In the Shadow of the River by Ann H. Gabhart ~ Book Review

June 1, 2023


About the Book 

Book: In the Shadow of the River
Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Genre: Christian HIstorical Romance
Publisher: Revell
Release Date: May 9, 2023

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 the Kingston Floating Palace, 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. Gabe only hopes they come in time for him and Jacci to have a future together.

My Thoughts 

The gorgeous cover of this book immediately drew me in but sadly the story left me flat. This book is a combination of mystery, historical fiction and has the romance trope of friends to more. Ann Gabhart has a beautiful gift of writing details in the story but I feel like this one had too many where the story felt drawn out and was hard to connect with it. The characters felt a bit lacking and I did not find them relatable so it was hard to follow the story. I think if the story would have moved along a bit more towards the beginning it may have been a better flow to the characters.

I really have enjoyed Ann Gabhart's books in the past so this will not deter me from reading her again but this one definitely fell flat for me. However, I may have been in a reading funk so if you are a fan of Historical Fiction then I suggest you give this one a try.

My Rating: 3 Stars/It was okay

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

About the Author

Ann H. Gabhart grew up on a farm in Kentucky. At the age of ten, she started dreaming of writing stories others would want to read. That dream has come true as she's published over thirty-five novels. She and her husband have three children married to three beautiful in-law children who have gifted her nine grandchildren. She still lives on a farm not far from where she grew up. She loves playing with her grandkids, walking with her dogs, reading, and, of course, writing. Her Shaker books, set in her fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill in the 1800's, are popular with readers. The Outsider was a Christian Fiction Book Award Finalist in 2009. Her Heart of Hollyhill books are Small Town, America books set in the 1960's. Angel Sister, a Rosey Corner book set during the Great Depression, was a best-seller and was followed up by two more stories about the Merritt sisters. She keeps her stories in Kentucky and has enjoyed going to the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains for some stories including These Healing Hills and Along a Storied Trail. And if you like mysteries, you can try her Hidden Springs Mysteries published under the author name, A.H. Gabhart. Visit Ann's website to find out more. There you can sign up for her newsletter where she does giveaways several times a year.

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