|The River Rose (Water Wheel, Book 2)|
by Gilbert Morris
Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her eight-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi.
However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose - a tough man named Clint Hardin - and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters.
As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne - who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.
My Rating, 3 out of 5 stars
It seems like it's been years since I've read a book by veteran romance writer Gilbert Morris and I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to read The River Rose and reignite my love affair with southern historical fiction. Judging by this story I've been missing out on some first-class storytelling from Mr. Morris. I won't say that this is my favorite book, in my mind no series will ever compare to Morris' Cheney Duvall books, but I enjoyed it.
The River Rose, book two in the Water Wheel series, is the story of poor, young widow Jeanne Bettencourt, her daughter Marvel and what happens when they suddenly inherit half ownership of a steamboat. Clint Hardin, a noted lady's man and pugilist just so happens to learn that he's the owner of the other half of the steamboat but also learns that most likely he's just come upon a boatload of trouble in the form of one determined female. What ensues is an interesting take on the life of a steamboat pilot (yep, you guessed it Jeanne is the captain!) as well as the development of a bittersweet romance.
So this brings me to the point of telling you all what I liked and didn't really like so much. Since I gave this a 3 out of 5 stars (according to Goodreads that means "I liked it") there is obviously more things that I enjoyed in this book than things that didn't necessarily float my boat (no pun intended). Since I like to end things on a high note I'll point out the not so great stuff first. The major beef that I had with this book was George Masters. No he wasn't a bad person, as a matter of fact he seemed like a swell guy most of the time but the thing is, where did he go? About 3/4 of the way through he disappeared! I know he stayed away from town due to the yellow fever epidemic but since he was such an important part of Jeanne's life and the beginning of the story I at least hoped he'd continue to be in her life as a friend and not something like a far off benefactor or what have you. That's really the only issue that I had with the story but since it really bugged me I had to mention it.
Now for the nice bits... first things first I love that this story is set in the south and it's about riverboats. Don't get me wrong, I love me some cowboys but I could use a change of scenery every once in a while and this book delivers it. I loved Jeanne as a riverboat captain. Even though she came of as a bit harsh by the end of the book I liked her. I guess it's nice to read a heroine who isn't puppies and rainbows all the time. Finally I really liked Clint which is hard to believe. When I do read a book by Morris I tend to compare all the heroes to Shiloh Irons (swoon) from the Cheney Duvall series and they usually fall flat but Clint definitely held his own. Really though who doesn't love a rogue?
All in all in spite of not having read book 1, The River Queen this book was very easy to follow and I'm not sure it was in any way related to The River Queen other than being set on the river. It's solid story that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to Gilbert Morris fans or fans of riverboats. I'll be looking for book 3, The River Palace soon.
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*
Thanks to B&H Publishers I have one copy of The River Rose to give away to one lucky reader! All you need to do is fill out the form below! US residents only. No PO Boxes. Book comes directly from publisher so I can't be held responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. All rules are listed at the top of the form.