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River to Redemption

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Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now ninete Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.


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Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now ninete Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. Based partly on a true story, Ann H. Gabhart's latest historical novel is a tour de force. The vividly rendered town of Springfield and its citizens immerse readers in a story of courage, betrayal, and honor that will stick with them long after they turn the last page.

30 review for River to Redemption

  1. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    One of my favorite books I've read this year. I love a book that challenges me. How did this one challenge me? It had information about the cholera epidemic of 1833 which challenged me to look up more information about it. I love when a book does this. The author has evidently done her research on the historically rich book. Amazingly this book is based on true facts. Louis, the slave was an amazing person. Totally selfless! Very impressed by this book. Pub Date 03 Jul 2018 I was given a complime One of my favorite books I've read this year. I love a book that challenges me. How did this one challenge me? It had information about the cholera epidemic of 1833 which challenged me to look up more information about it. I love when a book does this. The author has evidently done her research on the historically rich book. Amazingly this book is based on true facts. Louis, the slave was an amazing person. Totally selfless! Very impressed by this book. Pub Date 03 Jul 2018 I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

    4.5 stars What a beautiful book this was. The author portrays the time period and hardships they went through perfectly. I was immediately drawn into this story and found myself picking it up every chance I got. The book starts out with Adria ( one of the main characters ) as just a little girl. There are 7 chapters during that time before switching to the time the book is focused on. Honestly, I loved that it spent so much time in the past. So often books will just quickly tell you a little bit 4.5 stars What a beautiful book this was. The author portrays the time period and hardships they went through perfectly. I was immediately drawn into this story and found myself picking it up every chance I got. The book starts out with Adria ( one of the main characters ) as just a little girl. There are 7 chapters during that time before switching to the time the book is focused on. Honestly, I loved that it spent so much time in the past. So often books will just quickly tell you a little bit about what’s happened and then move things forward. This book really took the time to show you the hardships these characters went through, and that immediately pulled me in. These characters went through so much but they also gained a lot. Once the story moved forward 12 years I found myself still loving it the same. No, there wasn’t a ton of things happening left and right. The story really just focused on life and the little things and that made it beautiful. Adria is a dreamer. She dreams of bigger things. Of finding someone you love to marry. Not just because it’s be convenient. Her and Ruth love to read, while Ruth also enjoyed poetry. This book wasn’t full of action but it was still a delight to read. And then there’s also the slaves. The book showed how selfless these people are and how they really are just grateful just to be alive. I immediately loved Louis and Matilda in seeing how they always put others in front of themselves. Louis is definitely one of the parts that made this book special. He was such a perfect character always thinking of others before himself. Towards the end of the book things picked up and everything really came together. While I didn’t mind the simpleness of this book, I did enjoy all that started happening towards the end. Decisions were made, people left, and things changed. Life went on and everything perfectly fell into place at the end. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and I definitely recommend it. It’s a beautiful story about heartbreak, freedom, and new beginnings. “I received a free copy of this book in exchange of my honest review. All thoughts are my own and I wasn’t required to write a positive review”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen.

    . . BEAUTIFUL!!!! Sometimes I struggle to write that Five Star Review because, honestly, all I really want to do is tell everyone to go out and buy a copy of the book. And then give it a hug. This book is such a huggable book. A super fantastic huggable book! River to Redemption is inspiring, uplifting, and engaging. It’s heartbreaking as well as heartwarming. It’s absolutely a tearjerker. The characters are beautifully written and all had strong faith even in times of hardship. Louis especially beli . . BEAUTIFUL!!!! Sometimes I struggle to write that Five Star Review because, honestly, all I really want to do is tell everyone to go out and buy a copy of the book. And then give it a hug. This book is such a huggable book. A super fantastic huggable book! River to Redemption is inspiring, uplifting, and engaging. It’s heartbreaking as well as heartwarming. It’s absolutely a tearjerker. The characters are beautifully written and all had strong faith even in times of hardship. Louis especially believed in the power of prayer. Louis had a remarkably strong voice in all of his scenes. I could hear him as I read his words. I loved the journeys both Adria and Ruth had over the course of the story and felt things wrapped up wonderfully for each of them. The story grew at a nice, steady pace. It was a gripping page turner in the best possible way. I couldn’t put it down. I just loved this book! This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ann H. Gabhart. It definitely won’t be my last! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell as part of the Revell Reads Blog Tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Subscribe so you don't miss new reviews as they go live! https://jengalaxy4.wordpress.com/

