First, There Is A River

Published October 29, 2011 by myliteraryleanings

Review of First, There Is A River by Kathy Steffen

Overview from www.bn.com: A family conceals a cruel secret.

Emma Perkins’ life appears idyllic. Her husband, Jared, is a hardworking farmer and a dependable neighbor. But Emma knows intimately the brutality prowling beneath her husband’s façade. When he sends their children away, Emma’s life unravels.

A woman seeks her spirit.

Deep in despair, Emma seeks refuge aboard her uncle’s riverboat, the Spirit of the River. She travels through a new world filled with colorful characters: captains, mates, the rich, the working class, moonshiners, prostitutes, and Gage, the Spirit’s reclusive engineer. Scarred for life from a riverboat explosion, Gage’s insight into heartache draws him to Emma, and as they heal together, they form a deep and unbreakable bond. Emma learns to trust that anything is possible, including reclaiming her children and facing her husband.

A man seeks revenge.

Jared Perkins makes a journey of his own. Determined to bring his wife home and teach her the lesson of her life, Jared secretly follows the Spirit. His rage burns cold as he plans his revenge for everyone on board.

Against the immense power of the river, the journey of the Spirit will change the course of their lives forever.

My Review:

I debated whether or not I should review this book for a while.  it had some really good points but it also had some things in it that I just didn’t like.  I don’t think other people will agree with some of the things that I say here however and for this reason I thought about not posting on this one at all.  I don’t like to say bad things about other authors or their stories if I can help it.  And anyway, this one was not the worst one that I have reviewed.  For sure, it is not one of my favorites but it is not one of the worst.

What I didn’t like about it most of all was the way certain characters were portrayed.  These would be the Christian characters.  It seemed to me, especially in the first half of the book, that all of the people who believed in Christianity or the Bible were made the most vilified of all.  Case in point would be Jared Perkins, the main characters abusive husband who believed he was not only justified in beating her to teacher her a lesson but also was justified in murdering and hurting people as he attempted to bring her back to her hell in his house.

While I know that there are some people who maybe like that, I don’t think it is fair to paint the majority of the people who believe and in the Bible with that brush which is what this book seems to do, especially in the first part.  It is not until the second part that we see any remotely positive Christian characters in this book which is a shame.  I wonder too how this book would be received were it to treat people of any other religion the same way.

The other thing that I didn’t like about this book was the title.  It sounded awkward to me.  This wasn’t a major issue but it seemed weird.

The story overall was a good one.  It held my interest and kept me guessing even while it sometimes offended me.  The ending was also justified and left room for another book which it should do since this is series.  However, I don’t think I will be reading  the next one.  I am not sure I would want to read the author demonizing Christians again.  I doubt it will bother anyone else but as for me, I think I can find other books to spend my time reading that wouldn’t make me feel like the world is so unfair towards people who believe in the Bible: even if it is.

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