In this story Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver have transported us back in time to Natchez, Mississippi, where we are introduced to life on the Mississippi River via steamboat.
Lily Anderson from the day she was born has had the love of the Mississippi in her blood, being raised on it until the accidental death of her mother when Lily was a young girl. Since that time Lily and her younger sisters have lived with her mother's parents because their father obviously didn't want the responsibly of raising three daughters alone.
Lily's grandfather has just passed away and now her Aunt Dahlia's husband is taking over the family's responsibilities and wants to force Lily into marrying a much older man. Lily does not want to marry this man or any other man for that matter, since her father's abandonment Lily has never trusted men. After a talk with her Grandmother Lily is able to get her inheritance without having to go through her uncle. Little does her grandmother know that Lily will soon be back on the same river that took her daughter's life, as co-owner of a beautiful steamboat, the Hattie Belle.
Blake Matthews' father was a minister but in spite of that fact Blake finds himself on the Mississippi running gambling tables. Blake is well known for his honesty so if a man leaves his tables having lost all his money it wasn't because Blake cheated him. When the son of a well known business man comes to Blake's boat to have a little fun and leaves having signed an IOU giving Blake possession of the Hattie Belle, it wasn't Blake's fault lady luck had smiled on him. When he shows up at their mansion to claim the title Blake has no clue he will not be the only person with a claim to the Hattie Belle.
When Lily shows up to claim the Hattie Belle she is shocked to find Blake there already remodeling the boat to make it one of the best gambling boats to ever sail the Mississippi. Lily and Blake really butt heads when he finds out she will not allow any gambling on her boat, and since she has controlling interest it's decided the Hattie Belle will be carrying various cargo instead of gamblers.
I found this story to be quite a fun read, I loved all the characters, and I loved how Diane and Aaron brought them all to life. The storyline was easy to follow and I found myself quite drawn into it. I also enjoyed the way that Blake was shown the way to Christ. There were a few unexpected surprises and a lot of moments of wondering how it was going to end. All in all I greatly enjoyed it and would love to read more by these authors in the future.
I would like to say thank you to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for giving me an arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver in their new book, "Lily" Book One in the Song Of The River series published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. takes us into the life of Lily Anderson on a steamboat on the Mississippi in 1858.
From the back cover: Natchez Belle's Hopes and Dreams Ride on the Mississippi
Lily Anderson longs for a life of adventure, steaming down the Mississippi on a riverboat. But her relatives, wanting her to secure a future for herself and her two younger sisters, are intent on Lily marrying well and forgoing any chance of living out her dream. When a loveless match seems inevitable, Lily makes a last-ditch effort to avoid losing her freedom forever by purchasing the steamship Hattie Belle from the father of debonair Jean Luc Champney-unaware that her precious dowry garners only partial ownership of the vessel.
Roguish gambler Blake Matthews' dreams are finally beginning to take shape after a night of card playing won him the title to the Hattie Belle. But Blake's brimming confidence in a successful venture is dampened when he meets his new partner-Lily.
As their riverboat enterprise erupts into turmoil, can Lily and Blake discover that God is the One they can count on when all else fails? Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?
When I get to New Orleans one of the first things I am going to do is take a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi. The pacing is slow, there is the sound of the paddlewheel and there is the feeling of romance as you cruise by the cities and states of the South on the Big Muddy. Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver return us to a South that doesn't exist anymore with absolutely interesting characters interacting aboard a steamboat. Ms. Ashley and Mr. McCarver know how to tell a great story because they have filled it with tension. Blake and Lily do not get along, each one wants something different for the ship and Jean Luc Champney wants the title he lost to the ship back no matter what it takes. On top of all this romance is beginning between Blake and Lily and there is the danger that someone is trying to stop the business that Blake and Lily are trying to build. Many kudos to Ms. Ashley and Mr. McCarver for a truly memorable, fun book, I was sorry to see it end. The good news is Book Two in this series is not far away. And I am guessing that the focus will be on Lily's sisters. I can hardly wait.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. 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 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
In Lily, co-authors Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver, sweep us away to historical Natchez, Mississippi; replete with southern plantations, steamboats, magnificent balls, and the bustling sights and smells of the Mississippi River.
Lily Anderson and her two younger sisters, live with their grandmother, aunt and uncle on Les Fleurs Plantation, after the tragic death of their mother, and the abandonment of their father. Lily is feeling forced by her aunt and uncle to marry someone unsuitable, and concocts an incredible scheme...to leave the plantation and live where she has dreamed of living ever since she was a child-on the river in a steamship. She talks her grandmother into giving her her inheritance, and purchases the Hattie Belle, unaware that she is half owner with none other than the gambler, Blake Matthews!
Lily and Blake butt heads immediately as Lily wants to deliver cargo such as corn and sugarcane, whereas Blake wants to use it to create the biggest and best riverboat gambling casino on the Mississippi. Although Blake has beautiful, mesmerizing blue eyes, Lily has no intention of ever trusting another man after the abandonment of her father. But, when the wealthy and handsome, Jean Luc, begins to show an interest in Lily, has she finally found a man she can trust? And who becomes the captain of the Hattie Belle?...threatening to turn her world upside down? And who is out to destroy the Hattie Belle's business and why?
Ever since I watched the musical, Showboat, on tv years ago, I have loved the southern river settings with the steamboats and the big paddle wheels! This is my first novel by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver and it certainly did not disappoint. With wonderful main characters, and equally charming secondary characters, I was entranced to the very end! I loved the romantic tension between the main characters throughout the story, and the romance between Lily's slave and a crew member on the Hattie Belle stole my heart. A story of love, forgiveness, and salvation, the satisfying conclusion is guaranteed to leave you reaching for the tissues.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
I liked the idea of this book from the second I read the description. A girl owning a steamship, what fun! After a slow beginning the book really includes some fun adventures.
Lily does not want to marry unless it is for love. Running away from a proposed loveless marriage she uses her money to buy a steamship. What she does not realize is that money has only bought her half ownership, now she shares the ship with gambling man Blake Matthews. Will they work well together? Will they find love together or will Lily be tricked into a relationship she will not be happy in?
Overall the book was entertaining. I liked the setting, as I have not read many books set along the river like this one was. I thought the characters were described well and their actions followed their personalities. I gave this book 4/5 stars because although the setting was great, some of the dialog dragged the story down.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
In 1858 Natchez, Mississippi, Lily Anderson is determined to thwart a marriage of convenience. She embarks on a riverboat venture to keep her and her two sisters afloat financially. But gambler Blake Matthews has won part ownership of lily's riverboat. How will their business profit if he and the feisty Mississippi miss disagree about almost everything? The affluent jean Luc Champney will do anything to get back what he lost in a card game, including wooing and endangering the pretty new owner. Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?
I loved reading this book. I must admit that the cover didn't really draw me in, but as I started reading, I got interested very quickly. The author does a great job pulling the reader into the story and making you feel invested in her characters.
Lily is a great main character. She is spunky, funny, determined and strong. Blake is the perfect counterpart to her characteristics. I laughed out loud at them sometimes, picturing them arguing or working together.
I love books that have a theme of redemption and forgiveness. This book reminds us that no one is past being saved and no family struggle is beyond healing. God is big enough to fix any mess we find ourselves in during our lives.
I love that this is going to be a series and I even have a guess as to who the next main characters will be. I love when an author sets you up for the next book. It is one I will be watching for, for sure!