  4. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Ken Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who stayed in Springfield, Kentucky, when anyone with means had fled. A man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions. Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She's determined to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she'll face an uphill battle. This book contained an interesting story, but I felt the pace in the first half of the book was slow. I loved the characters, particularly, Louis. He was a gentle giant with a warm heart, a tender spirit, and a deep faith. Adria was an independent thinker; and, though surrounded by and courted by slave owners, she knew deep in heart that owning another human being and treating them like a commodity was wrong. She kept her thoughts to herself all while she was penning anonymous articles for northern newspapers in support of abolition. The second half of the plot picked up with more action both in Adria's love life and her more overt action in helping the slaves. Also Ruth, her adoptive mother, begins to realize it's time to stop mourning the loss of her husband and child and move on with life as well. Good secondary characters from Carlton the controlling boyfriend to derring-do Logan the drover who had his eyes on Adria. Pastor Robinson and his daughter Willeena played their part in everyone finding a new direction for their lives as well. Powerful, well written story. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    {3.5 stars} *I received this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own* I was pulled in by the first page, drawn into the sorrow of the losses during a Cholera outbreak, and taken through the journey of Adria and Ruth. It was a slower read, and while parts gripped me, I was able to set aside the book easily. I enjoyed the progression of the story halfway through...the relationship of Ruth and Adria was well done and I absol {3.5 stars} *I received this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts are my own* I was pulled in by the first page, drawn into the sorrow of the losses during a Cholera outbreak, and taken through the journey of Adria and Ruth. It was a slower read, and while parts gripped me, I was able to set aside the book easily. I enjoyed the progression of the story halfway through...the relationship of Ruth and Adria was well done and I absolutely loved the preacher :) I could really understand his struggle with praying with belief, and trusting that the Lord knows best. Then, something went a little stale for me. It mainly had to do with Adria's scenes...I never could fully sympathize with her interests. Once she goes to a tavern to raise money for something, and her reasoning for doing it is because the people there are people just like people who go to church. Okay, I can understand that, but she seemed to totally shrug off her testimony as a Christian. There were a couple other things like the phrase "Listen to your heart" Ruth used when Adria didn't know what to do, that frustrated me. I'm getting sick of that phrase, and the funny thing was that it wasn't even consistent in this book. Technically, if the character were to listen to their heart there was no need for them to pray (which, is totally wrong)! And then the last 1/4 of the book just kind of all seemed a haste end to something amazing, but didn't leave me with that full effect at all. Spiritual content was spot on, and I loved all the Bible conversations Will and Ruth shared. Very in-depth. Also, the romance on Ruth's side of things was so sweet :) Adria's romances were tolerable (two guys vying for one girl really need to get old sometime), but I did like how things were concluded with her. Overall, there were a couple kisses, not detailed at all. Louis saved the story for me. Every time he spoke, he was full of wisdom and brought a smile to my face. Maybe it was the absent of him toward the end that brought the extra disappointment. Overall, I still found this book enjoyable, and I would definitely recommend to historical readers.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Sunnie

    I have truly enjoyed this author's writings. This one grabs you from the first and keeps holding your attention to the very end. What a moving story about a very sweet little girl. Her story is remarkable. It's very touching. You will love how the historical events give you an understanding of the life of many people of that time period. Each time period has it's own hardships and Cholera definitely was a frightening disease. The book is so good you won't be able to put it down. I highly recommen I have truly enjoyed this author's writings. This one grabs you from the first and keeps holding your attention to the very end. What a moving story about a very sweet little girl. Her story is remarkable. It's very touching. You will love how the historical events give you an understanding of the life of many people of that time period. Each time period has it's own hardships and Cholera definitely was a frightening disease. The book is so good you won't be able to put it down. I highly recommend this! I received an ebook copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Sarah

