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.
Title: River to Redemption
Series (if applicable): N/A, stand-alone
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Publisher (if applicable): Revell
Genre(s): Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance, Fiction, Christian, Young Adult
Recommended Age: 13+ for romance and suggestive comments.
You know, normally a gorgeous book cover is what makes me think a certain book would be a great read. Not to say this book doesn’t have one, but the synopsis is what got me this time. Slavery was a huge thing in the South, and a young abolitionist growing up surrounded by it really caught my eye.
The book stars Adria Starr, someone who lost her family to a cholera epidemic in 1833. I just can’t imagine what it’d be like for that to happen to me, and at such a young age! There are two other point-of-views as well, them being Ruth’s and Will’s, and it was really interesting to see how everything would the together.
Ruth was widowed from the cholera epidemic, and didn’t believe so could ever love again. Throw in a little girl in need of home while struggling with being single at times… Well, it was kind of fun seeing her attempt to convince herself years later that she wasn’t in love with the new guy in town.
Will was pretty much going through the same things Ruth was, except for the fact he was a preacher and faking it too.
My favorite character was actually Louis. He was such a God-fearing man and showed his trust in the Lord in many ways. I was surprised to find in the author’s note that he actually did exist and did tend to those infected. I have much more respect for him upon discovering this.
What bothered me might be considered a minor detail for some. Every time the Lord was mentioned, the way he or him was said did not have any capitalization. I’ve always been raised to show God respect, and always capitalize the ‘H’ in him, etc whenever he was referred to. This is probably something that won’t exactly bother some people, and I don’t wish to deter you from reading a wonderful book, but that was the main thing I had a harder time with this round.
That being said, the romance was done in a great way and didn’t bother me a bit. I have had some bad experiences in the past with too much description or even scenes I never want to think about, but this was just right. Adria struggled with affections from two men, and did not make impulsive decisions, instead getting advice from trusted women. The worst it got was just being somewhat suggestive, but in a subtle way that wouldn’t bother you unless romance is something you absolutely cannot handle.
This was my first time reading one of Ann H. Gabhart’s books, and I am totally interested in checking out what other wonderful novels she published!