I’ve never read one of Janet Ferguson’s novels before, though I do have Leaving Oxford “in the stack.” With The Art of Rivers, I was compelled to do something I don’t do often—pre-order a book. Maybe it was the interesting title. Maybe it was the description. Maybe it was the cover (done by my own cover designer). Whatever caught my attention, I’m glad it did.
Rivers Sullivan is on the verge of marriage when the unthinkable happens. Due to the actions of a drug addict, she’s left to heal both physically and emotionally.
About a year after the powerful opening event, she travels to St. Simons Island in Georgia to dispose of the properties left to her by her late fiancé. Not long after she arrives, she meets Cooper Knight, a fellow artist and counselor for Re-Claimed, a pair of addiction recovery houses. Though sober for five years, Cooper still fights demons of temptation and guilt.
Peppered with beautiful descriptions, romance and a little intrigue, heartache-filled moments and joyful moments, this book will sink you into the lives of a group of people struggling to free themselves from the consequences of their decisions and the decisions of others.
This is a story about second chances and forgiveness amid grief and addiction. It’s both tragic and hopeful, yet not depressing or dark. I truly felt for Cooper and those he tried to help, while I also understood Rivers’ aversion to the residents of Re-Claimed.
I did have a tiny issue with the love story. I thought it was a bit quick on the part of a woman who spent most of the book in a deep state of grief. However, it did show the character’s growth as she dealt with the return to living. I would also say it was a little too coincidental, but that would take away a major part of the plot. (Got your curiosity up with that?)
I highly recommend The Art of Rivers and give it 4.9 stars.