    River to Redemption is a great book! I really enjoy books by Ann Gabhart and this book was just as fantastic as her other books. This book does not disappoint, especially with the history and time period in which this book was written for. The characters are fantastic and the faith they displayed is amazing! Even when things were looking dim, they still continued to pray, believe and God still saw them through. This book is a great romance, adventure and make sure the tissues are close by.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    From the moment I began, to the very last page the author drew me in with this story. I was fully immersed and living in the period, and life was not easy, and then I read that although fiction, this story is based on fact and Louis was a real person. The author gives a great look at life in the South during the period slavery in this country. Also, how a slave saves lives and selflessly takes care of the dead, doing what he feels God wants him to do. Loved how the story circles around and with g From the moment I began, to the very last page the author drew me in with this story. I was fully immersed and living in the period, and life was not easy, and then I read that although fiction, this story is based on fact and Louis was a real person. The author gives a great look at life in the South during the period slavery in this country. Also, how a slave saves lives and selflessly takes care of the dead, doing what he feels God wants him to do. Loved how the story circles around and with great loss comes gain, and more that could be imagined. The only problem I had was that the book ended and I really wanted to continue. A really awesome read! I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Revell, and was not required to give a positive review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Pray Believing What a powerfully moving novel! All the more so because it is based on a true story. Gabhart has done an incredible job of weaving together fact and fiction into a compelling tale of grit and promise. Beautifully written -- the author has a knack with words that settle deep into a reader's soul. I felt my way through to the end. Heartbreak and anger. Fear and frustration. I was on tenterhooks all the way through. Adria -- with her spark of independence that leads her to challenge th Pray Believing What a powerfully moving novel! All the more so because it is based on a true story. Gabhart has done an incredible job of weaving together fact and fiction into a compelling tale of grit and promise. Beautifully written -- the author has a knack with words that settle deep into a reader's soul. I felt my way through to the end. Heartbreak and anger. Fear and frustration. I was on tenterhooks all the way through. Adria -- with her spark of independence that leads her to challenge the social norms of the day. Her tender friendship with a slave named Louis that leads her question the morality of slavery. Ruth -- Adria's foster mother. A widow who buried her heart along with her husband. A secret poet, a gifted teacher with a talent for baking that provides a much needed second income. Will -- Widowed pastor with a floundering faith. He knows the right things to say and do to shepherd his flock, but his convictions have dimmed. And Louis -- stalwart man of faith who teaches them all what "pray believing" actually looks like. "All the time prayers are answered if you pray believin' the Lord is there with you. He can get you through some hard times like them we've had here tonight." (p. 295) Simply put -- River to Redemption is definitely one of my top picks for 2018! Book provided courtesy of Baker Publications and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    The cholera epidemic of 1833 has hit Springfield, Kentucky. Those who could fleed the town, leaving behind the ill and a few slaves. Louis, owned by the hotel proprietor, remained behind, burying the dead and caring for the sick. Adria Starr was orphaned at the age of seven after her parents and little brother died from cholera. Suffering from cholera herself, Adria was rescued by Louis and cared for by the hotel cook, another slave, Aunt Tilda. Wishing to give Adria the best chance at a happy l The cholera epidemic of 1833 has hit Springfield, Kentucky. Those who could fleed the town, leaving behind the ill and a few slaves. Louis, owned by the hotel proprietor, remained behind, burying the dead and caring for the sick. Adria Starr was orphaned at the age of seven after her parents and little brother died from cholera. Suffering from cholera herself, Adria was rescued by Louis and cared for by the hotel cook, another slave, Aunt Tilda. Wishing to give Adria the best chance at a happy life, Louis brings her to the home of Ruth Harmon, a widow who lost her husband in the epidemic. Ruth struggles to move past her grief, but does her best to raise Adria to become a mature, self sufficient woman. Having formed close relationships with Louis and Aunt Tilda, Adria abhors slavery, but must tread carefully so as not to tarnish the reputation of Ruth or herself. Adria does though find ways to live her convictions. I loved Louis and his unwavering faith and how he believed his prayers were always heard. A wonderful story of faith, compassion and courage. The author notes at the end of the story that the actions of Louis are based upon a real person and historical events.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Laura

    I can always count on an Ann Gabhart book to be good. And River to Redemption lived up to my expectations and more. What surprised me most about this book was the comments at the end. It was based on a true story and so it makes the story all the more poignant. Set during the cholera epidemic of 1833, the story centers around Louis, a slave, who instead of sprinting for freedom when his owners left town to escape the epidemic, stayed behind to care for the sick and bury the dead. During this peri I can always count on an Ann Gabhart book to be good. And River to Redemption lived up to my expectations and more. What surprised me most about this book was the comments at the end. It was based on a true story and so it makes the story all the more poignant. Set during the cholera epidemic of 1833, the story centers around Louis, a slave, who instead of sprinting for freedom when his owners left town to escape the epidemic, stayed behind to care for the sick and bury the dead. During this period he saves a little girl named Adria whose entire family dies during the epidemic. She clings to Louis and grows up to love him as family. But Louis knows that he can't bring up a little white girl, so he prays. And Louis is big on prayer and believing that God will answer. When Louis meets Ruth Harmon, a young widow whose husband also perished during the epidemic, he proposes she take care of Adria and that is exactly what she does. As is the case with all of Ms. Gabhart's books, she draws her readers in with well-developed characters and a story that is inspirational. Yes, there is romance and danger and a valuable lesson on prayer. I stayed up late reading this one and you will too!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A compelling story based on a bit of real history, set in antebellum Kentucky! An unlikely group of people are brought together because of a tragic event: the cholera epidemic of 1833. A young orphaned girl finds shelter and friendship with the help of slaves who come to her aid. Skipping ahead to 1845, the story picks up bringing to life a tale of courage and faith. "One plus the Lord can do mighty things now and again." This steady paced story drew me in as Adria had many difficult decisions to A compelling story based on a bit of real history, set in antebellum Kentucky! An unlikely group of people are brought together because of a tragic event: the cholera epidemic of 1833. A young orphaned girl finds shelter and friendship with the help of slaves who come to her aid. Skipping ahead to 1845, the story picks up bringing to life a tale of courage and faith. "One plus the Lord can do mighty things now and again." This steady paced story drew me in as Adria had many difficult decisions to make, and her convictions to help Louis moved her into action. I liked Ruth and how her gentle yet firm guidance with growing faith influenced Adria. The additional character of Will, the struggling pastor, added a lot to the story, and brought up real questions of faith, like why would a good God allow terrible things to happen. The importance of prayer, especially "praying with believing" was an uplifting theme. It made me examine my own lack of faith at times in view of bleak circumstances, and served as a pertinent reminder that God can indeed work together all things for good, for those who love Him, as it says in Romans 8:28. Recommend for readers who enjoy historical Christian fiction, with a little tender romance. 4.5 stars (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  13. 3 out of 5

    Cheryl Baranski

    River to Redemption is a emotionally moving work of fiction by Ann H. Gabhart. This power story of a little girl that is orphaned in this epidemic cared for by a couple of slaves until she is taken in by a widow. Adria yearns to do what is right by those that have taken care of her. Even though it is still a time where slavery is still supported. She will fight to do what she knows in her heart is right. I was moved to tears by this power story that Ann H. Gabhart has written. I highly recommend River to Redemption is a emotionally moving work of fiction by Ann H. Gabhart. This power story of a little girl that is orphaned in this epidemic cared for by a couple of slaves until she is taken in by a widow. Adria yearns to do what is right by those that have taken care of her. Even though it is still a time where slavery is still supported. She will fight to do what she knows in her heart is right. I was moved to tears by this power story that Ann H. Gabhart has written. I highly recommend River to Redemption.

