Friday, August 11, 2023

IN THE SHADOW OF THE RIVER by Ann H. Gabhart, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Give us our daily bread. And make Mama better so she can eat it with me. And forgive me for shooting that man. "

A five year old child's simple heartfelt prayer; her mother had been brutally stabbed and Jacci Reed had done the only thing in her power to protect them both. Mother and daughter now safely aboard The Kingston Floating Showboat, the secrets that had sent them there on that harrowing night flowed as swiftly as the currents beneath them . . . "in the shadow of the river".

Years passed; sharing life with her showboat family had proven good for Jacci, unconventional perhaps, but satisfying nonetheless. The traumatic memory of that fateful night had all but faded until . . . the boat hosts a powerful senator and a lovely member of his entourage. Jacci learns that "everything isn't always black or white. Much gray settles into our world like a muddy stream flowing into the green of the river. Mixtures of right and wrong." Once again, her life appears to be in danger.

"Sometimes it seems praying is all a person can do."

A lovely story! Boasting an easy word flow, cleverly crafted characters within their setting, nicely navigated plot twists, and alas! . . . the shy blush of romance, this book carries its readers along the shore line of a young woman's life who needs to know beyond her many doubts that "family" are those loved her, even before she was born. 


BackCover Blurb:

If all the world's a stage, Jacci will play her part.

She only hopes her story does not turn out to be a tragedy.

In 1881, Jacci Reed is only five years old when a man attempts to kidnap her from the steamboat her mother, Irena, works on. Badly wounded during the confrontation, Irena takes Jacci aboard the Kingston Floating Palace, a showboat tied up beside them. There, Jacci's actor grandfather tends to her mother, and Jacci gets a first taste of the life she will come to lead.

Fifteen years later, Jacci is an actress aboard that same showboat and largely contented with her adopted family of actors, singers, and dancers. Especially Gabe, who has always supported her, and the gruff grandfather she has come to know and love. Jacci's mother has been gone for years, but the memory of the altercation that ultimately took her life--and the cryptic things Jacci has overheard about her past--is always there, lurking in the back of her mind.

When someone on the showboat tries to kill Jacci, it's clear her questions demand answers. But secrets have a way of staying in the shadows . . . and the answers she craves will not come easily.

Revell Publishing, May 9, 2023
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:



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