Book Review: Riversong by Tess Hardwick

Riversong by Tess Hardwick

Amazon product description:

When Lee Tucker’s husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother’s dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee’s resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband’s debt as her business blooms.

Author Tess Hardwick assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on a journey that will make you believe in the possibilities of life – even in the face of overwhelming adversity and unimaginable grief. Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read.

A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food – Riversong entertains while reminding you of life’s greatest gifts.

My review:

I will be totally honest here, I chose to read this book because it came up on the “top 100 free Kindle books” email that I get a couple times a day. I definitely judge a book by its cover, and I downloaded this one because of the old Ford truck on the cover. My favorite kinds of books are historical fiction, especially those set in the Old South. So imagine my surprise to find that this one was set in Seattle and rural parts of Oregon. (No, I didn’t read the description before I started to read.) Despite not being in my ideal location, this book does what every good book with a strong, small-town setting does: the landscape and the location descriptions are so vivid that the setting almost becomes another major character in the novel.

It seems to me that the major storyline in this novel (the romance of Lee & Tommy and her revitalization of Mike’s restaurant) is the best one. I get that the backstory of Lee’s alcoholic mother was necessary for character development, but the one of Lee’s husband committing suicide and the crushing debt he left behind was entirely superfluous, for me anyway. I guess the author had to make the husband’s death sudden and detached from the wife in order for Lee to be “morally free” to be with Tommy, but that still leaves all the loan shark business that was totally unnecessary to the story. I could have done with this just being a you-can’t-go-home-again type story, where her alcoholic mother dies and she just has to go home to clean up and sell the property, and the story could have moved on from there. The limping minion of the loan shark was simply an annoyance in an otherwise great debut novel.

The bottom line:

Yes, I got this book while it was free. It is now $2.99, and would I pay three dollars to read this book? Certainly. Would I have paid more than that? Probably not. This was a quick read and a nice way to spend a couple of days in beautiful, green Oregon without actually going there. Recommended, but only at the current price.



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