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River to Redemption

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Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now ninete Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.


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Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now ninete Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

30 review for River to Redemption

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    One of my favorite books I've read this year. I love a book that challenges me. How did this one challenge me? It had information about the cholera epidemic of 1833 which challenged me to look up more information about it. I love when a book does this. The author has evidently done her research on the historically rich book. Amazingly this book is based on true facts. Louis, the slave was an amazing person. Totally selfless! Very impressed by this book. Pub Date 03 Jul 2018 I was given a complime One of my favorite books I've read this year. I love a book that challenges me. How did this one challenge me? It had information about the cholera epidemic of 1833 which challenged me to look up more information about it. I love when a book does this. The author has evidently done her research on the historically rich book. Amazingly this book is based on true facts. Louis, the slave was an amazing person. Totally selfless! Very impressed by this book. Pub Date 03 Jul 2018 I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

    4.5 stars What a beautiful book this was. The author portrays the time period and hardships they went through perfectly. I was immediately drawn into this story and found myself picking it up every chance I got. The book starts out with Adria ( one of the main characters ) as just a little girl. There are 7 chapters during that time before switching to the time the book is focused on. Honestly, I loved that it spent so much time in the past. So often books will just quickly tell you a little bit 4.5 stars What a beautiful book this was. The author portrays the time period and hardships they went through perfectly. I was immediately drawn into this story and found myself picking it up every chance I got. The book starts out with Adria ( one of the main characters ) as just a little girl. There are 7 chapters during that time before switching to the time the book is focused on. Honestly, I loved that it spent so much time in the past. So often books will just quickly tell you a little bit about what’s happened and then move things forward. This book really took the time to show you the hardships these characters went through, and that immediately pulled me in. These characters went through so much but they also gained a lot. Once the story moved forward 12 years I found myself still loving it the same. No, there wasn’t a ton of things happening left and right. The story really just focused on life and the little things and that made it beautiful. Adria is a dreamer. She dreams of bigger things. Of finding someone you love to marry. Not just because it’s be convenient. Her and Ruth love to read, while Ruth also enjoyed poetry. This book wasn’t full of action but it was still a delight to read. And then there’s also the slaves. The book showed how selfless these people are and how they really are just grateful just to be alive. I immediately loved Louis and Matilda in seeing how they always put others in front of themselves. Louis is definitely one of the parts that made this book special. He was such a perfect character always thinking of others before himself. Towards the end of the book things picked up and everything really came together. While I didn’t mind the simpleness of this book, I did enjoy all that started happening towards the end. Decisions were made, people left, and things changed. Life went on and everything perfectly fell into place at the end. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and I definitely recommend it. It’s a beautiful story about heartbreak, freedom, and new beginnings. “I received a free copy of this book in exchange of my honest review. All thoughts are my own and I wasn’t required to write a positive review”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen.

    . . BEAUTIFUL!!!! Sometimes I struggle to write that Five Star Review because, honestly, all I really want to do is tell everyone to go out and buy a copy of the book. And then give it a hug. This book is such a huggable book. A super fantastic huggable book! River to Redemption is inspiring, uplifting, and engaging. It’s heartbreaking as well as heartwarming. It’s absolutely a tearjerker. The characters are beautifully written and all had strong faith even in times of hardship. Louis especially beli . . BEAUTIFUL!!!! Sometimes I struggle to write that Five Star Review because, honestly, all I really want to do is tell everyone to go out and buy a copy of the book. And then give it a hug. This book is such a huggable book. A super fantastic huggable book! River to Redemption is inspiring, uplifting, and engaging. It’s heartbreaking as well as heartwarming. It’s absolutely a tearjerker. The characters are beautifully written and all had strong faith even in times of hardship. Louis especially believed in the power of prayer. Louis had a remarkably strong voice in all of his scenes. I could hear him as I read his words. I loved the journeys both Adria and Ruth had over the course of the story and felt things wrapped up wonderfully for each of them. The story grew at a nice, steady pace. It was a gripping page turner in the best possible way. I couldn’t put it down. I just loved this book! This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ann H. Gabhart. It definitely won’t be my last! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell as part of the Revell Reads Blog Tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Subscribe so you don't miss new reviews as they go live! https://jengalaxy4.wordpress.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    {3.5 stars} *I received this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own* I was pulled in by the first page, drawn into the sorrow of the losses during a Cholera outbreak, and taken through the journey of Adria and Ruth. It was a slower read, and while parts gripped me, I was able to set aside the book easily. I enjoyed the progression of the story halfway through...the relationship of Ruth and Adria was well done and I absol {3.5 stars} *I received this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own* I was pulled in by the first page, drawn into the sorrow of the losses during a Cholera outbreak, and taken through the journey of Adria and Ruth. It was a slower read, and while parts gripped me, I was able to set aside the book easily. I enjoyed the progression of the story halfway through...the relationship of Ruth and Adria was well done and I absolutely loved the preacher :) I could really understand his struggle with praying with belief, and trusting that the Lord knows best. Then, something went a little stale for me. It mainly had to do with Adria's scenes...I never could fully sympathize with her interests. Once she goes to a tavern to raise money for something, and her reasoning for doing it is because the people there are people just like people who go to church. Okay, I can understand that, but she seemed to totally shrug off her testimony as a Christian. There were a couple other things like the phrase "Listen to your heart" Ruth used when Adria didn't know what to do, that frustrated me. I'm getting sick of that phrase, and the funny thing was that it wasn't even consistent in this book. Technically, if the character were to listen to their heart there was no need for them to pray (which, is totally wrong)! And then the last 1/4 of the book just kind of all seemed a haste end to something amazing, but didn't leave me with that full effect at all. Spiritual content was spot on, and I loved all the Bible conversations Will and Ruth shared. Very in-depth. Also, the romance on Ruth's side of things was so sweet :) Adria's romances were tolerable (two guys vying for one girl really need to get old sometime), but I did like how things were concluded with her. Overall, there were a couple kisses, not detailed at all. Louis saved the story for me. Every time he spoke, he was full of wisdom and brought a smile to my face. Maybe it was the absent of him toward the end that brought the extra disappointment. Overall, I still found this book enjoyable, and I would definitely recommend to historical readers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sunnie

