult relationship between her and Anna. I love the Native American references that appear all throughout the book as Anna's heritage is explored more in this book. I would easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to the next one, River's End due out soon!
Ready for another amazing book by Melody Carlson? One might think that a daughter coming home would be a glad event; however, when it becomes clear that Lauren is pregnant, everything must be reevaluated. Lauren does not even want the child, horrifying her mother further, but abortions were not legal around this time period regardless. When Lauren is soon forced into a marriage, everything goes downhill for her character from there. The marriage is clearly not likely to work from the beginning, but that does not stop several interfering family members. Lauren's sham of a marriage lasts through her baby's childhood...it is only then that Lauren's mother sees that perhaps they did not do the right thing. Lauren's character is easy to like. Sometimes the reader will want to shake her, other times the reader will want to hug her. She is certainly a character deserving of the readers' sympathy. She is, of course, not blameless in this mess, but what she gets is far worse than the "crime." The other characters will affect the reader in a variety of ways, some good...some bad. The author does a great job of connecting the reader to Lauren. The plot is not necessarily new, but the author makes it feel like a new situation with character he/she should care about involved. This book is recommended to adult readers.
Anna is not just rebuilding her life with her new husband, Clark, they are restoring her old family store, that was handed down to the women of the family. It would no longer be a store they were turning it into an Inn, The Inn at Shining Waters. It is 1960 and there are many changes going on in this country and in Anna's life. For instance her daughter Lauren is staying with her parental grandmother, Eunice, after leaving college. As much as Anna dislikes this she tries not to be controlling of her daughter. As time goes by Lauren becomes very rebellious. Anna remembers when she felt like she had nothing in common with her own mother, Though she got alone great with her Native American Indian grandmother, Pearl. But luckily she has her husband to support her in any situation that arises, be it Lauren or Eunice. If only she could get Lauren to stay at the Inn and maybe learn some coping skills. Lauren is beginning to expects everything to be handed to her on a silver platter. Lauren takes no responsibilities for her own mess, expecting her Grandma Eunice's house maid to clean up after her. Anna can't tell who is the worst manipulator Lauren or Eunice. At times Lauren seems content when she is at the Inn but this does not last long. In no time at all she gets bored and takes off to Grandma's again. Anna kept quoting an old saying, "You have to let them paddle their own canoe." I can see that we can't paddle the boat for them forever. This book touched me in a lot of ways since I raised several daughters myself. Each one totally different from their sisters. But to say the least it was challenging and they did know how to manipulate. They are grown women now and paddle their own canoes. Thank goodness! There is so much more I would like to say about this book but I am afraid of saying too much and spoiling the book for you. You really should read this series. I highly recommend this book. I gladly rated this book a 5 out of 5. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Glass Road PR/Melody Carlson/Abingdon Press for review. I was in no was compensated for this review it is my own opinion.
Book One, River's Song, in Melody Carlson’s Inn at the Shining Waters series ended as Anna juggled not only a new business as innkeeper, but a new marriage. The only unsettled area of her life was her relationship with teenager daughter Lauren. Book two, River’s Call starts months later as Anna settles into her life on the river and Lauren begins her first semester at college. Battling an unknown, recurring illness, Lauren reaches out to her mother and comes to the inn for a few days R&R. It will surprise no reader that Lauren is not really sick, but is pregnant. Anna’s domineering, former-mother-in-law will re-enter the story as she swoops into “solve” the problem. The three women (and soon to be four) representing different beliefs and different generations will struggle across the 1960s and the 1970s. The title River’s Call hints at the peace that life on the river can provide, and for the most part Anna is able to achieve that. She re-embraces her Native American heritage and grows in her Christian faith. Her marriage is solid and loving, but you will need to read the novel to see how she copes with her adult daughter and new granddaughter. The book covers over fifteen years and yet it is not a lengthy novel, therefore there were gaps in time within the story that I felt would be unrealistic for a family living just a few hours apart. I guess that is part of fiction, especially series fiction, that I find lacking. I did feel that Lauren’s grandmother (Anna’s ex-mother-in-law) was the most interesting character within this novel, and I accepted her changes as the story progressed. I would recommend reading both books in close succession since the stories are so closely tied and the books are not long. I received an advanced reader’s copy of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Like almost all the other books that I read, I came across this one while I was putting books away at work. I wasn¿t familiar with Ms. Carlson¿s work, but the cover looked interesting and I¿m a fan of other books by her publisher ¿ Abigdon Press.I was a bit worried that I might be missing something because this is the second book and I hadn¿t read the first. I¿m pleased to say that the only thing that I¿m missed was having read a good book!These are the stories of a family of very strong women who have faced a variety of challenges over time. Anna is our central character and I believe that the first book must be about her relationship with her mother (a Siuslaw Indian struggling with her heritage and identity). In The River¿s Call Anna¿s rather immature young daughter finds herself pregnant and unmarried. Through the manipulation of her overbearing Grandmother (Eunice, Anna¿s ex-mother in-law) she and the baby¿s father are married ¿ for all the wrong reasons. I¿m not sure how Anna raised such a brat, but Lauren really isn¿t anything like her mother! Much of the book centers on the struggles they all face while raising the youngest woman in the family, Sarah. There is much change and growth throughout the story, and I got a kick out of many of the references to the styles of the 60¿s and 70¿s. Remember avocado appliances??I love that the river itself is a character in this book. I also enjoyed the references to the old healing ways and how the Inn became what we today would consider a retreat. I found this to be an easy going book that depends on story telling and interesting characters instead of the sex and violence we see so often in today¿s popular fiction. And, there are several library patrons that I know will enjoy this series. I¿m looking forward to book 3, River¿s End.