  14. 5 out of 5

    April

    River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart is a poignant and riveting story set in 1834 Kentucky during a time of the devastating cholera epidemic. Courage, betrayal, and honor with have readers turning pages as they follow Adria Starr and Louis, a slave who chose to save lives instead of gaining his freedom. Ms. Gabhart intertwines a true life story with fiction. What a powerful and compelling story of faith, hope and determination. "I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are m River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart is a poignant and riveting story set in 1834 Kentucky during a time of the devastating cholera epidemic. Courage, betrayal, and honor with have readers turning pages as they follow Adria Starr and Louis, a slave who chose to save lives instead of gaining his freedom. Ms. Gabhart intertwines a true life story with fiction. What a powerful and compelling story of faith, hope and determination. "I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review."

  15. 3 out of 5

    Kee Hoo

    When she was seven, Adria Starr's whole world fell apart. Her mama, daddy, and little brother all fell victim to a cholera epidemic that struck their small Kentucky town. A local man (who fled the town at the first whisper of disease), owned a slave named Louis who stayed & did what he could for the survivors and buried all 53 of the dead. Louis knew that he could not be responsible for Missy Adria, so he takes her to the school teacher's residence, the teacher died, but his wife Ruth Harmon When she was seven, Adria Starr's whole world fell apart. Her mama, daddy, and little brother all fell victim to a cholera epidemic that struck their small Kentucky town. A local man (who fled the town at the first whisper of disease), owned a slave named Louis who stayed & did what he could for the survivors and buried all 53 of the dead. Louis knew that he could not be responsible for Missy Adria, so he takes her to the school teacher's residence, the teacher died, but his wife Ruth Harmon was alive, though grieving the loss of her beloved husband. Ruth agreed to care for Adria, with Louis checking in regularly and doing odd jobs for the two ladies. When Louis' owner abruptly dies, his sons decide to sell all of their fathers' belongings, including his slaves. Adria does not believe in slavery and makes it her mission to convince the town to purchase Louis and give him the freedom that he deserves, that all mankind deserves. A thought provoking book, well worth many readings. I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing, with no obligation for a review.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Connie Saunders