    I have truly enjoyed this author's writings. This one grabs you from the first and keeps holding your attention to the very end. What a moving story about a very sweet little girl. Her story is remarkable. It's very touching. You will love how the historical events give you an understanding of the life of many people of that time period. Each time period has it's own hardships and Cholera definitely was a frightening disease. The book is so good you won't be able to put it down. I highly recommen I have truly enjoyed this author's writings. This one grabs you from the first and keeps holding your attention to the very end. What a moving story about a very sweet little girl. Her story is remarkable. It's very touching. You will love how the historical events give you an understanding of the life of many people of that time period. Each time period has it's own hardships and Cholera definitely was a frightening disease. The book is so good you won't be able to put it down. I highly recommend this! I received an ebook copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Ken Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. This book contained an interesting story, but I felt the pace in the first half of the book was slow. I loved the characters, particularly, Louis. He was a gentle giant with a warm heart, a tender spirit, and a deep faith. Adria was an independent thinker; and, though surrounded by and courted by slave owners, she knew deep in heart that owning another human being and treating them like a commodity was wrong. She kept her thoughts to herself all while she was penning anonymous articles for northern newspapers in support of abolition. The second half of the plot picked up with more action both in Adria's love life and her more overt action in helping the slaves. Also Ruth, her adoptive mother, begins to realize it's time to stop mourning the loss of her husband and child and move on with life as well. Good secondary characters from Carlton the controlling boyfriend to derring-do Logan the drover who had his eyes on Adria. Pastor Robinson and his daughter Willeena played their part in everyone finding a new direction for their lives as well. Powerful, well written story. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    River to Redemption is a great book! I really enjoy books by Ann Gabhart and this book was just as fantastic as her other books. This book does not disappoint, especially with the history and time period in which this book was written for. The characters are fantastic and the faith they displayed is amazing! Even when things were looking dim, they still continued to pray, believe and God still saw them through. This book is a great romance, adventure and make sure the tissues are close by.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    From the moment I began, to the very last page the author drew me in with this story. I was fully immersed and living in the period, and life was not easy, and then I read that although fiction, this story is based on fact and Louis was a real person. The author gives a great look at life in the South during the period slavery in this country. Also, how a slave saves lives and selflessly takes care of the dead, doing what he feels God wants him to do. Loved how the story circles around and with g From the moment I began, to the very last page the author drew me in with this story. I was fully immersed and living in the period, and life was not easy, and then I read that although fiction, this story is based on fact and Louis was a real person. The author gives a great look at life in the South during the period slavery in this country. Also, how a slave saves lives and selflessly takes care of the dead, doing what he feels God wants him to do. Loved how the story circles around and with great loss comes gain, and more that could be imagined. The only problem I had was that the book ended and I really wanted to continue. A really awesome read! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I can always count on an Ann Gabhart book to be good. And River to Redemption lived up to my expectations and more. What surprised me most about this book was the comments at the end. It was based on a true story and so it makes the story all the more poignant. Set during the cholera epidemic of 1833, the story centers around Louis, a slave, who instead of sprinting for freedom when his owners left town to escape the epidemic, stayed behind to care for the sick and bury the dead. During this peri I can always count on an Ann Gabhart book to be good. And River to Redemption lived up to my expectations and more. What surprised me most about this book was the comments at the end. It was based on a true story and so it makes the story all the more poignant. Set during the cholera epidemic of 1833, the story centers around Louis, a slave, who instead of sprinting for freedom when his owners left town to escape the epidemic, stayed behind to care for the sick and bury the dead. During this period he saves a little girl named Adria whose entire family dies during the epidemic. She clings to Louis and grows up to love him as family. But Louis knows that he can't bring up a little white girl, so he prays. And Louis is big on prayer and believing that God will answer. When Louis meets Ruth Harmon, a young widow whose husband also perished during the epidemic, he proposes she take care of Adria and that is exactly what she does. As is the case with all of Ms. Gabhart's books, she draws her readers in with well-developed characters and a story that is inspirational. Yes, there is romance and danger and a valuable lesson on prayer. I stayed up late reading this one and you will too!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A compelling story based on a bit of real history, set in antebellum Kentucky! An unlikely group of people are brought together because of a tragic event: the cholera epidemic of 1833. A young orphaned girl finds shelter and friendship with the help of slaves who come to her aid. Skipping ahead to 1845, the story picks up bringing to life a tale of courage and faith. "One plus the Lord can do mighty things now and again." This steady paced story drew me in as Adria had many difficult decisions to A compelling story based on a bit of real history, set in antebellum Kentucky! An unlikely group of people are brought together because of a tragic event: the cholera epidemic of 1833. A young orphaned girl finds shelter and friendship with the help of slaves who come to her aid. Skipping ahead to 1845, the story picks up bringing to life a tale of courage and faith. "One plus the Lord can do mighty things now and again." This steady paced story drew me in as Adria had many difficult decisions to make, and her convictions to help Louis moved her into action. I liked Ruth and how her gentle yet firm guidance with growing faith influenced Adria. The additional character of Will, the struggling pastor, added a lot to the story, and brought up real questions of faith, like why would a good God allow terrible things to happen. The importance of prayer, especially "praying with believing" was an uplifting theme. It made me examine my own lack of faith at times in view of bleak circumstances, and served as a pertinent reminder that God can indeed work together all things for good, for those who love Him, as it says in Romans 8:28. Recommend for readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction, with a little tender romance. 4.5 stars (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    April

    River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart is a poignant and riveting story set in 1834 Kentucky during a time of the devastating cholera epidemic. Courage, betrayal, and honor with have readers turning pages as they follow Adria Starr and Louis, a slave who chose to save lives instead of gaining his freedom. Ms. Gabhart intertwines a true life story with fiction. What a powerful and compelling story of faith, hope and determination. "I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are m River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart is a poignant and riveting story set in 1834 Kentucky during a time of the devastating cholera epidemic. Courage, betrayal, and honor with have readers turning pages as they follow Adria Starr and Louis, a slave who chose to save lives instead of gaining his freedom. Ms. Gabhart intertwines a true life story with fiction. What a powerful and compelling story of faith, hope and determination. "I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kee Hoo

