Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin
First of all, I need to preface this review with a disclaimer. Christians have many areas of doctrinal differences. I don’t always agree with the doctrines in every book I read and review but I try to be fair and not judgmental.
Journey to Riverbend is not just a story about a physical journey. It’s a story about the journey from sin to redemption and forgiveness, from being lost, then found.
Michael Archer begins a journey to the town of Riverbend on behalf of Ben Carstair. Young Ben, who has just been hanged for a crime Michael is sure that he didn’t commit, was thrown off the family ranch years ago. His dying wish was to be reconciled to his father, Sam Carstairs, and Michael is determined to carry out this wish. When Michael gets to Riverbend, he meets the local pastor and his family and their houseguest, Rachel Stone. Like Michael, Rachel has a past that she would like to forget, and like Michael, she has become a believer in Jesus. Thus begins their journey toward each other.
Before Michael has a chance to meet with Mr. Carstairs, Sam is kidnapped in retaliation for something he did in the past. Because Sam is a prominent citizen of Riverbend, the town forms a posse and Michael joins in order to fulfill his promise to Ben.
If you like historical fiction set in the old west with lots of action and some romance thrown in, then you will want to read this. It has gunfights, stagecoaches, ranch hands, hangings, sin, grit, good guys, bad guys, tension, suspense, forgiveness, redemption, romance, prayer and reconciliation.
Mr. McLaughlin makes the settings and scenery come alive with skillful and artful descriptions. We get to know the characters by McLaughlin allowing us to hear their internal thoughts.
There are a ton of characters to keep track of, which I found a little confusing, but each has an important role in the various journeys, and they don’t end with this book. Apparently, Mr. McLaughlin has a sequel in the works.
This book is appropriate for adult readers but because it can be graphic in some places, I would not recommend it for anyone younger.
Personally, I would love to see this made into a movie!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”