Thursday, July 26, 2012

Song of the River, Book No. One: Lily by Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver, c2012


Lily Anderson watched the passing scenery from the comfort of her uncle’s carriage. Stately mansions with manicured grounds gave way to the smaller, sturdy homes of local merchants as they traveled toward the Mississippi River. They passed a busy mercantile and several shops before the carriage took a sharp leftward downturn toward the raucous, bustling dock that lay far beneath the genteel residences of Natchez’s wealthy plantation owners and merchants.

Natchez Under-the-Hill. She sniffed the air appreciatively as she disembarked, picking up the scents of fresh coffee, burning wood, and fish. How she loved the river. She barely noticed the disreputable, rickety inns and saloons that sprouted like weeds on either side of the winding road called Silver Street.

Roustabouts slumbered in the scant shade of the ramshackle buildings while a pair of glassy-eyed Indians staggered down the street, each clutching a brown bottle close to his chest. Lily’s eyes widened at their blatant drunkenness, but their presence did not deter her eagerness to absorb every detail of her surroundings as she followed Aunt Dahlia.

Voices shouted in an exciting mix of languages. She wondered how many countries were represented in this one place. . .English, French, German, and even lilting Norwegian dialects. The latter brought disturbing memories, but Lily pushed them away, determined to enjoy her outing on the Mississippi River.

As she and her aunt picked their way past bales of cotton and barrels of tobacco, her gaze absorbed the myriad boats lining the banks. Rugged keelboats and waterlogged rafts butted up against lofty steamboats, each awaiting cargo or passengers to be floated down the river to the port of New Orleans.

The beginning of this book grabbed my interest when Lily is chasing a thief who has snatched her retinue containing an embroidered hankie, made by her younger sister, that is meaningful to her. Right away I wanted it returned to Lily, and ran down the ramp with her! I wonder if the ship captain she meets is going to show up again!
Lily moved down the line behind her aunt and came face-to-face with the Champneys' son, the young man who, according to rumor, was the real reason for today's party. He was said to be a bachelor on the lookout for a compliant wife. Her heart sped as she wondered which lady he would find interesting. --page 14
Lily doesn't sound very compliant to me! Think he better keep on looking!

Her talent lay in her practicality, her ability to watch out over others and steer them from trouble. --page 18
Here I am interested! Lily! I want to get to know you better.

Book Description:

Desperate for financial independence, Lily Anderson has embarked upon a riverboat venture. Will she learn to trust God’s leading or head into disaster? Lily’s partner, Blake Matthews, is initially stymied, then smitten by the Mississippi miss. Can he anchor her heart, or will Lily fall for another man’s wiles?

Cruise down the Mississippi with Natchez belle Lily Anderson. Needing to provide for herself and her sisters, Lily is desperately trying to make a go of a riverboat venture with co-owner Blake Matthews. But they fail to find anything to agree upon. Blake is enamored of the feisty Lily. Attempts to woo her may be lost to the devious Jean Luc Champney. Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?
~*~ ~*~~~~~* ~~~~~*~ ~*~
Blake watched in fascination as Miss Anderson took over. How had it come to this? They had been invaded by a marauding army. An army of females. The enemy forces had taken over the Hattie Belle without firing a single shot. --page 97
And so it begins! Where would you choose to live on this beautiful riverboat? Mr. Matthews is in for surprises it seems, as Lily and her sisters, Camellia and Jasmine, come aboard. Never fear. They have brought their very own chaperone with them. Surprises may be in store for Tamar too.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Back Cover:

A Natchez Belle's Hopes and Dreams Ride on the Mississippi
Lily Anderson longs for a life of adventure, steaming down the Mississippi on a riverboat. But her relatives, wanting her to secure a future for herself and her two younger sisters, are intent on Lily marrying well and foregoing any chance of living out her dream. When a loveless match seems inevitable, Lily makes a last ditch effort to avoid losing her freedom forever by purchasing the steamboat Hattie Belle from the father of debonair Jean Luc Champney--unaware that her precious dowry garners only partial ownership of the vessel.
Roguish gambler Blake Matthew's dreams are finally beginning to take shape after a night of card playing wins him the title to the Hattie Belle. But Blake's brimming confidence in a successful venture is dampened when he meets his new partner--Lily.
As their riverboat enterprise erupts into turmoil, can Lily and Blake discover that God is the One they can count on when all else fails? Will the siren song of the river evolve into a serenade or a somber lament?

This book is tremendously well-written. Experience the shift of the boat beneath your feet, listen to the long toots of the boats, and become aware of the sights and smells along the muddy Mississippi River, as you arrive on the riverboat with them. Especially when they stop off in New Orleans and embark on a journey with friends only God could have orchestrated for them. Due to their imbibing captain, they scrap up on a sandbar and are detained while their riverboat is being repaired.

This is a family story of growth, acceptance, and forgiveness received and given. Love triumphs. Truth prevails. But not without a struggle and perseverance. Trust. Removing misgivings and working together. Lily and Blake must work out their partnership in the Hattie Belle for the good of all, including themselves. I liked this story as they come to know truth that is beneficial and bears facing. Working together, they overcome adversity. I look forward to the second book in this series as they continue adventures on the mighty Mississippi. The secondary characters were developed very nicely.

 Image of Diane Ashley

Biography: Diane Ashley Page

I'm a town girl from Mississippi who has always loved to read. When I was in high school, I always read my new literature book from cover to cover in the first few weeks of the school year. I have always wanted to write but couldn't figure out how to keep all the details of a book in my head long enough to get from the beginning to the end. Then I found out about an adult education class being taught at a local college on writing a novel from an outline. It was taught by Aaron McCarver, the man who would one day become my co-author. I would like to tell you I wrote a book that semester and got it published, but it took a bit longer than that (10 years.) My brother often teases me about my "overnight success." I encourage you to write if that's your dream. It's not some mystical experience. All you have to do is sit down and write. God will take care of the rest if you follow His leading. He will take you to places you have never even dreamed of. I am enjoying my own journey and counting my blessings. Thanks to my wonderful husband, my patient co-author, and my family and friends, all who believed in me even when I didn't. I hope you enjoy my books and that you find in them a message that transcends earthly matters and reinforces your belief in our loving Savior. God bless you. 

I appreciate receiving Lily from Barbour Publishing in exchange for a review in my own words.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful read to me too!! Will have to add this one to the list. Thanks for the review. :)