The Old River Road by Ivy Rose
Long Lake Legacy, #1
When seventeen-year-old Clara Boutwell married her dashing coworker, William McDonald, she was convinced her life was near perfect. The journey before them as newlyweds in the great city of Chicago was promising and exciting. But a frightening disease soon takes William in its grip, forcing them to the clean air of the western frontier in a desperate attempt to save his life. But pioneering doesn’t prove to be easy, with miles between neighbors instead of fences. On the eastern Washington prairies, the McDonalds face hardships and trials in a new world where everything is tested, from physical endurance to emotional strength—down to their relationship and faith in the Lord.
This novel tells the incredible true story of Clara and William, the great-great grandparents of the author, in a sweet narrative full of laughter, tears, and the struggles of an early pioneering family. Prepare yourself to share in their experience as you read this account of a pioneer family in Washington state, and see their lasting legacy that has endured into the fifth generation.
I started this book Saturday morning and had finished it before the sun set. I was pleased, although I admit it wasn’t what I expected. I’d heard people compare it to the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I didn’t know they meant it so literally! Like the “Little House” books, this novel is the story of the life of two characters who existed in real life. I found it absolutely fascinating, occasionally tear-jerking, more often light and happy.
The Old River Road is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, adventure, drama, sweet romance, pioneers, faith, and family. I recommend it to readers of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maud Hart Lovelace, or Gene Stratton Porter, who are, by the way, some of my favorite authors. Besides, you know, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Arthur Conon Doyle, etc. Yep … my list of favorite authors is long and ever-increasing. 🙂
One of the most endearing things about The Old River Road was that it was perfectly appropriate for readers of all ages. I’d hand it to my nine-year-old brother without a second thought. Not that he’d like it (he’s not a fan of books with romance in them, even if it is sweet and straightforward with no mushy scenes!), but it’d be perfectly all right for him to read it. I have no concerns on that point.
You’re praising it so highly! You must have given it five stars! you say.
Well, I didn’t. Although this is an amazing book – original writing style, easy to get into, very sweet, very inspiring – there are a few problems I’d like to bring up in way of constructive criticism. (Because positive reviews are amazing, but they don’t really help anything but the author’s self-esteem)
(I’m rereading this and seeing that I’m a huge cynic, but oh, well …)
First, the writing could have used a wee, wee bit of polishing here and there. Not much, but just a little. I felt, occasionally, like the plot and characters needed more drive. In a classic, this doesn’t bother me, but in a modern book, even if it’s meant to have a classic feel, there should be more of a plot structure (see).
Also, I didn’t really understand the title. There was very little about the ‘old river road.’ Like, a couple paragraphs, really. There wasn’t much about it at all. I think perhaps it was meant to be like Clara (love that name, by the way) wanted to live along the river all along … but it wasn’t mentioned before [SPOILER] they started living there. [END OF SPOILER]
At first, I thought Clara’s main goal was to get out west … but that didn’t seem to be incredibly important to her. More focus on this would have been nice. Once she got out west, it was hard to see what was driving her at all. William was even more of a puzzle to me.
However, William and Clara were adorable. I really enjoyed their relationship. 🙂
Well, that’s about all I have to say about this novel for now. Go pick up a copy! It’s definitely worth it. 🙂
0.5/5, almost-no-details descriptions of childbirth. Not a big deal. Wouldn’t bug me to give it to a small child.
4/5 stars. A good story that could use a little work … but not much! (Now, having read it twice more, I’d give it more like 4.5.)
About the Author
Her Blog and Website: http://lakesidepublications.com/