    I love it when an author reads a historical fact and decides to create a story around it. This is what Ann H. Gabhart has done in River to Redemption. From the first page I was caught up in the lives of Adria, Louis, Matilda and Ruth in my home state of Kentucky. It is 1833 when the cholera epidemic starts to claim lives in Springfield, Kentucky and families are changed forever. Seven year old Adria Starr loses her mother, father and baby brother to this dreaded disease and in a matter of days s I love it when an author reads a historical fact and decides to create a story around it. This is what Ann H. Gabhart has done in River to Redemption. From the first page I was caught up in the lives of Adria, Louis, Matilda and Ruth in my home state of Kentucky. It is 1833 when the cholera epidemic starts to claim lives in Springfield, Kentucky and families are changed forever. Seven year old Adria Starr loses her mother, father and baby brother to this dreaded disease and in a matter of days she becomes an orphan. The scene when a "black giant" finds her with her dead mother and baby brother will forever remain in my mind. Her fear of this man and her reluctance to leave her mommy and baby Eddie change when he carries her from her house and "away from the bad air" and takes her to his friend Matilda Sims. It is here that Adria finds love and healing and she would have been content to stay with Matilda and Louis forever but they are both black and Louis knows Springfield society will never accept this. He asks the widow of the recently deceased school teacher if she will give Adria a home and we see a family being born. The characters in this story are very well developed. Adria is like most children and she sees people with her heart and not her eyes. The color of Matilda and Louis's skin has no affect on her love for them. Matilda wants Louis to cross the Ohio River and seek freedom but he feels obligated to remain with his master. Louis is a wise man who often quotes the Bible and he feels that God had a reason to keep him from being one of the few who didn't develop cholera. Kind, caring and faithful, Louis is based on a real person and he reminds me of some older black gentlemen that I knew in my childhood. At first the character Ruth Harmon feels inferior to care for Adria but we see a bond develop and grow between them. Sometimes we all just to need to trust God and let Him do the rest! River to Redemption spans the years between 1833 and 1845 and readers see how Kentucky was affected by the cholera epidemic that ravaged the area in 1833. A few miles from my own home there is a cemetery where the majority of the graves were for cholera victims. This story allows us to also witness slavery and the beginning of abolition. We watch Adria as she takes up Matilda's efforts in encouraging Louis to seek freedom and the beginning of her secretive support of the abolitionist movement. We rejoice in the strong family unit that was the result of Louis's rescue of seven year old Adria Starr and his wise decision to seek Ruth Harmon's help. And when we read the Author's Note we can feel pride in the citizens of Springfield, Kentucky and their efforts to purchase the real Louis's freedom from slavery. This book has tragedy and loss but it is also filled with love, faith, hope and the reminder that families are not always created by birth. I appreciate the many references to Bible scripture throughout the book and I especially love that "pray believing" is the cental thought woven throughout this story Ann H. Gabhart is a Kentucky author and she has written an outstanding book about our state. I recommend River to Redemption for anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction and I wish that I could give it more than the five stars available! I received a complimentary copy of this book but I wasn't obligated to post a review. All opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I am sorry to say this is the first book I have read by Ann H. Gabhart. I can promise you this will not be my last. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. At he end of this novel, I was surprised and blessed to learn that this was about a true event. I would suggest that you keep a box of Kleenex close by. Ms. Gabhart has a wonderful way of telling historical stories that take place in small towns. There wasn't a lot know about many diseases in 1833. When a cholera epidemic started i I am sorry to say this is the first book I have read by Ann H. Gabhart. I can promise you this will not be my last. This is one of my favorite books so far this year. At he end of this novel, I was surprised and blessed to learn that this was about a true event. I would suggest that you keep a box of Kleenex close by. Ms. Gabhart has a wonderful way of telling historical stories that take place in small towns. There wasn't a lot know about many diseases in 1833. When a cholera epidemic started in Springfield, Kentucky, people who could, left town. It was thought that this disease was spread through bad air. Later we would learn it is typically contracted through infected water The story starts with Adria Starr, at age seven. She is lying on the floor next to her mother and baby brother, wondering what she can do to help them. She does not want them to stop breathing like her daddy did. She now too is sick and too weak to help them any longer. There is a knock on the front door and in walks Louis, our true hero. He is a man full of faith, love, and generosity. He was given the keys to the hotel by the owner, his boss and master, told to watch over it and take care of things. When Louis had a chance to gain his freedom, he stayed behind taking care of the sick and burying the dead. Before the pandemic was over, Louis buried fifty-eight people. The author has a wonderful way of developing her characters, there are so many in this novel that you will fall in love with. This was not an easy time in history and sometimes it was hard to read. Adria, understandably, had a hard time when twelve years later, this same man is being sold by his owner, despite all the things he did for the town. I loved the way Ms. Gabhart was able to pull light out of this darkness. Louis was always encouraging Adria with scripture and a smile. There are so many wonderful quotes in this book. I thing my favorite is “You know what made me feel safest after my parents died?” ...“Adria stepped closer to him and took his hand. “I always knew I was safe when you were holding my hand.” His fingers curled around her hand. “You was the sweetest li'l child. When I first laid eyes on you that day a layin' there by your “mama's body and you looked up at me, your big brown eyes went straight to my heart. I knowed the Lord aimed for me to take care of you.” “Now he wants me to take care of you. The two of us, we'll pray the way you did for me when I was a little girl, and the Lord will show us a way.” I loved this book and would recommend it. It's one I may have to read a second time. I received this book from Revell Publishers through NetGalleys. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Erin Laramore

    Ann Gabhart is renown for heartfelt stories from small-town America and this one is no different. This book takes place in a small town of Springfield, KY in the early to mid 1800s, starting with the Cholera epidemic that swept through the world in 1833. It's then that we meet young Adria Starr, who loses her parents and baby brother to the epidemic. She's found in a very sickly state by a slave named Louis, who was left behind when his owner fled town to avoid the epidemic and left Louis in cha Ann Gabhart is renown for heartfelt stories from small-town America and this one is no different. This book takes place in a small town of Springfield, KY in the early to mid 1800s, starting with the Cholera epidemic that swept through the world in 1833. It's then that we meet young Adria Starr, who loses her parents and baby brother to the epidemic. She's found in a very sickly state by a slave named Louis, who was left behind when his owner fled town to avoid the epidemic and left Louis in charge of his hotel. Louis takes young Adria back to the hotel where he and another slave, Matilda, nurse her back to health. Once folks begin to drift back into town, they find a new home for Adria. This sets the stage for our story that then jumps ahead 12 years. As a young adult, Adria chafes against social norms. She doesn't really want to be a proper lady and due to her love and affection for the slaves who saved her life, she has some very unpopular opinions about abolishing slavery. This book addresses a lot of difficult topics - about love, freedom, being true to oneself, seeking and waiting on the perfect will of God, and redemption. It does so in a very heartfelt and beautiful way. If you enjoy good historical fiction (in reading the author's note, there is a lot more of this story that is fact than you might initially think) that pulls your heart-strings and really makes you think about what life was like in that time and place, this is one I would strongly recommend. While this story has closure, I do hope this is the beginning of a series as I'd love to see what happens in the next chapters of these characters' lives. Special thanks to Netgalley and Revell for allowing me and advanced e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to post a review and the thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Young Adria Starr knew from her early years that slavery was wrong after being cared for by Louis and Matilda, both slaves, after her family succumbed to cholera. Rivers of Redemption is a rich historical read with the detail research Ann Gabhart did for this captivating Historical Christian fiction story shining through. There are moments of tears flowing, hearing the dialect of the slaves talking to young Adria and others, strong faith of Louis, plenty of action, romance and opinionated charac Young Adria Starr knew from her early years that slavery was wrong after being cared for by Louis and Matilda, both slaves, after her family succumbed to cholera. Rivers of Redemption is a rich historical read with the detail research Ann Gabhart did for this captivating Historical Christian fiction story shining through. There are moments of tears flowing, hearing the dialect of the slaves talking to young Adria and others, strong faith of Louis, plenty of action, romance and opinionated characters. I appreciate the way Louis’ faith and saying “prayin’ believin’” God for an answer gave Adria just that with her actions as an adult. This is one powerful story that I’m still cherishing after closing the back cover. A book that will resonant with the strong faith message and the struggles of individuals before slavery was abolished in America. I look forward to more truly clean Historical Christian Fiction Romance books by this author.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Trisha Robertson (Joy of Reading)

