THE RIVER BEAUTIFUL
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHER: Celebrate Lit Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2020
A difficult past. A strange letter. An unsolved mystery.
Someone is following Lena, mapping her every move.
Where strength can be weakness and vulnerability-an asset, the greatest danger that threatens Lena may just be herself.
After the death of her father years ago, Lena ran from the quiet community of Kennerdell, but she’s back, forced to face a past she’d rather forget.
To make things more difficult, awkward, and terrifying, her old friend, Will, is back in her life. Even worse, she needs him there if she hopes to figure out what the letter she found in her father’s study means. They’re on a mission to find answers before her stalker does.
The River Beautiful mingles history and legend in a fast-paced ride through the deceptively peaceful Allegheny Mountains on a quest for answers amid loss, strength in the face of love, a whirlwind of self-discovery, and learning to use faith to illuminate even the darkest places.
The River Beautiful has an intriguing concept with a bit of history amid the contemporary romantic suspense plot. Lena is a layered character who still struggles with the death of her father, an emotional tangle that affects her relationships with those closest to her as well as God. As Lena helps her mom by (reluctantly) cleaning out her dad’s study, these emotions intensify along with an ever-present sense of danger, especially as she begins to piece together what her dad was working on just before his death. The bits of history mixed up in the suspense element piqued my interest enough to do my own research, too, and were my favorite aspects of the story.
This debut novel has a few problem spots, however. It relies more on telling than showing in many cases, and while I can tell that the plot is trying to be multi-dimensional, all of those layers are still pretty shallow. For instance, as far as the suspense thread, there’s really only one choice for the identity of the culprit – and it’s pretty obvious right from the beginning, as is the answer to the mystery they’re all trying to solve (i.e. no real red herrings in either element). Additionally, the story could have benefited from a better developmental edit to strengthen several instances where it seems a bit over the top (like Lena’s outbursts and extreme decisions) or seems to have no bearing on the story (like her sister’s escapades).
Bottom Line: While The River Beautiful has a few weak areas, overall this debut novel presents an intriguing story with some breathless moments of suspense & a long-unsolved historical mystery that will grab your attention right away. Lena’s character development is solid for the most part, and the reminder of what true Love looks like is something our current world needs to hear right now! Andrea Carmen tells a good story & and I’ll definitely be watching to see what she writes next.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / liked it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
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Andrea Carmen enjoys writing Romantic Suspense and Sweet Romance from a Christian perspective. A lover of bygone times, her modern-day novels contain a spark of history, a hint of mystery, or a little bit of both. Andrea finds inspiration by getting outdoors every chance she gets to explore and enjoy nature, but her favorite pastime is spending time with her family and best canine friend, Zoey.
To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card!!
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What about you? What makes you want to read The River Beautiful by Andrea Carmen?