This is actually the second book in a trilogy. I read this book without having read the first. Anna Larson has made her home on the river and with the help of her husband has started a B&B type inn. The book takes place over a long time period beginning when her daughter Lauren drops out of college to marry the father of her child. Lauren and Anna have a difficult relationship and Anna rarely gets to see her granddaughter.I did enjoy reading this book; however I felt that at times it skipped around too much. The author would jump ahead years into the future and then give detailed descriptions of certain slices of time. I found this a bit disjointed and would have preferred a smoother time line. I did feel that I knew enough about the characters without reading the first book and felt that it was a complete story without reading the rest of the trilogy. Overall, not a bad read.
The Shining Waters Inn offers its guests a place to relax, and find peace and healing beside the Siuslaw River. Now that it's gaining more popularity, Anna Larson is staying busier than ever before. Now that she and Clark are working full-time at expanding the Inn's lodging by building more cabins, she isn't prepared for the news that arrives during one late phone call from her daughter Lauren. She is sick and physically exhausted and needs her mom. When Anna sends for her daughter and offers her time to be cared for at the Inn, Lauren gratefully accepts.However what was thought to be a severe case of the flu, turns out to be worse than anyone expected. Lauren's pregnant and the father, Donald Thomas has no idea. Now all Lauren can think of is how her college life is going to be ruined by her baby and considers abortion. Anna cringes at the thought but realizes she can only support her daughter, she can't make her do anything even if that goes against anything she believes.Worse yet, when Donald does find out, he is already seeing another girl and doesn't know what to do. When Lauren's grandmother, Eunice finds out however, she figures she can manipulate everything so Lauren gets her way, marriage and happily ever after. But life doesn't always offer a happily ever after ending as soon everyone will find out as the river calls all of them back.Melody Carlson once again has created a beautiful story of what forgiveness means through her second novel in the Inn at the Shining Waters series, River's Call. Even though it can be read alone, you will want to understand the story about Anna and Eunice which is revealed in more detail in the first book, River's Song. I received this book compliments of Glass Roads Public Relations for my honest review and wish there was really a Shining Waters Inn because this story is amazing. The healing and peace that just being at the Inn offers is such a wonderful way to draw the reader into the story of Lauren and the difficult relationship between her and Anna. I love the Native American references that appear all throughout the book as Anna's heritage is explored more in this book. I would easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to the next one, River's End due out soon!
Thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to reading more in the series. It covers most of the issues a lot of families deal with, especially those who are Native Americans, second generation Americans and those who live in very traditional families/religions. It's often not until a person has separated him or herself from their origins to start a life in more modern settings and lifestlye that they come to appreciate and cherish their roots, traditions and values. A great read!!
I actually liked this book better than the first book in the series, River's Song. There is something very appealing about these books to me. They are good fiction with a Christian undercurrent. The storylines are interesting and keep me wanting more while representing good values and ideals such as forgiveness, prayer, faith, love, acceptance, strength in adversity, etc. There was a preview from part of the last chapter of the final book called River's End and now I can't wait to read it and finish the trilogy.
Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!
A great series you will love it
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