    This gripping, heart-warming story with its central theme of prayer is a beautiful story that is sure to not only entertain but to uplift your spirits. It is just what I needed to read! I was easily pulled into the story right from the beginning. The events of the Cholera epidemic sweeping through this small Kentucky town, were heart-wrenching. Louis, an African slave took it upon himself to step in and help where needed. His unwavering faith in God, even through the difficult times is a testame This gripping, heart-warming story with its central theme of prayer is a beautiful story that is sure to not only entertain but to uplift your spirits. It is just what I needed to read! I was easily pulled into the story right from the beginning. The events of the Cholera epidemic sweeping through this small Kentucky town, were heart-wrenching. Louis, an African slave took it upon himself to step in and help where needed. His unwavering faith in God, even through the difficult times is a testament to his character. While not a face-paced story, I still found myself invested in the lives of the characters and and deeply moved by their struggles. We pray and unburden our hearts to the Father. He always answers. But sometimes the answers aren’t what we expected. Prayer changes things, and it changes us too! I especially appreciated the fact that this story was based partly on a true story. This book is a poignant reminder that faith and prayer go hand-in-hand. We each have the daily opportunity to be a beacon of faith and an example of what trusting in God looks like to the others in our communities. This engaging story is filled with moments of tender romance, laughter, adventure, tears of sadness and tears of joy, a couple of surprises and most importantly a strong faith. I give this story 4.5 stars and would encourage you to pick-up a copy for yourself to enjoy! (I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not required to write a positive review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.)

  21. 3 out of 5

    Becky Lewis

    Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well. Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues Ann Gabhart pens a painful look back at our past when not all were considered equal. To entertain the opposite thought, as a person of color could bring punishment or death; as a white, it could mean ostracization or physical danger as well. Gabhart’s narrative begins in the summer of 1833 when a cholera epidemic ran rampant around much of the US. Seven-year-old Adria Starr watches as her father, mother, and brother all die from the disease. Louis, a slave whom she has never before seen, rescues her and helps Matilda nurse Adria back to health. Louis is an amazing character. I love the way he trusts God, cares for others at risk to his own safety and does not seek the best in life for himself. Matilda longs for freedom but also possesses a very strong faith. Over and over, her response to obstacles is the faith-filled refrain, “The Lord will provide.” I love the way Adria, Ruth, Will, Carlton, and even Logan all show character development and great wrestling with life decisions. All have to decide what they will do with the question of slavery and how deeply will they get involved. What cost is each willing to pay to address the flowing tide that refuses to be ignored or dammed up? Who will find physical redemption and who will find redemption for his soul? I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand some of the soul-searching times leading up to the Civil War. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. No positive review was required. All opinions are strictly my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Clayton

    This author never lets me down, her books are just fantastic and most of them I needed the kleenex box at some point in the book. This book I can't say enough except if you are looking for a book to read and to love this is the book. One gentleman has a heart of gold and is just every woman's dream. He is one that has done so so much and thinks he hasn't done enough. I failed to mention this book is set in 1833. If you are looking for a winner book to read this is the book. Ann hit a grand slam This author never lets me down, her books are just fantastic and most of them I needed the kleenex box at some point in the book. This book I can't say enough except if you are looking for a book to read and to love this is the book. One gentleman has a heart of gold and is just every woman's dream. He is one that has done so so much and thinks he hasn't done enough. I failed to mention this book is set in 1833. If you are looking for a winner book to read this is the book. Ann hit a grand slam and if there were 10 stars that is what I would of rated it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    River To Redemption is such a heart warming, heart touching, goose bump - yes you got that right - goose bumps - story. You ask, "how can it be a goose bump story?" Well no - it is not a thriller - you get your goose bumps when you see GOD move in the lives of these characters - when you see Faith move during such a disastrous time such as a Cholera - a killer of a disease killing off people in a small Kentucky town. Isn't that where our help comes from? The LORD? There is unjustness, wrongness, River To Redemption is such a heart warming, heart touching, goose bump - yes you got that right - goose bumps - story. You ask, "how can it be a goose bump story?" Well no - it is not a thriller - you get your goose bumps when you see GOD move in the lives of these characters - when you see Faith move during such a disastrous time such as a Cholera - a killer of a disease killing off people in a small Kentucky town. Isn't that where our help comes from? The LORD? There is unjustness, wrongness, abandonment, righteousness and redemption die throughout the book. This is very moving - so very worth the read. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all my own. if you would like to read more of my Christian book reviews go to christianlybookreviewers.blogspot.com