    When she was seven, Adria Starr's whole world fell apart. Her mama, daddy, and little brother all fell victim to a cholera epidemic that struck their small Kentucky town. A local man (who fled the town at the first whisper of disease), owned a slave named Louis who stayed & did what he could for the survivors and buried all 53 of the dead. Louis knew that he could not be responsible for Missy Adria, so he takes her to the school teacher's residence, the teacher died, but his wife Ruth Harmon When she was seven, Adria Starr's whole world fell apart. Her mama, daddy, and little brother all fell victim to a cholera epidemic that struck their small Kentucky town. A local man (who fled the town at the first whisper of disease), owned a slave named Louis who stayed & did what he could for the survivors and buried all 53 of the dead. Louis knew that he could not be responsible for Missy Adria, so he takes her to the school teacher's residence, the teacher died, but his wife Ruth Harmon was alive, though grieving the loss of her beloved husband. Ruth agreed to care for Adria, with Louis checking in regularly and doing odd jobs for the two ladies. When Louis' owner abruptly dies, his sons decide to sell all of their fathers' belongings, including his slaves. Adria does not believe in slavery and makes it her mission to convince the town to purchase Louis and give him the freedom that he deserves, that all mankind deserves. A thought provoking book, well worth many readings. I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing, with no obligation for a review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    I love it when an author reads a historical fact and decides to create a story around it. This is what Ann H. Gabhart has done in River to Redemption. From the first page I was caught up in the lives of Adria, Louis, Matilda and Ruth in my home state of Kentucky. It is 1833 when the cholera epidemic starts to claim lives in Springfield, Kentucky and families are changed forever. Seven year old Adria Starr loses her mother, father and baby brother to this dreaded disease and in a matter of days s I love it when an author reads a historical fact and decides to create a story around it. This is what Ann H. Gabhart has done in River to Redemption. From the first page I was caught up in the lives of Adria, Louis, Matilda and Ruth in my home state of Kentucky. It is 1833 when the cholera epidemic starts to claim lives in Springfield, Kentucky and families are changed forever. Seven year old Adria Starr loses her mother, father and baby brother to this dreaded disease and in a matter of days she becomes an orphan. The scene when a "black giant" finds her with her dead mother and baby brother will forever remain in my mind. Her fear of this man and her reluctance to leave her mommy and baby Eddie change when he carries her from her house and "away from the bad air" and takes her to his friend Matilda Sims. It is here that Adria finds love and healing and she would have been content to stay with Matilda and Louis forever but they are both black and Louis knows Springfield society will never accept this. He asks the widow of the recently deceased school teacher if she will give Adria a home and we see a family being born. The characters in this story are very well developed. Adria is like most children and she sees people with her heart and not her eyes. The color of Matilda and Louis's skin has no affect on her love for them. Matilda wants Louis to cross the Ohio River and seek freedom but he feels obligated to remain with his master. Louis is a wise man who often quotes the Bible and he feels that God had a reason to keep him from being one of the few who didn't develop cholera. Kind, caring and faithful, Louis is based on a real person and he reminds me of some older black gentlemen that I knew in my childhood. At first the character Ruth Harmon feels inferior to care for Adria but we see a bond develop and grow between them. Sometimes we all just to need to trust God and let Him do the rest! River to Redemption spans the years between 1833 and 1845 and readers see how Kentucky was affected by the cholera epidemic that ravaged the area in 1833. A few miles from my own home there is a cemetery where the majority of the graves were for cholera victims. This story allows us to also witness slavery and the beginning of abolition. We watch Adria as she takes up Matilda's efforts in encouraging Louis to seek freedom and the beginning of her secretive support of the abolitionist movement. We rejoice in the strong family unit that was the result of Louis's rescue of seven year old Adria Starr and his wise decision to seek Ruth Harmon's help. And when we read the Author's Note we can feel pride in the citizens of Springfield, Kentucky and their efforts to purchase the real Louis's freedom from slavery. This book has tragedy and loss but it is also filled with love, faith, hope and the reminder that families are not always created by birth. I appreciate the many references to Bible scripture throughout the book and I especially love that "pray believing" is the cental thought woven throughout this story Ann H. Gabhart is a Kentucky author and she has written an outstanding book about our state. I recommend River to Redemption for anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction and I wish that I could give it more than the five stars available! I received a complimentary copy of this book but I wasn't obligated to post a review. All opinions are my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I am sorry to say this is the first book I have read by Ann H. Gabhart. I can promise you this will not be my last. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. At he end of this novel, I was surprised and blessed to learn that this was about a true event. I would suggest that you keep a box of Kleenex close by. Ms. Gabhart has a wonderful way of telling historical stories that take place in small towns. There wasn't a lot know about many diseases in 1833. When a cholera epidemic started i I am sorry to say this is the first book I have read by Ann H. Gabhart. I can promise you this will not be my last. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. At he end of this novel, I was surprised and blessed to learn that this was about a true event. I would suggest that you keep a box of Kleenex close by. Ms. Gabhart has a wonderful way of telling historical stories that take place in small towns. There wasn't a lot know about many diseases in 1833. When a cholera epidemic started in Springfield, Kentucky, people who could, left town. It was thought that this disease was spread through bad air. Later we would learn it is typically contracted through infected water The story starts with Adria Starr, at age seven. She is lying on the floor next to her mother and baby brother, wondering what she can do to help them. She does not want them to stop breathing like her daddy did. She now too is sick and too weak to help them any longer. There is a knock on the front door and in walks Louis, our true hero. He is a man full of faith, love, and generosity. He was given the keys to the hotel by the owner, his boss and master, told to watch over it and take care of things. When Louis had a chance to gain his freedom, he stayed behind taking care of the sick and burying the dead. Before the pandemic was over, Louis buried fifty-eight people. The author has a wonderful way of developing her characters, there are so many in this novel that you will fall in love with. This was not an easy time in history and sometimes it was hard to read. Adria, understandably, had a hard time when twelve years later, this same man is being sold by his owner, despite all the things he did for the town. I loved the way Ms. Gabhart was able to pull light out of this darkness. Louis was always encouraging Adria with scripture and a smile. There are so many wonderful quotes in this book. I thing my favorite is “You know what made me feel safest after my parents died?” ...“Adria stepped closer to him and took his hand. “I always knew I was safe when you were holding my hand.” His fingers curled around her hand. “You was the sweetest li'l child. When I first laid eyes on you that day a layin' there by your “mama's body and you looked up at me, your big brown eyes went straight to my heart. I knowed the Lord aimed for me to take care of you.” “Now he wants me to take care of you. The two of us, we'll pray the way you did for me when I was a little girl, and the Lord will show us a way.” I loved this book and would recommend it. It's one I may have to read a second time. I received this book from Revell Publishers through NetGalleys. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin Laramore

