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Sunday, April 3, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: "Journey To Riverbend" by Henry McLaughlin (Tyndale)

TITLE: Journey To Riverbend
AUTHOR: Henry McLaughlin
GENRE: Christian Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3942-9
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: "Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation.
Soon after arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets and falls for the stunning Rachel Stone while waiting for Sam to return from a business trip. Beautiful yet guarded, Rachel seems to be running from a past as dark as Michael’s.
When word reaches town that Sam has been kidnapped on the stagecoach home, Michael offers to join the search party formed by the local sheriff. With a budding romance behind him and a dangerous rescue ahead of him, he sets out on the trail, determined to complete his journey no matter the cost."

Well, it has been a very long time since I've been impressed by a work of Christian fiction and I was thus quite surprised to find myself enjoying this book very much!
There are three main characters in this book. Sam Carstairs is all set to be the villain of the tale and winds up a victim of the consequences of his own evil choices. I flip-flopped between detesting him, and pitying him, and even occasionally admiring him. Rachel Stone struggles to continue being a new creation in Christ after being rescued from a life of prostitution. Caught in the middle between the townsfolk's unforgiveness of her past and the Redeemer's forgiveness, she strives to keep a right perspective. Michael Archer has a difficult past of his own but now he's on a mission to make amends with stranger Sam Carstairs on behalf of his estranged and now-deceased son Ben Carstairs. Michael arrives in Riverbend to find that Sam is out of town, and while he's passing the time until Sam returns he falls in love with Rachel. Rachel isn't sure if she has it in her to ever love and trust a man again. Sam doesn't arrive home on the stage- he's been kidnapped! Michael joins the search for Sam and the book takes a turn for the sinister and suspenseful...
As I said I was quite impressed with this book. It keeps it's Christian focus. I find alot of Christian fiction novels throw God in there as an afterthought but this book does not. The main characters were a little less defined than I like and the who's who was a tad hard to follow at times. The story was gripping and I was up until 3am trying to finish this book because I couldn't put it down. There were a few parts that were a bit too descriptive and/or unnecessarily gruesome for me so I would not recommend this book for immature readers. Overall I liked it very much and give it 5 stars out of 5.

I reviewed this book for Tyndale publishers in exchange for a free review copy of the book. No other compensation was received and I was not told what to say. My opinions, good and bad, are my own and have not been coached or influenced in any way.

You can read the first chapter HERE.

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