  24. 3 out of 5

    Patty

    It was a bit slow getting started, but I am glad I stuck with it. In the end I would love to read more of Adria and Ruth’s story! Not sure if there’s going to be a sequel but I think the opportunity is definitely there.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Becca-Rae Weidel

    This was a wonderfully written story set in the 1830-40’s. It grips your heart right from the very beginning, when you see Adria’s entire family die from Cholera. Louis comes to her rescue and kindly lays her family to rest along with the many others who died from the illness. The bond that is created between them is undeniable. So twelve years later when Louis’s owner passes away, it’s easy to see how desperately Adria wants to buy his freedom to prevent him from going to the auction block. The This was a wonderfully written story set in the 1830-40’s. It grips your heart right from the very beginning, when you see Adria’s entire family die from Cholera. Louis comes to her rescue and kindly lays her family to rest along with the many others who died from the illness. The bond that is created between them is undeniable. So twelve years later when Louis’s owner passes away, it’s easy to see how desperately Adria wants to buy his freedom to prevent him from going to the auction block. There’s really no way for your heart to be left unaffected. I really liked how the author was able to reveal the hearts of her characters based on their life experiences. It gave them each a level of depth that not only made their stories more believable, but made empathy for them unavoidable. Everyone experienced some level of heartbreak in their lives, and it leads them to where they are intricately placed in the story. When they are able to let go of their pain and lean on the Lord, they are able to find true healing. This was encouraging to read. I also liked that the author didn’t minimize the pain that the characters went through, but instead showed how their pasts shaped their present. For example, Adria recognizes her pain in losing her family, but also realized that Ruth did her best in raising her despite her own flaws and pain. It was imperfect people helping and walking alongside other imperfect people. It was beautiful to see how the Lord could work through such a community. The author’s note reveals that while the story itself is fictional, it is partially based on a true story. Louis was a man that existed in real life. A lot of his story as revealed in the book is actually based on the real Louis’s experiences. Although the other characters were the imagination of the author, you are still able to see how the town would rally to buy his freedom. This made my heart smile. On a small note I also have to say that I LOVE the cover art for this book. I highly recommend this story! I was sucked in right from the beginning. It touched me emotionally and I’m very glad I read it. This wasn’t my first book by Ann H Gabhart, and it certainly won’t be my last 🙂 *I received a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley and the author in hopes of an honest review. I was not obligated to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    I received a free copy of this book for review. Opinions shared are mine. When I found out that Ann H. Gabhart’s new book River to Redemption was to be based in Springfield, Kentucky, I immediately put it at the top of my TBR. Imagine my delight in reading about familiar places like Springfield’s Main Street — where my uncle and grandfather used to own businesses — and Danville. The absolute best part, though, was learning about the amazing story of Louis and his good deeds, knowing that it was a I received a free copy of this book for review. Opinions shared are mine. When I found out that Ann H. Gabhart’s new book River to Redemption was to be based in Springfield, Kentucky, I immediately put it at the top of my TBR. Imagine my delight in reading about familiar places like Springfield’s Main Street — where my uncle and grandfather used to own businesses — and Danville. The absolute best part, though, was learning about the amazing story of Louis and his good deeds, knowing that it was a true part of Springfield’s history. Without River to Redemption, I would never have known about the amazing story of this Good Samaritan and his impact on the town. You can bet that I’ll look for his memorial the next time I visit my grandfather’s grave in Springfield’s cemetery. Aside from the historic event of the 1833 cholera epidemic, Gabhart’s story is beautifully developed through sweet characters and charming children. Some of the dialogue dragged on, and the love triangle seemed superfluous. However, I really liked seeing Ruth “grow up” to be a strong mother figure for Adria. Gabhart also gave a powerful voice to slaves of the pre-Civil War era. Aunt Tilda reminded me a bit of Aibileen from The Help. There is a definite spiritual theme in this book, but it’s a very natural part of the story. Finally, one of my biggest takeaways from River to Redemption was the idea to “pray believing.” I think I might get that stamped on a bracelet to remind me to have the right spirit about prayer. If you’re in need of a spiritual pick-me-up, check out this book!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    'That's all we can hope for, missy, when troubles comes our way, for the Lord to take whatever happens and help us to find some of those best things in the midst of it all.' Adria Starr is orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833 and a slave named Louis feels the need to care for her and find her a home. Twelve years later, his owner dies and his family decides to sell him. Adria can't bear the thought of that and has never forgotten what Louis did for her and what he still means to her. So she d 'That's all we can hope for, missy, when troubles comes our way, for the Lord to take whatever happens and help us to find some of those best things in the midst of it all.' Adria Starr is orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833 and a slave named Louis feels the need to care for her and find her a home. Twelve years later, his owner dies and his family decides to sell him. Adria can't bear the thought of that and has never forgotten what Louis did for her and what he still means to her. So she determines in her heart to find a way to buy Louis's freedom. But this is Kentucky and not many people share her beliefs that it's wrong for one person to own another. Ann Gabhart writes such down home, grab your heart and make you want to stay books. She seems to just know each character, their feelings and shows the reader the heart of all involved in her stories. There is a bit of actual history in this book and this one will capture your heart, make you smile and cry at the same time. *My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. My opinions are entirely my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Voss