    Ann Gabhart is renown for heartfelt stories from small-town America and this one is no different. This book takes place in a small town of Springfield, KY in the early to mid 1800s, starting with the Cholera epidemic that swept through the world in 1833. It's then that we meet young Adria Starr, who loses her parents and baby brother to the epidemic. She's found in a very sickly state by a slave named Louis, who was left behind when his owner fled town to avoid the epidemic and left Louis in cha Ann Gabhart is renown for heartfelt stories from small-town America and this one is no different. This book takes place in a small town of Springfield, KY in the early to mid 1800s, starting with the Cholera epidemic that swept through the world in 1833. It's then that we meet young Adria Starr, who loses her parents and baby brother to the epidemic. She's found in a very sickly state by a slave named Louis, who was left behind when his owner fled town to avoid the epidemic and left Louis in charge of his hotel. Louis takes young Adria back to the hotel where he and another slave, Matilda, nurse her back to health. Once folks begin to drift back into town, they find a new home for Adria. This sets the stage for our story that then jumps ahead 12 years. As a young adult, Adria chafes against social norms. She doesn't really want to be a proper lady and due to her love and affection for the slaves who saved her life, she has some very unpopular opinions about abolishing slavery. This book addresses a lot of difficult topics - about love, freedom, being true to oneself, seeking and waiting on the perfect will of God, and redemption. It does so in a very heartfelt and beautiful way. If you enjoy good historical fiction (in reading the author's note, there is a lot more of this story that is fact than you might initially think) that pulls your heart-strings and really makes you think about what life was like in that time and place, this is one I would strongly recommend. While this story has closure, I do hope this is the beginning of a series as I'd love to see what happens in the next chapters of these characters' lives. Special thanks to Netgalley and Revell for allowing me and advanced e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to post a review and the thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Young Adria Starr knew from her early years that slavery was wrong after being cared for by Louis and Matilda, both slaves, after her family succumbed to cholera. Rivers of Redemption is a rich historical read with the detail research Ann Gabhart did for this captivating Historical Christian fiction story shining through. There are moments of tears flowing, hearing the dialect of the slaves talking to young Adria and others, strong faith of Louis, plenty of action, romance and opinionated charac Young Adria Starr knew from her early years that slavery was wrong after being cared for by Louis and Matilda, both slaves, after her family succumbed to cholera. Rivers of Redemption is a rich historical read with the detail research Ann Gabhart did for this captivating Historical Christian fiction story shining through. There are moments of tears flowing, hearing the dialect of the slaves talking to young Adria and others, strong faith of Louis, plenty of action, romance and opinionated characters. I appreciate the way Louis’ faith and saying “prayin’ believin’” God for an answer gave Adria just that with her actions as an adult. This is one powerful story that I’m still cherishing after closing the back cover. A book that will resonant with the strong faith message and the struggles of individuals before slavery was abolished in America. I look forward to more truly clean Historical Christian Fiction Romance books by this author.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)

    This gripping, heart-warming story with its central theme of prayer is a beautiful story that is sure to not only entertain but to uplift your spirits. It is just what I needed to read! I was easily pulled into the story right from the beginning. The events of the Cholera epidemic sweeping through this small Kentucky town, were heart-wrenching. Louis, an African slave took it upon himself to step in and help where needed. His unwavering faith in God, even through the difficult times is a testame This gripping, heart-warming story with its central theme of prayer is a beautiful story that is sure to not only entertain but to uplift your spirits. It is just what I needed to read! I was easily pulled into the story right from the beginning. The events of the Cholera epidemic sweeping through this small Kentucky town, were heart-wrenching. Louis, an African slave took it upon himself to step in and help where needed. His unwavering faith in God, even through the difficult times is a testament to his character. While not a face-paced story, I still found myself invested in the lives of the characters and and deeply moved by their struggles. We pray and unburden our hearts to the Father. He always answers. But sometimes the answers aren’t what we expected. Prayer changes things, and it changes us too! I especially appreciated the fact that this story was based partly on a true story. This book is a poignant reminder that faith and prayer go hand-in-hand. We each have the daily opportunity to be a beacon of faith and an example of what trusting in God looks like to the others in our communities. This engaging story is filled with moments of tender romance, laughter, adventure, tears of sadness and tears of joy, a couple of surprises and most importantly a strong faith. I give this story 4.5 stars and would encourage you to pick-up a copy for yourself to enjoy! (I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well. Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well. Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues her and helps Matilda nurse Adria back to health. Louis is an amazing character. I love the way he trusts God, cares for others at risk to his own safety and does not seek the best in life for himself. Matilda longs for freedom but also possesses a very strong faith. Over and over, her response to obstacles is the faith-filled refrain, “The Lord will provide.” I love the way Adria, Ruth, Will, Carlton, and even Logan all show character development and great wrestling with life decisions. All have to decide what they will do with the question of slavery and how deeply will they get involved. What cost is each willing to pay to address the flowing tide that refuses to be ignored or dammed up? Who will find physical redemption and who will find redemption for his soul? I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand some of the soul-searching times leading up to the Civil War. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are strictly my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Clayton

