4 Stars Out Of 5
1841 Memphis, TN.
August 17, 2012
Mature reading audience.
1851, Memphis, TN. After being widowed, Jeanne Bettencourt struggled to make ends meet for her and her six-year-old daughter, Marvel, as a chambermaid at the Gayoso House Hotel. Jeanne was always leery and alert when working in the rooms of the men staying at the hotel. Even her daughter was aware that "she didn't like men very much." The real issue is that she didn't trust them.
Her life was about to change for the better when a distant, unknown Hardin relative passed away and she became a half-heir to his estate-a paddle wheeler steamboat. She grew up on one, so she was elated. However, the other half-heir was Clint Hardin, a tough man who had his way with women. Being a Christian woman, Jeanne was uncomfortable "living" on the boat with him, but both needed money, so they made a business arrangement where she would pilot the boat and he would keep up the mechanical end. Though courting wealthy plantation owner, Mr. George Masters, Jeanne began her new life as a steamer pilot. Masters wasn't happy with the arrangement, but she needed income.
The River Rose, by Gilbert Morris, was an entertaining and great historical book! I found that the descriptive events of the daily trappings of the river, the gathering of supplies, the procuring of new customers and cargo, the bantering from the male pilots, the noise and filth of the docks, and the keeping of the logs during the eight-day trips made for an interesting read. I loved the bantering of being nicknamed the â€˜petticoat' pilot. The author fires up the ante with Clint falling for Jeanne and an unexpected shock waiting for Jeanne at the end of their fourth run.
Though I did not care for Clint's lifestyle before working on the steamer, he endeared himself to me as he was so gentle and caring for Marvel. He thoroughly loved the little girl. All the other characters who worked the steamer each had their own little quirks, but I really enjoyed Ezra Givens. He seemed gruff and crusty hard, but he was really a softy on the inside. He'd been working the steamer with the previous owner, and remained as part of the â€˜inheritance.'
Jeanne's thankfulness to God for the small things in life as a chambermaid, and the circumstances that followed her after receiving the steamer, were a light to those around her, and was instrumental for steering her through her daughter's illness and the shocking news and trial upon returning from her river trip. Her care for Roberty came from a heart willing to help this homeless child.
Having read other books by Mr. Morris, I knew I'd find an excellent read with detailed descriptions of every episode. He accomplished it once again. You will be amazed at how his writing will stay with you, as he has a way of gleaning and sharing historical information that sticks with you.
There was one thing that somewhat frustrated me. The title of the boat on the cover didn't match the name on the boat in the book. I kept waiting for it to be renamed. Not sure if that was intentional or an oversight. Though Jeanne had been raised on a steamer, I found it hard to imagine a single woman working on a steamer with all men, except for her daughter, in that time era.
The River Rose is Book 2 in a three-book series. However, The River Rose is a stand-alone novel with zero overlap in characters or plot lines between the books. They are a series in the sense that all three books take place on Mississippi River paddle wheelers during the 1850s.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H Publishing Group. 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.