October 23, 2008

Where the River Ends

And the lucky winner is.... Joy!

Where the River Ends by Charles Martin
Contemporary Fiction
2008 Broadway Books
384 pages
Quit on 10/2/08
Rating: DNF

Product Description

A powerfully emotional and beautifully written story of heartbreaking loss and undying love

He was a fishing guide and struggling artist from a south George trailer park. She was the beautiful only child of South Carolina’s most powerful senator. Yet once Doss Michaels and Abigail Grace Coleman met by accident, they each felt they’d found their true soul mate.

Ten years into their marriage, when Abbie faces a life-threatening illness, Doss battles it with her every step of the way. And when she makes a list of ten things she hopes to accomplish before she loses the fight for good, Doss is there, too, supporting her and making everything possible. Together they steal away in the middle of the night to embark upon a 130-mile trip down the St. Mary’s River—a voyage Doss promised Abbie in the early days of their courtship.

Where the River Ends chronicles their love-filled, tragedy-tinged journey and a bond that transcends all.

Earlier this summer, I snagged an ARC of this book after catching a glimpse of the cover art. (I'm such a sucker for anything with canoes or kayaks.) I've never read anything by Charles Martin, but someone over at Bookreporter.com recommended one of his books (The Dead Don't Dance) to me a few years ago. I never got around to reading that one, but this sounded like something I might like, especially after reading the following blurb in the front of the ARC:

Dear Reader:

Some years ago Charles Martin heard an unsettling story about a man who served his wife with divorce papers while she was enduring the roughest stage of chemotherapy in an ultimately losing battle with breast cancer. Charles had a hard time understanding the sort of man who could do that: leave his wife when she needed him the most. He began to wonder about the other kind of guy, the one who would stick with his wife—love her and support her—through the very worst of sickness as well as health. In Charles's imagination, this man would be inspired not only by his wedding vows but by a deep, unshakable, unending love for the woman he married.

Every few years, an amazing love story is published that captures the hearts of readers everywhere. The Notebook, The Bridges of Madison County, Love Story. And, now, Where the River Ends.

E. Stacy Creamer
Vice President, Executive Editor, Doubleday
Deputy Editorial Director, Broadway

As I read the first page of the prologue, I got that warm, tingly feeling you get when you think you've stumbled on a great book. The prose reminded me so much of Rick Bragg's style in All over but the Shoutin'; the sort of sentences that are so beautiful, they make your heart sing. Regrettably, the further along I read, the less it felt like Bragg's beautiful writing, and I struggled to continue. The characters felt flat and lifeless and the story failed to draw me in. I read well over a hundred pages, but finally set it aside, thinking it was just bad timing. I tried again a few days later, but still no interest.


I really thought this was going to be a special book. But, as luck would have it, I happened upon a copy of The Dead Don't Dance, so I'll give Mr. Martin another chance. Meanwhile, I'd be more than happy to pass on my copy of Where the River Ends to one of you. Simply leave me a comment before November 1st and I'll throw your name in the hat.


  1. Oh, what a bummer. I didn't have this one on my TBR list, so hopefully the one I read is readable. I have the one you were recommended as a possibility, Chasing Fireflies and When Crickets Cry. Hopefully one of them will be a winner. :)

    That makes two DNF books in a row! I hope you find your next read to be satisfying.

  2. Anonymous4:28 AM

    I've read a few of Mr. Martin's books and really liked them.

    I'd love to win this book!

  3. Don't add me to your drawing. I just wanted to say I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. That's two DNFs in a row. Disappointing, I'm sure. I've never quite gotten a fix on what you really love or I'd try to come up with some recommendations (and maybe dump a book or two on you, LOL).

  4. Okay - this is just too weird. I commented here and it's not here . . . AGAIN! Interestingly enough, I'm receiving the comments after mine (I commented before Lynne). ??? Whatever.

  5. Joy - I don't know what happened to that first comment you posted. I didn't get the email until after your second comment! Sometimes I really get frustrated with email, ya know? Anyhow, yeah, two duds in a row is a bit of a bummer, but the next few have been pretty darned good. I hope to get those reviews posted later today or tomorrow. Again, I'm sorry about the comment mishap!

    Lynne - I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed his other books. Got your name in the hat!

    Bookfool - Not to worry. I've read a couple of good books since these past two duds. And, yeah, I'm a bit of an eclectic reader. I suppose if you look at my Top Ten lists (in my sidebar), you might get an idea of what I love. I still think timing is a huge factor for me. I probably shouldn't have attempted any books at the beginning of the month. Might have been a good time for some magazines.

  6. I am sorry this one didn't work out for you. I read When Crickets Cry last year and really liked it--such a heartwrenching story. I don't often read Christian fiction and so was surprised that I liked it so much. I haven't heard too much about this one.

  7. Literary Feline - Good to know that you enjoyed When Crickets Cry. I'm anxious to try something else by this author since I've heard good things about his writing. It was probably a case of poor timing when I read Where the River Ends...

    Did you want me to throw your name in the hat for this book?

  8. Sure, if it's not too late. Might as well. :-)

  9. Thank you for double checking, Les. Yes, please add my name in the hat. I really want to try a Martin book.

  10. And the winner is... JOY! Send me your address and I'll get it in the mail this week.

  11. HOORAY! Thank you, Les! I now know what Martin book I will be reading. :) I am very excited and have high hopes that I'll enjoy it.

  12. Oh crud. I forget to mention - I see you are reading 'Tis the Season! (Landvik) I'm keeping my eyes open for good Christmas tales to read soon, so I look forward to your review.


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