River's Call by Melody Carolson Abingdon Press February 2012; 320 Pages Review Date: April 28, 2012
Book Cover Description: What happens when the ties between generations are severed?
Anna Larson's daughter, Lauren, is confused, broken-hearted, and misguided. It's the turbulent 1960s and, feeling alienated from her mother, Lauren chooses to stay with her paternal grandmother. However, repelled by the woman's manipulative and spiteful ways, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn at Shining Waters.
But as time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis, one that puts the entire family at risk.
What I Think: Like almost all the other books that I read, I came across this one while I was putting books away at work. I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Carlson’s work, but the cover looked interesting and I’m a fan of other books by her publisher – Abigdon Press.
I was a bit worried that I might be missing something because this is the second book and I hadn’t read the first. I’m pleased to say that the only thing that I’m missed was having read a good book!
These are the stories of a family of very strong women who have faced a variety of challenges over time. Anna is our central character and I believe that the first book must be about her relationship with her mother (a Siuslaw Indian struggling with her heritage and identity).
In The River’s Call Anna’s rather immature young daughter finds herself pregnant and unmarried. Through the manipulation of her overbearing Grandmother (Eunice, Anna’s ex-mother in-law) she and the baby’s father are married – for all the wrong reasons. I’m not sure how Anna raised such a brat, but Lauren really isn’t anything like her mother! Much of the book centers on the struggles they all face while raising the youngest woman in the family, Sarah. There is much change and growth throughout the story, and I got a kick out of many of the references to the styles of the 60’s and 70’s. Remember avocado appliances??
I love that the river itself is a character in this book. I also enjoyed the references to the old healing ways and how the Inn became what we today would consider a retreat.
I found this to be an easy going book that depends on story telling and interesting characters instead of the sex and violence we see so often in today’s popular fiction. And, there are several library patrons that I know will enjoy this series. I’m looking forward to book 3, River’s End.