Where the River Ends by Charles Martin
|Where the River Ends by Charles Martin|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A weepy and a romance as Chris takes his dying wife on a trip down the river. A light read but highly recommended for holiday reading.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2008|
|External links: Author's website|
Chris Michaels and his wife, Abbie, have exhausted every option. After four years of treatment her cancer is terminal and the doctors are recommending that she move to a hospice. That's not what Abbie wants though. She's made a list of ten things that she wants to do before she dies. Some are quite normal – laughing until it hurts, drinking wine on a beach – but some are going to take a bit more planning, such as looping the loop in a plane or swimming with dolphins. The one she's really determined on is to take a trip with her husband and they leave the hospital and head for the St Mary's river. They're going to ride it all the way from where it starts at Moniac right down to the sea.
It couldn't have been more difficult. Abbie's got a week or two to live, provided that she takes it easy, only she doesn't know the meaning of the words. They're going at the end of May which is the start of the hurricane season and just when the mosquitoes hatch. As if that wasn't bad enough Abbie's parents don't like Chris. They're rich and influential – her father's a senator – and Chris grew up on a trailer park at the side of the St Mary's river. Anything that can be done to force Chris to bring Abbie home will be done and the Senator is an expert at playing the media.
If you're looking for some summer reading then this has got to be good value. There's a love story as Chris tells the story of his relationship with Abbie from their first meeting some fifteen years earlier. It's told in flashbacks along the river journey. They're in canoes which Chris has to haul for part of the time and it's gruelling work. He's stolen enough drugs to keep Abbie pain free but the trick is going to be to make them last out, along with their other supplies. It's not just the media who are pursuing them though – there are people out there who prefer to keep out of the spotlight, but know what they want.
Charles Martin knows this area well. It's in the border lands between South Georgia and Northern Florida – you might well be familiar with it if you read A Quiet Belief In Angels – and it's not the place to go if you're looking for an easy life. You have to fight the weather, the sudden floods, the snakes and the alligators - and the mosquitoes will fight back. You will feel this country as you read.
It's a good story. In places what happens is just a little too convenient, almost contrived, but we're not looking at great literature here – we're looking at a holiday read that will pull you in on page one and then only let you go at the end. You'll laugh and you'll cry and sometimes you won't be able to turn the pages quickly enough. Recommended.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Another similar book which will have you laughing and crying despite the inevitable ending is Love Life by Ray Kluun but I think you'll enjoy Where the River Ends more. You might also like to have a look at Charles Martin's website where he tells the history of how the book came about.
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