Author: Ann H. Gabhart
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: May 9, 2023
If all the world's a stage, Jacci will play her part.
She only hopes her story does not turn out to be a tragedy.
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 that same showboat 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.
Reviewer: Deanne Patterson
I enjoy books taking place on the river, and this one takes place on a showboat described as a floating palace. The book has wonderful descriptions of the boat, which sounds opulent.
What I enjoy about this author's books is that she writes about different historical topics than many authors do, which makes for quite an interesting read.
Spending her life since she was five years old on showboats, this is all that Jacci Reed knows. When she was very young, her mother kept her from the shows, but now that she's older, she is an actress on the showboat stage. Sadly, her mother passed away when she was very young, and she continues to live on the showboat on the Ohio River with her grandfather and his theater troupe.
I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story. I enjoyed the mystery of who was putting Jacci's life in danger and why. The book entertained me, and I read it in less than 24 hours. I found it very hard to put down.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through Interviews & Reviews. All opinions expressed are my own.
Reviewer: Charity Henico
You know, I'm not a fan of water. I have some sensory issues, and I just don't like to get in it, splashed by it, or anything. But a river? Those intrigue me. I'm not sure what it is about them, but rivers are fascinating. Always moving, never seeing the same thing twice.
Maybe that's why this book got my attention when I first saw it: the fact that the river is almost the main character. Then, you see this gorgeous cover. I've always wanted to go on a big riverboat, and I haven't had the opportunity. After reading this book, I now feel like I have.
The story inside is as beautiful as the cover and as fascinating as the river. It grabbed me from the very beginning, and did not let go. Mystery, intrigue, adventure, a little romance, and a river. Always moving, always changing.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell through Interviews & Reviews. No positive review was required, and all opinions were my own.
Reviewer: Jeanette Durkin
Wow! This deserves more than 5 stars, in my opinion! An amazing story with fabulous characters!
This book is set on a showboat that travels the river. This is a story of a mother's true love and the sacrifices made for that love. Irena is the epitome of the self-sacrificing mother who puts the welfare of her child first. Jacinth grows into a strong young woman, but she is shadowed by a mystery.
The love story in the book is sweet and romantic. Gabe is amazing! A true white knight. There are so many great characters that make this book fantastic. A definite must-read!
I received a copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Juanita Varela
If you love historical fiction, especially life on the Mississippi River, you will love this one. Especially all the research that Ann H Gabhart does. It makes you feel like you are part of the story.
The romance was really sweet. I enjoyed Jacci and Gabe’s connection. Seeing them fall in love was one of my favorite things. Honestly, Gabe is such a sweetheart. He’s always loved her. I love characters like those who fell first and are just there waiting. But this book has an interesting turn of events regarding that subject, so I won’t say any more. This was really worth the read.
Also, there was a mystery that left me wanting to know more. It was really hard to put down.
Ann H. Gabhart has done an excellent job with this novel. It’s a clean novel.
And the cover. The cover made me instantly interested in the novel. I liked how it meshed from the stage to the River. Really good job.
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Joy Hannabass
In the Shadow of the River is a story that grabbed me from the first page and wouldn't let go.
Jacci Reed works as an actress on the Kingston Floating Palace Showboat because she grew up on this Showboat, and this is the only life she knows. The people here are her family, yet there are still issues lurking in her mind about the happenings with her and her mom and what happened that day so long ago. I really like Jacci and wanted the best for her. I can't imagine her life, wondering about secrets that haven't surfaced.
I haven't read many books about showboats, so I was happy to read and review In the Shadow of the River by Ann H. Gabhart. It was so much fun to read about showboats and their operation. The shows were interesting. Knowing the morals expected of the actors and actresses was a pleasant surprise. I like the faith running through the story and the renewing of life and second chances. I love anything that Ann H. Gabhart writes, and this might just be my favorite.
If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a book I highly recommend to you. And if you are intrigued by the old showboats that used to be, you will love this story. I'm giving In the Shadow of the River Five Stars.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest review.
Reviewer: Ewurabena Wilson
Ann H Gabhart’s novel In the Shadow of the River is one of those books that fills one with warmth, especially when read on a cold night. The vivid description of the novel’s era makes one yearn to be part of the era of the Kingston Floating Palace showboat.
An incident in Jacci’s life ushers her into a new life with a community of loved ones. I liked the character of Jacci, who, despite the tragedy and uncertainties in her life, accepts what she has been given to become who she is. The people on the Palace showboat, especially Gabe and Tyrone, all fit together to make this novel worth the read.
The prominent themes in this novel, embracing new beginnings, forgiveness and hope, are interwoven in this novel. It would have been good to know how some of the characters ended in this novel, as it felt that there were loose ends at the end. Perhaps their story will continue in subsequent books.
Overall, a very good novel to be read.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Linda Klager
Jacci Reed was raised on a showboat. She does not know the full extent of her family's history. She only knows that the mother that raised her loved her dearly and died protecting her. Jacci inherited good looks and talent to perform her duties for the Kingston Showboat Family. Her showboat family loved her very much, and many people would come to see her perform.
Gabe Kingston treated Jacci like a sister and made sure that her life had value. Jacci had so much love for everyone. I admired her and her mother's spirit. There was a huge mystery behind Jacci's life, and there was a lot of danger to her life. Jacci and Gabe had to overcome so much, but finally, they realized their friendship led to so much more.
I learned a lot about showboats and how they were managed in the 19th century. I am sure it was a grand time. I liked that the Kingston Family wanted all performers in their troupe to lead moral lives. That made it so much easier for Jacci to lead a fulfilling life.
Ann Gabhart is a favorite author of mine. I hope you will read this interesting story.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
In the Shadow of the River by Ann H. Gabhart is a moving tale of lost love, friendship, redemption and forgiveness.
We meet Jacci Reed when she is five years old. Someone attempts to kidnap her, and throughout the rest of her life, the shadows of that day and what she had done linger in her dreams and in the back of her mind. Her mother, who was severely wounded, realizes that her father is on the showboat tied up beside her steamboat and, while badly bleeding, leaves custody of Jacci into his care.
As we fast-forward through the years of Jacci's life on a showboat, we meet an interesting cast of characters. Jacci's relationship with Kelly is odd yet endearing. How he came into her life is somewhat convoluted. But, the love both he and Duke have for Jacci is evident. They would do anything for her.
Gabe, whom she has always thought of as a brother, is suddenly seen in a different light. Gabe, for his part, has always loved Jacci and constantly reminds her that he is not her brother. However, the entire showboat cast and crew are like a family and protect each other. But, with each new season, different cast members are added to the showboat family, and not everyone is as loving as they may seem.
I love novels by Ann Gabhart. I know I will never be disappointed if I read one. I was, however, surprised that I needed tissues at the beginning of the book rather than the end. That was a twist I wasn't expecting. I was disappointed when this book ended, as I didn't want to let these characters go.
The "who-dunnit" aspect definitely had me guessing and surprised me. The themes of forgiveness and trusting in God, even when your prayers aren't answered the way you want, were strong.
I highly recommend In the Shadows of the River if you love historical fiction.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley for my honest review.
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