    This author never lets me down, her books are just fantastic and most of them I needed the kleenex box at some point in the book. This book I can't say enough except if you are looking for a book to read and to love this is the book. One gentleman has a heart of gold and is just every woman's dream. He is one that has done so so much and thinks he hasn't done enough. I failed to mention this book is set in 1833. If you are looking for a winner book to read this is the book. Ann hit a grand slam This author never lets me down, her books are just fantastic and most of them I needed the kleenex box at some point in the book. This book I can't say enough except if you are looking for a book to read and to love this is the book. One gentleman has a heart of gold and is just every woman's dream. He is one that has done so so much and thinks he hasn't done enough. I failed to mention this book is set in 1833. If you are looking for a winner book to read this is the book. Ann hit a grand slam and if there were 10 stars that is what I would of rated it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    River To Redemption is such a heart warming, heart touching, goose bump - yes you got that right - goose bumps - story. You ask, "how can it be a goose bump story?" Well no - it is not a thriller - you get your goose bumps when you see GOD move in the lives of these characters - when you see Faith move during such a disastrous time such as a Cholera - a killer of a disease killing off people in a small Kentucky town. Isn't that where our help comes from? The LORD? There is unjustness, wrongness, River To Redemption is such a heart warming, heart touching, goose bump - yes you got that right - goose bumps - story. You ask, "how can it be a goose bump story?" Well no - it is not a thriller - you get your goose bumps when you see GOD move in the lives of these characters - when you see Faith move during such a disastrous time such as a Cholera - a killer of a disease killing off people in a small Kentucky town. Isn't that where our help comes from? The LORD? There is unjustness, wrongness, abandonment, righteousness and redemption die throughout the book. This is very moving - so very worth the read. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all my own. if you would like to read more of my Christian book reviews go to christianlybookreviewers.blogspot.com

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    It was a bit slow getting started, but I am glad I stuck with it. In the end I would love to read more of Adria and Ruth’s story! Not sure if there’s going to be a sequel but I think the opportunity is definitely there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Becca-Rae

    This was a wonderfully written story set in the 1830-40’s. It grips your heart right from the very beginning, when you see Adria’s entire family die from Cholera. Louis comes to her rescue and kindly lays her family to rest along with the many others who died from the illness. The bond that is created between them is undeniable. So twelve years later when Louis’s owner passes away, it’s easy to see how desperately Adria wants to buy his freedom to prevent him from going to the auction block. The This was a wonderfully written story set in the 1830-40’s. It grips your heart right from the very beginning, when you see Adria’s entire family die from Cholera. Louis comes to her rescue and kindly lays her family to rest along with the many others who died from the illness. The bond that is created between them is undeniable. So twelve years later when Louis’s owner passes away, it’s easy to see how desperately Adria wants to buy his freedom to prevent him from going to the auction block. There’s really no way for your heart to be left unaffected. I really liked how the author was able to reveal the hearts of her characters based on their life experiences. It gave them each a level of depth that not only made their stories more believable, but made empathy for them unavoidable. Everyone experienced some level of heartbreak in their lives, and it leads them to where they are intricately placed in the story. When they are able to let go of their pain and lean on the Lord, they are able to find true healing. This was encouraging to read. I also liked that the author didn’t minimize the pain that the characters went through, but instead showed how their pasts shaped their present. For example, Adria recognizes her pain in losing her family, but also realized that Ruth did her best in raising her despite her own flaws and pain. It was imperfect people helping and walking alongside other imperfect people. It was beautiful to see how the Lord could work through such a community. The author’s note reveals that while the story itself is fictional, it is partially based on a true story. Louis was a man that existed in real life. A lot of his story as revealed in the book is actually based on the real Louis’s experiences. Although the other characters were the imagination of the author, you are still able to see how the town would rally to buy his freedom. This made my heart smile. On a small note I also have to say that I LOVE the cover art for this book. I highly recommend this story! I was sucked in right from the beginning. It touched me emotionally and I’m very glad I read it. This wasn’t my first book by Ann H Gabhart, and it certainly won’t be my last 🙂 *I received a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley and the author in hopes of an honest review. I was not obligated to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura Morningstar

    Full review can be read here: http://lauramorningstar.com/review-ri... I don’t even know where t o start with this book it was just so freaking good, I was captivated by the story from the first page through to the very last. As I have mentioned previously on this blog I am non-religious with a heavy sprinkle of paganism, meaning that Christian fiction is not something I go and hunt out. Enjoying historical fiction as I do however, does mean that there is often a crossover between the two genres Full review can be read here: http://lauramorningstar.com/review-ri... I don’t even know where t o start with this book it was just so freaking good, I was captivated by the story from the first page through to the very last. As I have mentioned previously on this blog I am non-religious with a heavy sprinkle of paganism, meaning that Christian fiction is not something I go and hunt out. Enjoying historical fiction as I do however, does mean that there is often a crossover between the two genres and so I will occasionally find myself reading a novel that has a strong religious theme. There are occasions when I find the religious elements off-putting especially when it feels that they are wedged into the story but this is definitely not the case with River to Redemption. Redemption, in all its forms, is very much a theme of the book. Can the town of Springfield redeem themselves for the ownership of slaves? Can the scoundrel character of Lucas? redeem himself for his actions? Can those who are kept as slaves redeem their freedom by crossing the river? The stronger and overarching theme though is that of faith. Especially faith after tragedy, faith when living through difficult circumstances and faith when life is trying its best to test that faith and courage. I personally don’t think it matters where your religious perspective lies, faith is an emotion that we all experience. Ann Galbraith transports you to 1833 and a town that is held in the vice like grip of a Cholera epidemic. The town of Springfield has been mainly abandoned as many are stuck down with the deadly illness, however two slaves Louis and Aunt Tilda are tending to the sick and dying. While caring for the community they happen upon a child Adira Starr whose family have all died, these beautiful souls rescue and care for her and find her a good home. The home they find is with Ruth Harmon a grief stricken widow whose husband has also died due to the illness, and who was dealt a double blow of miscarrying their child. Through the care of Louis and Aunt Tilda these two lost souls are brought together. 12 years later Aunt Tilda has died and the slave Louis is about to be put up for sale, the horrifying nature of humans being owned and the atrocities they faced is not shied away from. Ann Galbraith writes about it delicately and with a sympathetic hand suitable the setting of the novel. Adira Starr the little girl who was rescued by Louis is now 19 years old determined to see Louis given his freedom. It is fascinating to be given a snapshot of this time in history from a female perspective. Adira’s views on abolition could see her put in jail however at the same time the abolition movement are still against women speaking out for their cause, so she receives criticism from all directions. I really admired how Ann wrote about the relationship between Ruth and Adira, and how over the course of the book this continued to grow as they really learnt what they meant to each other. All of the characters are so very well structured that I could write about them all, they are multi-faceted and even when you dislike their actions you can understand their motivations. I really loved the historical aspect of this book, Ann Galbraith has a brilliant talent for creating and describing the setting, which really helped me to form a visual picture for Springfield, Kentucky. What amazed me even more was to learn at the end of the book that the story although a work of fiction is based on the true history of Springfield and a slave called Louis.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robin Reynolds / October Woman