    River to Redemption is my first encounter with Ann Gabhart's writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story before me. Based on the true events of a slave, Louis, who placed his own desires for freedom aside in order to faithfully serve his master and his town, only to have the town rally to purchase Louis and give him that longed for freedom, Gabhart brought to life pre Civil War Kentucky, a time ripe with slavery and all the social ideas/limitations that came with it. Gabhart flooded her novel wi River to Redemption is my first encounter with Ann Gabhart's writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story before me. Based on the true events of a slave, Louis, who placed his own desires for freedom aside in order to faithfully serve his master and his town, only to have the town rally to purchase Louis and give him that longed for freedom, Gabhart brought to life pre Civil War Kentucky, a time ripe with slavery and all the social ideas/limitations that came with it. Gabhart flooded her novel with expertly constructed characters who shone light into the time period and brought forth a message of praying with belief in a God who is able to do more than we can ever hope for or imagine. I highly recommend this book. It will make you think, give you hope, and fill you with delight as you turn each page. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions in this review are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    River to Redemption is yet another wonderful read from Ann H Gabhart. I loved the main character, Adria. She is a woman of strength, courage, and determination. She was a woman before her time. I admired her. The historical details are well written and so vivid that it was like I was right there living among those of the story. I highly recommend River to Redemption. I give this powerful and inspirational story five plus stars. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to writ River to Redemption is yet another wonderful read from Ann H Gabhart. I loved the main character, Adria. She is a woman of strength, courage, and determination. She was a woman before her time. I admired her. The historical details are well written and so vivid that it was like I was right there living among those of the story. I highly recommend River to Redemption. I give this powerful and inspirational story five plus stars. I received this book from the publisher, but was not required to write a review. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura Morningstar

    Full review can be read here: http://lauramorningstar.com/review-ri... I don’t even know where t o start with this book it was just so freaking good, I was captivated by the story from the first page through to the very last. As I have mentioned previously on this blog I am non-religious with a heavy sprinkle of paganism, meaning that Christian fiction is not something I go and hunt out. Enjoying historical fiction as I do however, does mean that there is often a crossover between the two genres Full review can be read here: http://lauramorningstar.com/review-ri... I don’t even know where t o start with this book it was just so freaking good, I was captivated by the story from the first page through to the very last. As I have mentioned previously on this blog I am non-religious with a heavy sprinkle of paganism, meaning that Christian fiction is not something I go and hunt out. Enjoying historical fiction as I do however, does mean that there is often a crossover between the two genres and so I will occasionally find myself reading a novel that has a strong religious theme. There are occasions when I find the religious elements off-putting especially when it feels that they are wedged into the story but this is definitely not the case with River to Redemption. Redemption, in all its forms, is very much a theme of the book. Can the town of Springfield redeem themselves for the ownership of slaves? Can the scoundrel character of Lucas? redeem himself for his actions? Can those who are kept as slaves redeem their freedom by crossing the river? The stronger and overarching theme though is that of faith. Especially faith after tragedy, faith when living through difficult circumstances and faith when life is trying its best to test that faith and courage. I personally don’t think it matters where your religious perspective lies, faith is an emotion that we all experience. Ann Galbraith transports you to 1833 and a town that is held in the vice like grip of a Cholera epidemic. The town of Springfield has been mainly abandoned as many are stuck down with the deadly illness, however two slaves Louis and Aunt Tilda are tending to the sick and dying. While caring for the community they happen upon a child Adira Starr whose family have all died, these beautiful souls rescue and care for her and find her a good home. The home they find is with Ruth Harmon a grief stricken widow whose husband has also died due to the illness, and who was dealt a double blow of miscarrying their child. Through the care of Louis and Aunt Tilda these two lost souls are brought together. 12 years later Aunt Tilda has died and the slave Louis is about to be put up for sale, the horrifying nature of humans being owned and the atrocities they faced is not shied away from. Ann Galbraith writes about it delicately and with a sympathetic hand suitable the setting of the novel. Adira Starr the little girl who was rescued by Louis is now 19 years old determined to see Louis given his freedom. It is fascinating to be given a snapshot of this time in history from a female perspective. Adira’s views on abolition could see her put in jail however at the same time the abolition movement are still against women speaking out for their cause, so she receives criticism from all directions. I really admired how Ann wrote about the relationship between Ruth and Adira, and how over the course of the book this continued to grow as they really learnt what they meant to each other. All of the characters are so very well structured that I could write about them all, they are multi-faceted and even when you dislike their actions you can understand their motivations. I really loved the historical aspect of this book, Ann Galbraith has a brilliant talent for creating and describing the setting, which really helped me to form a visual picture for Springfield, Kentucky. What amazed me even more was to learn at the end of the book that the story although a work of fiction is based on the true history of Springfield and a slave called Louis.

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