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The Art of Rivers is an excellent story that deals with the harsh realities of overcoming addiction, social stigmas surrounding them, forgiveness, fear and trauma. I truly loved this book, it tugged on all my heart strings!
The novel is well written, endearing and even cute! I devoured it; a definite page turner.
★★★★ | Author Janet Ferguson opens with a chapter that is tender yet shocking then continues to weave a story that is both entertaining and touching. The main and sub characters are charming, witty and relatable. I loved the occasional banter between Rivers and Cooper, was enamored with how their love story unfolds and enjoyed how Ferguson used their relationship to bring about healing in a family. Readers will find it hard not to "feel" along with Rivers and Cooper. They're so lifelike and the things they struggle with are very real. Through them, Ferguson gives readers a look at life after trauma and addiction. She doesn't sugarcoat it, but uses faith as a basis for recovery and depicts the redemption found only in Christ. It's truly beautiful.
The faith based elements of this book are strong, but do not overpower the story in my opinion. I do enjoy books with a Christian viewpoint however and realize that some people may feel this book comes on a little strong. Nevertheless, I encourage readers to read between the lines and see the power that comes from overcoming addiction, helping others and allowing struggles to make us stronger.
This book is a SOLID FOUR STARS and was very good!
I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy a cozy romance, comtemporary fiction and faith based fiction. I believe the story would be suitable for teenagers 16+ as it is clean. Please be aware the story does contain triggers and mentions of things such as a shooting, addiction, teenage death, drinking, drugs, loss and drug trafficking.
SPOILER ALERT! The only thing that kept this novel from tipping over into five stars for me, was simply a personal preference. The ending wrapped up beautifully but the last chapter made me cringe. Throughout the story, I had imagined and felt Rivers as a whimsical romantic with a playful side. The fact that she proposed to Cooper, who supposedly couldn't get enough of her, detracted from their romance. I'm not against women proposing, it just didn't feel right for this couple. I also wasn't a fan of the fact that Ferguson included the song Jesus Freak in their wedding music and used the phrase "I'm always willing to let my freak flag fly." (this was also alluded to earlier in the book). As a Christian, I don't enjoy being stigmatized as a freak and don't think anyone should be categorized that way under any circumstance. Between those two things, I ended the book with distaste but felt it didn't really detract from the story I had enjoyed so immensely up until those last closing lines.