    *received from the publisher for review* The book opens when Adria is seven years old, and has just been orphaned by a cholera epidemic. The town has been devastated by the disease, with most of the townsfolk who are healthy enough to do so leaving. Louis is a slave, property of the owner of the local hotel, who also leaves town, giving Louis his keys and instructing him to take care of things. At this point Louis could have fled “across the river” to freedom, but instead he goes around town tend *received from the publisher for review* The book opens when Adria is seven years old, and has just been orphaned by a cholera epidemic. The town has been devastated by the disease, with most of the townsfolk who are healthy enough to do so leaving. Louis is a slave, property of the owner of the local hotel, who also leaves town, giving Louis his keys and instructing him to take care of things. At this point Louis could have fled “across the river” to freedom, but instead he goes around town tending to the ill and respectfully burying the dead, becoming a local hero. When he finds young Adria, he takes her back to the hotel, where he and Matilda, another slave, take care of her. Ruth is the newly widowed wife of the local schoolteacher. With the loss of her beloved husband, her life has been completely shattered, but when Louis approaches her about taking in Adria, she agrees. Cut to twelve years later. Ruth has taken over her husband's position as schoolteacher and never remarried. Adria is a secretly budding abolitionist. Everyone, herself included, assumes she will marry her childhood sweetheart, Carlton, but despite his pushing for an answer she keeps putting him off. She and Louis have remained close, and she hates that he is a slave, that he's not free. When the town gets a new preacher, a romance slowly builds between him and Ruth, and I really enjoyed that storyline. Neither is looking for a relationship, neither has any desire to remarry, but they are drawn to each other almost against their wills. I probably would've been content with a book just about Ruth and her preacher. But much as I enjoyed her story, I found Ruth a little hard to relate to. She loves Adria, and Adria loves her. But they never seemed to develop a mother/daughter relationship until the very end. It is mentioned more than once that while Ruth agreed to raise Adria, and took care of her and provided for her and has always put her best interests first, she was unable to be what Adria really wanted – a family. We, the reader, don't see Adria grow up with Ruth, but I got the impression that there weren't lots of hugs and kisses and I love yous exchanged. I kept reminding myself throughout the book that Ruth was devastated to lose her husband, devastated that she and her husband did not have children, that Ruth was mentally in a bad place when she took on Adria, that she had her own struggles. But I still couldn't imagine raising a little girl and not showering her with affection, regardless of whether or not she were your own biological child. It basically kept me feeling at arms length from Ruth. A character I enjoyed is Logan, who arrives with the drovers who pass through, and then gets a job in town. He and Carlton are complete opposites, and while Adria tells herself to have nothing to do with him, she can't help but like him. He's a bit insufferable and stalkery, and I loved their interactions. I also loved the scenes between him and a jealous Carlton. During the first few chapters the narration, the writing, felt a little simplistic, though fitting since the point of view was from a seven year old child. But then when Adria is grown up, it still felt that way, and it took me awhile to really get into the story and stop noticing that. And the further into the book I went the more and more invested I became. As Adria felt torn between Carlton and Logan, I was rooting for Logan, and then I wasn't, and then I sort of was again. Slavery is talked about very matter of factly and is, of course, a big theme of the book, as Adria begins to rally the townspeople to raise money to buy Louis so he can then be freed. I don't want to describe it as “feel good”, because the subject of slavery can't possibly be feel good, but seeing the reactions as money is raised was heartwarming, and I did get teary eyed. Overall, the book was enjoyable, with a lot of sweet moments, and a wonderful resolution.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nyla

    River to Redemption by author Ann Gabhart was magnificent. From the beginning pages I was enthralled. Dishes piled up, chores went undone, but I could not put this masterpiece down. I loved most everything about it. Set in Springfield, Kentucky during 1883 the author tackles commoners’ views on slavery and abolition. The fiction tale is rich with history, beginning with the tragic cholera epidemic. Women’s rights, attire, and what society deemed proper were at times unbelievable, but rang true t River to Redemption by author Ann Gabhart was magnificent. From the beginning pages I was enthralled. Dishes piled up, chores went undone, but I could not put this masterpiece down. I loved most everything about it. Set in Springfield, Kentucky during 1883 the author tackles commoners’ views on slavery and abolition. The fiction tale is rich with history, beginning with the tragic cholera epidemic. Women’s rights, attire, and what society deemed proper were at times unbelievable, but rang true to stories I had heard from my grandmother who was raised in Kentucky. The characters, both main and secondary, are fabulous. We first meet seven year Adria Starr and quickly it is twelve years later and she is a young lady. Adria is a feisty southern young lady with a mind of her own and a huge heart. Two young men are after her hand, but Adria has many things on her mind as well as in her heart. Prim and proper Ruth is a character that like Adria lost family to cholera. They become a family out of necessity. A new young minister comes and with him good instruction on praying. Louis is the slave that rescues Adria at the beginning of the book and helps the entire town of Springfield. His faith is as strong as his big heart. His master is an old man and when he becomes ill things look grim for Louis. Aunt Tilda is a sassy cook that brings life and laughter to the book. She was one of my favorites along with a well-meaning match-making widow. There are even more characters, some lovable and others not. Everyone is thrown together through tragedy and need. Faith in God and believing in prayer sustains them and they thrive. There are bumps and bruises along the way, but that is true to life. The absence of a pet was disappointing for me, but I loved that the characters baked a lot. The author described the cakes, breads, and pies so that I could almost smell the cinnamon. Author Gabhart has written a beautiful, captivating tale of love, disappointment, hope, loss, faith, freedom, and family. There are so many inspirational messages in this book. For me, that is the mark of a good Christian book. This one had that and more. Scripture, encouragement, life lessons, issues from the past and present are all found within these 319 pages. It is full of emotion and thought provoking subjects. In fact, it is so delightful I hate to give away any of the story. You will revel in discovering it for yourself. I very highly recommend this charming book. In fact, I devoured it in one sitting. You will be entertained, educated, encouraged, and enlightened. There are no study questions at the back, but like I often say, this would be a nice book club selection. It would be nice to have someone to chat over coffee about this page-turner. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars only because I couldn’t figure out how to squeeze one more out to make it 6. This should win awards and yes, be made into a Hallmark movie. A copy was provided by Revell for my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Victoria W.

