About the Book
Book: The Art of Rivers
Series: Coastal Hearts #3
Author: Janet Ferguson
Publisher: Southern Sun Press, LLC.
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.
After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.
Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.
It’s finally happened. I’ve found a book that’s SO excellent it’s rendered me speechless. Alas, I will prevail. LOL!
The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson is glorious. I was swept away by the highly-engaging storyline. I found the characters to be so expertly crafted they feel real and very relatable. The themes are timely, and I feel great reminders for all readers today. My most favorite aspect of this story, however, is how it opened my eyes to the plight of those who truly battle with addiction. The Art of Rivers ripped my heart in two and helped me see people in a more compassionate light. I count it a blessing to have read this book because it forced me to step into the shoes of someone else, then walk away changed for the better.
Cooper, the hero, stole my heart. His childhood experiences, his family interactions over the course of his life, and his moments of hopelessness tore at my emotions. I’ve never wanted to hug a character more than I did Cooper. Even though Cooper has gone through some extremely hurtful, very bad moments, I was greatly encouraged by his determination to continually fight his addictions. What a stellar person to recognize a deep issue within and make the concerted effort daily to fight to be the best version of himself possible. To me, this is real courage. Cooper’s strong drive to stay sober, to fight his fight daily and not give up, opened my eyes to just how hard the fight against addiction is.
I should preface that I do know (with my brain) how difficult it is to kick an ugly habit. There are 11 alcoholics/drug addicts in my family. In my lifetime, I have been directly affected by loved ones who have suffered from serious drug and alcohol abuse. Because I have been negatively affected by loved ones, I have created walls of protection around my heart and I have built up quasi-negative attitudes towards people who suffer from addiction. Cooper allowed for my walls to break a bit, and his character has helped me to see my loved ones through a different lens.
What I love so much about Cooper is his intense reliance on Jesus to see him through his mundane days, his hard days, and his really rough days. No matter the day, good or bad, Cooper is a great example of always going to God first. When his addiction craving rears its ugly head, and the temptation to go back to using is so fierce, Cooper acknowledges his struggle and immediately finds a way to go to God to cope. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul tells us that “No temptation has overtaken [us] that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let [us] be tempted beyond [our] ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape.” Every time Cooper’s addiction temptation shows up, Cooper acts. He immediately prays, or he forces himself to go to an addict’s anonymous meeting, or he finds a trusted friend and confesses, or he prays some more, or he reads his Bible. The point is, Cooper is a great example of a man who lives out 1 Corinthians 10:13. Cooper’s example of going to God and to not giving up is my favorite takeaway from this novel; a timely message I think we all need today!
The Art of Rivers is a story I cannot recommend enough. If you are looking for a book replete with endearing characters, that contains a fast-paced and highly engaging plot, and that leaves the reader with a warm, satisfied fuzzy feeling in her heart, then The Art of Rivers is definitely the book for you!
I received an eBook copy of this book from the author in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.