About the Book
Book: The River Beautiful
Author: Andrea Carmen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 26, 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.
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This book is so rich in history , romance and faith that I am having a hard time coming back to the present. It is easy to get so involved in a story that nothing around you exists. Lena is a woman that is like a time bomb of emotion ready to burst at any moment. She is not a complicated person, just someone who has bottled up her anger for too long. I could feel her tense up every time her dad was mentioned. Losing him was devastating for the family but Lena can’t let go of how she feels. Her mind is swirling around with thoughts that God did this to her. He took away someone precious to her so how can she have faith? I loved how vulnerable she was even though she thinks she hides her feelings well.
Will is the kind of man that any woman would be blessed to have in their life. His faith is steady and he loves with his whole heart. Having Lena back in his life has renewed his hope that he can finally let her know how he feels. I was upset at Lena through most of the story because she pushed Will away every chance she could. Oh if only she could see how much Will loved her and wanted to protect her. I felt a little upset with myself because the reason Lena couldn’t commit was simple. She didn’t want to go through the pain of losing someone again. I think we have all experienced that in our lives. It is easy to see why Lena has put walls up around her heart. I have done the same thing for years. Being alone doesn’t really solve the issue, it only allows the enemy to continue to isolate you from the One who can turn bitterness into joy.
The other part of the story involves a mystery that Lena’s dad was working on before he died. Lena and Will work together to try to find the missing pieces that will lead them to the truth. I loved the suspense and how Will became this person who was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect Lena. The story behind the mystery was intriguing but I think I would have liked a bit more focus on it rather than the relationship between Lena and Will. It wasn’t hard for me to figure out who was behind the continued threats on Lena’s life. The author does try to deflate the clues of who it is, but there was obvious directions she took that pointed to the culprit.
I did enjoy the story and was pleased with the faith scattered in the mix but I really wanted Lena to have a more meaningful God moment where she breaks down on her own. Let’s face it, when we are staring at death we are certain to cry out to God to save us and forgive us. It doesn’t mean you are not sincere, just that why did you wait so long? Lena has been in turmoil through the entire book and I think I was disappointed in how she suddenly needs Will back. The ending was a little abrupt and wrapped up way too fast. The mystery got lost in the middle and gets solved so quickly that it was almost an afterthought at the end.
I hope that my critiques don’t discourage you from reading what I believe is a good story. Not everyone sees a story the same way. I ended up liking Lena at the end and realized that I was a little like her. Maybe for me it was hard to feel like I was looking in a mirror as I experienced Lena’s emotional daily meltdown. There is the key for why I think this author is worth watching. Her ability to take a character with flaws, have readers relate to them and show them how to heal is nothing short of brilliant. She uses faith in a way that took me into Lena’s world and shows me where I need to work on things in order to feel His unconditional love.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
About the Author
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.
More from Andrea
The River Beautiful is my first novel. The story means so much to me, and I am so happy to finally share it with you all.
This book has been years in the making and covers so many topics that are important to me. Many of them were fun to write about, but a few were hard to deal with at times.
Three elements stand out to me when I think of Lena’s story:
Love, Loss, and Legend.
Love- Love is a beautiful gift. In fact, I would say it is the most precious gift God ever gave us. Love, in its correct form, is free, unconditional, and the basis our salvation. God’s love for us cannot be altered or blocked by darkness, not even the paralyzing darkness of grief. So, when love comes into play in this story, it comes from that perspective. Lena struggles to accept love, but I think that is a place many of us have been at one time or another.
Loss can be lifechanging and usually not for the better. To turn The River Beautiful into the story it is, I had to bring up emotions from my own experiences with grief. Churning up those feelings after I’d had them tucked away for so long resulted in many tearful typing sessions. But at the end of the day, I think it brought unexpected healing and a level of authenticity to the story that it would not have had otherwise.
Legend- Researching the legends of the Lenni Lenape people was enlightening. I have always felt a connection to history and the past intrigues me so that I could not help but bring in some element of mystery from the area’s indigenous inhabitants. My usual go-to when it comes to history tends to be Early American and European, but for this project I was able to bring in a blend of all three for a fictional retelling of key events—and that was exciting!
By combining the elements of Love, Loss, and Legend, I hope I have created a story that not only entertains but moves readers as well. And I hope you love it!
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 25
Reading Is My SuperPower, June 26
For the Love of Literature, June 27 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, June 27
Just the Write Escape, June 28
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 29
Texas Book-aholic, June 30
A Baker’s Perspective, July 1 (Author Interview)
April Hayman, Author, July 1
Inklings and notions, July 2
For Him and My Family, July 3
Vicky Sluiter, July 4 (Author Interview)
Betti Mace, July 6
Book Love, July 7 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
deb’s Book Review, July 8
To celebrate her tour, Andrea is giving away the grand prize of a $75 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.