    Ann H. Gabhart is quickly becoming a go-to author for engaging, historical fiction that doesn't blend in with the commonalities of its genre. Once again, in River to Redemption Gabhart has picked a fascinating part of history, in this case the city of Springfield Kentucky after a devastating cholera epidemic, the story of a slave freed by his own town, and added a host of honest characters led by young Adira Starr to both inform and delight readers. I love when a historical fiction can inform and Ann H. Gabhart is quickly becoming a go-to author for engaging, historical fiction that doesn't blend in with the commonalities of its genre. Once again, in River to Redemption Gabhart has picked a fascinating part of history, in this case the city of Springfield Kentucky after a devastating cholera epidemic, the story of a slave freed by his own town, and added a host of honest characters led by young Adira Starr to both inform and delight readers. I love when a historical fiction can inform and inspire readers to more study and Gabhart seems to have a knack for this type of writing. I was amazed to hear the foundational information of the cholera as well as Louis' unusual method of obtaining his freedom were both based on actual occurrences within Kentucky. This historical base always seems to add an extra level of depth or scope to a story when capitalized on and Gabhart provides a story filled with characters who leap off the page. And the characters ... Can I just say the characterization of our two leading ladies made me do a happy dance? There was much dancing over the thrown-together family of Ruth Harmon and Adira Starr as they are the most relatable pairing of women I've read in a historical fiction this year. I loved the way Gabhart explored Ruth's grief at loosing Peter but also the awareness of her vulnerable and unique state being an unmarried widow for so long in her environment. Whereas Adira's obvious confusion about her future and the two men vying for her attention was such a refreshing change over the usual fall in love in a chapter regardless of past or future plans. It makes both woman stronger characters as their struggles don't seem as glossed over or mere points of convenience for the plot. As for the plot, Gabhart effortless weaves faith throughout her fiction. I loved watching her characters actually wrestle with their faith in real ways following painful loss about how their faith fits and works with their new reality. Gabhart writes such honest questions through Ruth and Will's narratives about grief and faith while simultaneously looking at the importance of the abolitionists through Adira and Louis handling heavy topics with grace that had me taking a break from my book to reflect on the greater message (and if you've been around here much you know what it takes for me to put a book down). Yes, there are some sermon moments but when one of the major characters is a pastor I think that's less awkward writing and more writing your character which is certainly how Pastor Will comes across. Ann Gabheart knows how to tell a story but her ability to blend history with characters who don't mind asking the hard questions and allowing their plans to shift as their faith and situations change is making her one of my authors to follow. 4.5 stars out of 5. "Book has been provided courtesy of Revell and Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest and uninfluenced review. All opinions are my own"

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Ann Gabhart writes heartwarming stories that turn tragedy into blessings, and despair into hope. Based on a true story, River of Hope is set in Kentucky; the year is 1833. In 1832 - 1833, a cholera epidemic swept through the United States, killing some 250,000 Americans. Additionally, the disease killed millions worldwide from 1827 - 1835. Cholera is a disease of death; few survive. One might awake in the morning, feeling fine, and by nightfall, death occurs. In 1833 Springfield, Kentucky it’s i Ann Gabhart writes heartwarming stories that turn tragedy into blessings, and despair into hope. Based on a true story, River of Hope is set in Kentucky; the year is 1833. In 1832 - 1833, a cholera epidemic swept through the United States, killing some 250,000 Americans. Additionally, the disease killed millions worldwide from 1827 - 1835. Cholera is a disease of death; few survive. One might awake in the morning, feeling fine, and by nightfall, death occurs. In 1833 Springfield, Kentucky it’s inhabitants were hit hard, losing over 50 people within days. There was a hotel in Springfield, owned by a white man, staffed by slaves. People fled the city, including the owner of the hotel; he left the keys with his slave, Louis. Louis, along with the hotel cook, Matilda, took care of the town, nursing those desperately ill with cholera. Surprisingly, neither became sick. Even more surprisingly, neither took the opportunity to run, to go across the river, seeking freedom. Louis dug 55 graves, burying the dead himself. It is into this scenario that the author weaves a compelling story. Opening in June 1833, young Adria Starr takes care of her desperately ill mother and baby brother; at 7 years of age, she has become their nurse, even as she becomes ill herself. Her father, before his death from the horrid disease, urged Adria’s mother to take the children, escape. But it was too late. When Adria awakens from a deep sleep only the very ill experience, she finds her mother and baby brother have succumbed. Startled by a loud knock on the front door, Adria is further alarmed when a very large black man steps into the house, offers her comfort and takes her to the hotel where he serves his days as a slave. The man is called Louis. Louis and Matilda care for Adria, nursing her back to health. Adria isn’t the only person in the hotel being cared for by these two compassionate slaves. With the end of the epidemic in Springfield, people begin to return to their homes; including the owner of the hotel. Seeing a way to make money, the owner begins to charge people for the use of the rooms. For Adria, now an orphan, unless Louis and Matilda can find her a new home, she will be sent to a family where she will likely become labor, rather than a cherished member of the family. Throughout this story is an undergirding of the power of “believing” prayer; believing God will answer. After praying over Adria’s situation, Louis and Matilda approach the widow of the town school teacher. She agrees to to take Matilda in, raise her in the midst of her own blinding grief and anguish. This is just a brief synopsis of the first few chapters of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and I think you will too. I highly recommend it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    River to Redemption is a refreshing, non-romance-centric (of sorts) novel based on a true story. While too character-driven for my tastes, and thus slow and meandering with little happening to pick up the pace, I enjoyed the break from the normal historical romance that this book gave me. It’s really interesting to me to see Christian fiction tackle the Civil War era, as each author seems to want to emphasize something different each time. I thought Gabhart did a good job of integrating the socie River to Redemption is a refreshing, non-romance-centric (of sorts) novel based on a true story. While too character-driven for my tastes, and thus slow and meandering with little happening to pick up the pace, I enjoyed the break from the normal historical romance that this book gave me. It’s really interesting to me to see Christian fiction tackle the Civil War era, as each author seems to want to emphasize something different each time. I thought Gabhart did a good job of integrating the societal feeling of the time while also maintaining the Christian aspect of it. It seems jarring to us, in the modern age, to read a book like this and wonder why the Christians in the novel aren’t all abolitionists. But the character Ruth points out something important towards the end of the novel: that the culture that these people grew up in has influenced them too much in seeing slaves as invisible, and that it took the compassion of Louis for them to see humanity in all the people around them. I think people too often dismiss the power of culture in the minds of individuals. The behavior and thoughts exhibited by some of the people in the novel should be rightly criticized, but maintaining historical accuracy is important, too. Now, I did say this was “non-romance-centric,” though that’s not exactly true. There is a romance in this book, but since I considered Adria the main character, I didn’t really consider it important enough for a “romance-centric” tag. The romance does take up a lot of the plot—maybe too much, considering the glacial pace of the book—and it is quite predictable and all that jazz, but it was nice for the main character to realize that there are things more important in life than pursuing relationships immediately. If there had been a bit more action or something to make the pace go more quickly, River to Redemption would have elevated itself significantly in my mind. As it stands, it’s a good book, but too slow for my liking. Many people prefer character-driven books, so this would be a good fit for them. It also handles the “Christianese” and the setting in a good way, integrating them nicely and not leaving too much to complain or rage about in terms of accuracy or portrayal. Disclaimer: Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-bennett

