This was the 3rd book in a series. I believe you benefit the most by reading all three, in order. Book 3 introduced new heartache into the series and also redemption and reconciliation. I like how Carlson wove the history of the times into the story. Her characters, in all 3 books, are impacted by society. Although it is Christian historical fiction, it is a series that gentle weaves God's plan into the story. This is a fabulous series that spans 50+ years of time, even more if you consider the backstory of Anna's childhood and the way-back story of her grandmother.
I am really enjoying this series and plan to use it for a Young Moms study. BUT I am very disappointed in the inconsistencies in this final book to especially the first book.
For example, in the first, RIVER'S SONG, Hazel explained that she was the mother of two children and three grandchildren. In RIVER'S END, as Hazel falls ill, we're told that she only has a son and grandson. What happened to the daughter and two granddaughters?
There's also a dialogue between Hazel and Anna that is almost word-for-word idenical in books 1 and 3. Hazel suggests turning the property into a bed-and-breakfast (because they're all the rage on the east coast). Anna asks what a bed-and-breakfast is. Thus the beginning of the Inn at Shining Waters. In RIVER'S END, 20 years later, Hazel suggests turning the Inn into a bed-and-breakfast (because they're all the rage on the east coast). And, Anna actually asks, "What's that?" Really?
I'm also disappointed with glaring typos in this book--the worst is just laughable. Right after the sharing their grief over the death of Hazel, Anna and Jewel work it out by peeling apples together. I'm not kidding, but the next paragraph begins, "Jewel helped Hazel to make the pie filling." Really? no one caught that one? Jewel helped a dead woman make pie filling? It's not THAT kind of story.
As I said, I will be using this series, because the message of generational forgiveness is told with honesty and sincerity. But these inconsistencies in the third installment seem to make it a formula book--like it was hurriedly written to meet the publisher's deadline. And then of course, hurriedly proofed and edited.
Melody Carlson in her new book, "River's End" Book Three in The Inn at Shining Waters series published by Abingdon Press takes us to Oregon in 1978.
From the back cover: Three generations of women face brokenness, humility and hope.
In the final story of The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna Larson's granddaughter, Sarah, is beginning to find her independence. But her relationships with her parents suffer as a result and she travels away from all that is familiar.
The solace of the river calls Sarah back but surprises await upon her return and three generations of family heartbreak and disappointments converge at Shining Waters. Reuniting with her mother and grandmother, however, shows Sarah the conquering strength of family and faith.
Generations is the theme of this novel and it is marvelous in the hands of master storyteller Melody Carlson. This time the focus is on Sarah Larson but Anna and Lauren still have roles to play as well. There is something about the river, Shining Waters, that helps to bring about renewal of the soul. And, in this case, it is Sarah who needs the power of the river and the Holy Spirit to provide reconciliation and forgiveness.
Melody Carlson knows how to tell a story and in "River's End" she has given us a book where we can explore how to deal with our own pain while watching how Sarah deals with hers. "River's End" is an amazingly beautiful story of how God can take our hurts and turn the bad into things that are good. I liked this book and am sorry to see this series end.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press. 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."
We all know at some point in our lives, chapters in our life stories must reach an end before new one's begin and that is just what happens in the conclusion to the Inn at the Shining Water Series of books by Melody Carlson, River's End. It's a book of some sadness, anxiety, hope and of course new waters to chart, but it is also filled with the most heartbreaking and sweetest goodbyes as well.
If you have followed the series from the beginning with River's Song, you learn about Anna's story and her Indian heritage and why the river holds a place for her people and offers any who come to live here a chance for healing and restoration. In River's Call, we learn about Anna's daughter Lauren and the healing of a broken relationship between Anna and Lauren, and finally now a grandmother in River's End, and the prodigal returning home of her missing granddaughter, Sarah who has gone without a trace for two years. She has answered the call of the river and came home.
Now as history repeats itself, mother and daughter are at odds and bitterness between the two continues to escalate as one tries to heal and the other tries find a path towards forgiveness. Each is trying too hard to make the other one see the path towards new beginnings as Sarah returns home from living in a commune in Oregon that seems to have inspired a bit of sadness and harbors grudges towards her mother for not being good enough while she was growing up. Lauren on the other hand wants nothing more than to apologize and move forward without recognizing the pain and hurt that Sarah is carrying within her heart, she wants the quick band aid fix but the pain goes much deeper than Lauren realizes.
As Anna tries to help them work together to find healing along the water by working at the Inn during the summer season, it only seems to do nothing more but cause each of them to avoid the other for the sake of not getting into heated confrontations, and drive them further apart. Anna's mother-in-law, Hazel, returns home from a long trip in China only to return home ill. Anna hopes some old-fashioned home made remedies might do her some good but soon we find out that Hazel's heart has grown much older than she feels and Anna and Clark along with some of the readers must find a way to say good-bye to a loveable character that has been so prominent from the very beginning. Will Lauren and Sarah find healing in the passing legacy Hazel has to leave behind, or will the river's call go unanswered between the two?
I received River's End compliments of Abingdon Press and Net Galley for my honest review. In this series it shows the lasting consequences that can happen when we let bitterness poison our hearts and keep us from the opportunity to say our final good-byes to those we love the most. It shows how forgiveness isn't about letting someone off the hook for the pain they have caused, but more about the healing that happens within our own hearts when we can let the burden go and finally move forward in freedom spiritually. While the river I believe is a metaphor for the spiritual river all of us have running through our lives, we must all heed to its call and return home to God, for without it we will be left in a faithless drought and always be searching in thirst for something to fill it unless it's God. Only He can fill the emptiness in anyone's life and that's why I rate this series a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. Trust me, you'll want to read this series from the first book to gain all the insight you can from Melody Carlson's words!
This is the last novel in this series of The Inn at Shining Waters. If you have not read the other two, you will miss the meaning of much of the story line.
In this novel, Sarah returns to the river. She has been in a religious commune and has suffered because of it. Anna tries to help her become whole again.
The relationship is difficult between Sarah and her mom, Lauren, who is also at the Inn. Sarah can only remember the hurts her mom caused when she had been addicted to drugs. Even though Lauren has changed, Sarah refuses to see her. When the two do come in contact, Sarah runs away again.
This novel was the slowest in the trilogy. It takes place during the era of the Jonestown Massacre so you learn much about religious communes of that era, especially in Oregon. I did find the plot repetitive and slow. There is much thinking by the characters that I felt really bogged the story down. The ending was very predictable.
I received a complimentary galley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.