The second review, from Robin Roste, includes a book giveaway contest through July 13, 2012. Be sure to visit Robin’s blog and enter for a chance to win a copy of The River Rose.
I had never read books by Gilbert Morris until this one. Now I look forward to read more. He had me hooked from the first page right through until the end.
Morris is an excellent writer who brings his readers back in time by painting such a clear picture they can see themselves in the story with the characters. Personally, I’ve never been on a paddlewheel steamers but I could clearly see what it looked like, inside and out. It brought tears to my eyes on several occasions.
The River Rose is the story of Jeanne Bettencourt, a fine Christian woman, young widow, and mother of a young daughter, Marvel. Jeanne works hard as a chambermaid in a hotel, barely getting by for the two of them. Even with some of the very generous tips she gets, life is not easy and there’s no room for splurging. Jeanne deprives herself of a lot so she can give more to her daughter.
She takes Marvel to the Christmas regale in the town square and they see George Masters, one of the generous guests from the hotel. Unlike most people who treat her like a plain chambermaid, Masters is a wealthy plantation owner and a fine gentleman who treats her with dignity. Hesitantly, she accepts his invitation to drive her back home from the regale, but only because of the pleading look in Marvel’s eyes. Soon, they begin to see each other. Does Jeanne see in him what he sees in her? Will her affection for him grow like his for her?
When Jeanne learns she’s inherited a paddlewheel steamer, she’s all too excited until she’s told she’s not the only heir. The other half of this boat belongs to Clint Hardin, a boxer and beautiful baritone. Together, they must decide whether to sell the boat and split what they get from it, or keep it and make a living arrangements.
Masters begins to court Jeanne while Clint begins to fall for her. But does she feel anything for either man? She and Clint live on the same boat, work together and see each other every day. She only sees George once a week, if that. Her heart’s desire is for her family and it doesn’t seem to have much room for love. Or does it? Despite their good and fun times, they go through a terrible time when Marvel becomes very ill.
‘A beautiful love story’
Morris wrote this in such a way that he gives you a history lesson; it is informative and educational. He also gives you a beautiful love story. But it is a story of hardships that makes the reader look at what they have today, and how hard yet simple people lived in the 1850s. It will make you laugh and move you to tears page after page.
This author is unpredictable. Just when you think ‘this or that’ will happen, a plot twist takes you in a totally different direction. Amazingly well written, I give it 5 stars and look forward to read the other novels in the Water Wheel series. I highly recommend The River Rose.
The River Rose is Book 2 in a three-book series (The River Queen is Book 1). However, The River Rose is a stand-alone novel – there is zero overlap in characters or plot lines between the books. They are a series in the sense that all three books take place on paddle wheelers during the 1850s.
By Robin Roste
A month or so ago I received a review copy of The River Rose and, to be honest, the main reason I decided to read it was because when researching author Gilbert Morris I found him so intriguing my curiosity got the better of me.
Here’s why: Morris is prolific, to say the least. After writing his first novel at age 50 he’s gone on to write an average of one book per month…for a running total of 288.
So I not only signed on to read the book, but to participate in a blog tour as well.
Will it be a cheesy historical romance?
The reason I hesitated to take this project on is because I don’t indulge in a lot of inspirational historical romances. Because the ones I have read are cheesy. And was nervous this book would be cheesy. And then I wouldn’t know what to write about.
However, after asking around to (what I assume is) the target audience of this genre I learned there are many people who enjoy not only the subject matter but this author in particular. So I opted to press on. Maybe they were on to something.
The synopsis, in a nutshell
We meet Jeanne in Memphis, at the turn of the 20th century. Over the past few years she’s had a rough go of things but a surprise inheritance—of half a steamboat—is about to change her life…in more ways than you expect!
That’s my blurb, just so you know. The book blurb goes on for a few more sentences (like 17) and tells you most of the plot. This makes the first 100 pages a bit redundant but once you actually get on the steamboat the story picks up.
Because the steamboat actually is the main setting, not Memphis. For me this is where the storyline became interesting as I’ve rarely read about steamboats and never considered how trading and export actually happened along the rivers before trains and planes and automobiles.
And guess what? It was a grand adventure! And it wasn’t too cheesy!
And after swearing to my husband this book would NOT cause me to cry I found myself not only getting teary, but laughing out loud at a couple surprising plot twists.
Although predictable in some aspects (it is a romance) there were really enough logical surprises to hold my interest. I’m glad I read this book.
If you’re a writer you’ll understand how impressive it is to write one book in one month, so one book PER month is really amazing. However, if you’re a writer you’ll also be able to tell it was quickly written. There are some problems with head hopping and distracting and redundant adjectives. My advice would be to employ a really thorough editor, but what do I know. I’ve never written a book.