    River to Redemption By Ann H. Gabhart Adria Starr lost everyone she cared about when a cholera epidemic hits Springfield, Kentucky in 1833. And Adria isn't alone in her losses most everyone also suffered a loss. Mrs. Ruth Harmon lost her husband Peter and the child she was hoping for. But through the care of Louis none where left untended as he made sure all the sick were nursed and the dead were buried. Louis's efforts came at a cost - he could have used the sickness as a chance to escape to free River to Redemption By Ann H. Gabhart Adria Starr lost everyone she cared about when a cholera epidemic hits Springfield, Kentucky in 1833. And Adria isn't alone in her losses most everyone also suffered a loss. Mrs. Ruth Harmon lost her husband Peter and the child she was hoping for. But through the care of Louis none where left untended as he made sure all the sick were nursed and the dead were buried. Louis's efforts came at a cost - he could have used the sickness as a chance to escape to freedom in the North. But Louis was not like most as he followed the leading he felt that the Good Lord placed on his heart. And caring for Adria and finding her a place where she wouldn't be in a position of servitude for the rest of her childhood was of utmost importance to him. As time passes Louis and Adria have a special connection - one that has Adria looking to take up the abolitionist fight. But being a woman her words and feelings carry little weight in the 1840s. When the possibility of Louis being sold arises Adria is determined that he get the freedom he deserves. River to Redemption is a story that has many layers to it - the first layer is the cholera epidemic which is the catalyst which sets everything in motion. If not for the cholera Louis and Adria might never have met so that they would have a friendship. And then Adria and Ruth shared a bond that was also the result of the losses they both experienced. Adria provided the home and Ruth the care. As Adria deals with the expectations of society (marriage and family) versus the desires her heart (freedom and equality) she will discover who she truly is. I think this quote perfectly sums up Adria's dilemma "Yet, was it too much to hope for a man to accept you as you were instead of as he thought you should be?" What I like is that this book is based on true historical events - yes this is a fictionalized account but the characters are for the most part likable. They aren't perfect and struggle with disappointments and life in general. This isn't a fast paced book it has moments of meandering making it a perfect afternoon read when all you want to do is relax. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a review - all opinions expressed are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Erica Nicole Pait

    This is the first book I've ever read by Ann Gabhart. Turns out... instant favorite! I'm giving this book 5 stars! I couldn't put it down. I tried. Honestly, I did. I put it away to go to bed, tried to go to sleep, and wound up just turning the light back on and reading some more. The characters are really what makes this book what it is. The setting is nice. The words are nice. But the people.... I can't even begin to describe the feelings this book is giving me! I cried. Multiple times. It's b This is the first book I've ever read by Ann Gabhart. Turns out... instant favorite! I'm giving this book 5 stars! I couldn't put it down. I tried. Honestly, I did. I put it away to go to bed, tried to go to sleep, and wound up just turning the light back on and reading some more. The characters are really what makes this book what it is. The setting is nice. The words are nice. But the people.... I can't even begin to describe the feelings this book is giving me! I cried. Multiple times. It's been a while since a book made me cry! The story of little Adria and poor Ruth, a family by choice, yes, but at first a family by necessity. I love the way they just took their circumstances and ran with it. And of course Will and little, sweet Willie were heartthrobs. Matilda, a slave, still inspires Adria to enjoy her freedom. And Louis... well Louis takes the cake! Such a man of faith and of courage. Of fortitude and strength. And then to discover via the author's note at the end that Louis's real life story was the inspiration for this whole book, it made it that much better. The story is grounded on real life, however slightly, which gives such another dimension to the whole thing. Of course, Adria's suitors were the perfect antagonists. Not really evil, just annoying. But mostly, this book... is there a single page you can open to without seeing the word "pray".... I don't believe so. Speaking of believe, the theme of this book is truly "Pray Believing". I can't tell you how much this book got me! You'll must read it and see for yourself. And then the ending, while sad, had that sweet moment that I always look for in a book like this. That moment between Adria and Ruth. Oh gracious! Plus the cover is super beautiful. All in all, this book addresses a touchy time in history in the best way possible, and gives hope for better times to come! My favorite line, said by Louis, "The Lord, he done good to me." I recieved this book free from the publishers but all opinions are my own

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