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Review: River's Song by Melody Carlson

by Melody Carlson

Anna Larson Gunderson grew up on the Siuslaw River in Oregon. In her youth, she never appreciated her Native American heritage, her mother having been embarrassed of their ancestry, though she listened to her grandmother’s stories of the Siuslaw tribe for most of her life. Now in the late 1950s, Anna is grown with a teenage daughter. Following her mother’s passing, she comes back to the river with plans to sort through her mother’s belongings. Life has been unkind to Anna, having been tormented by a cruel mother-in-law and left to take care of a husband who came back from WWII with mental illness until his untimely death. Her plan is to only stay on the river long enough to sort through her mother’s things and figure out what to do with the estate, yet she finds herself enchanted by the river, with its shining waters. After becoming reacquainted with the people she grew up with, Anna decides to turn her mother and father’s old store and home into an inn- a place where guests can come for peace and healing. Anna looks forward to this new phase in her life, yet old ghosts continue to haunt her.

This is one of my favorite books by Melody Carlson. I really liked the setting, and all the descriptions of the river, as well as reading the stories passed down from the Siuslaw people. Anna seems like such an unhappy person and one feels sorry for her, yet she is the sort of character you pull for and hope the best for. Her life changes drastically over the years of living on the river and it is a wonderful thing to see. The assortment of characters in this book is another thing that I liked. From French immigrant Babette, to the strong-willed Hazel, and all the other friends Anna makes along the river; it made for a richer story.

All in all, River’s Song was a wonderful start to an interesting series rich in Native American culture and set on a beautiful river.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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