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Where the River Ends Paperback – June 23, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There’s sweet and sensitive, then there’s downright saccharine. Martin’s vapid tale of a young husband who will go to the ends of the earth to grant his dying wife her final wish is a work of unabashed romanticism and heartbreaking sadness that requires readers to suspend disbelief and simply ride the high current of emotion. When starving artist Doss Michaels interrupts the rape-in-progress of supermodel Abbie Coleman in a Charleston park, he sets in motion a fairy-tale love story. Then, a decade into their storybook marriage, during a year spent visiting European art galleries, thanks to five-figure commissions for Doss, Abbie discovers a lump in her breast, the herald of virulent cancer. With seemingly only days left to live, she makes Doss fulfill a promise to repeat their honeymoon trip canoeing down a river in the wilds of Georgia. The arduous journey is rife with Deliverance-style malevolence as Doss and Abby fight off would-be gang rapists (again!), dodge a hurricane, and employ a bush pilot and defrocked priest to help them. Martin’s jejune and hackneyed sixth novel is being touted as his “mainstream debut,” and it may well appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks, Robert James Waller, and Richard Paul Evans. --Carol Haggas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Lovers of love stories, get ready to cry you a ‘River.’”„ŸUSA TODAY

“This tale is a pleasure to read because it eloquently pictures unquestioning, steadfast love.” „ŸFayetteville Observer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition first Printing edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767926994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767926997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
WHERE THE RIVER ENDS, Charles Martin's sixth novel following his award-winning CHASING FIREFLIES, is a touching story of love and loss, set with rich detail against the backdrop of Charleston and the St. Mary's River.

Doss Michaels is a fishing guide and starving artist trying to eke out a living in a small studio in Charleston. A chance encounter with beautiful model Abigail "Abbie" Grace Coleman leads to a 10-year blissful marriage, but when Abbie becomes terminally ill, their lives fall apart. Abbie's once-flawless model's physique is ravaged by cancer, and her strength drains until she's counting her time left in weeks, if not days. On her wish list of 10 things to do before she dies is a 130-mile trip down the St. Mary's River, and Doss promises her they will accomplish it. Despite her father's threats (he wants her to be in the hospital), Doss and Abbie embark on the excursion. Hurricane season looms, which lends urgency and tension as the story progresses.

Martin tells his slow-paced tale well, and competently handles the difficult task of flashing back and forth in time in alternate chapters to tell the story of Doss and Abbie's courtship and their present-day trip down the St. Mary's. Doss and Abby meet with a fair share of hardship and challenges on their epic journey. Fans of the author will find the lavish descriptions of small towns, rivers and rural roads in WHERE THE RIVER ENDS in keeping with his eye for detail in his previous novels, including lots of precise descriptions about the St. Mary's River. As in his past efforts, Martin incorporates subtle faith themes that flow as naturally as the currents of the river.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Water can be a metaphor. In many religions and religious ceremonies water is utilized to symbolize the power of cleansing and/or the life sustaining properties for those who drink from its well. A river can depict a smooth and placid picture or conversely can illustrate a trajectory of tumult and uncertainty. So it is with WHERE THE RIVER ENDS, a story that depicts what happens to a couple from diverse backgrounds when the undertow and turbulence of life coupled with an unforeseen act of fate alters the course of their future and, like the waters of an ever moving river, changes it forever. Author Charles Martin has chosen the old adage "The course of true love never runs smoothly" as the foundation on which to erect his metaphoric tale.

A combination of THE BUCKET LIST, GROUNDHOG DAY and LOVE STORY, this is a chronicle of memories, human frailty, unbreakable bonds and second chances. Touching in places, melodramatic in others this book will definitely not appeal to the realists of the world. This is a melancholy, yet romantic, two handkerchief narrative for those who believe that beauty can be found in the most unlikely places, that love and memory can overcome the pain of loss, and that forgiveness is the most powerful and healing of all of the conscious choices a person can make.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chrissy Larson on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was taken in by this story. When the the "C" word knocks on your door, it is an overwhelming shock which throws life into a tailspin. Most people consider the victim of the cancer. But cancer hits the whole family, especially the spouse. I learned the true meaning of "for better or for worse" as well as, "in sickness and in health." Charles Martin truly describes this reality. In "Where the River Ends" we follow Doss Michaels as he risks all for the love of his life, cheering him on all the way to the mouth of the St. Marys River. Unlike many authors who tell us a good story, Martin has the unusual knack of showing us. Just as his main character knows how to create something beautiful with canvas and paint, Charles Martin paints a beautiful picture of unconditional love with paper and pen. This is a must read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Henriksen on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You have to have "heart and soul" to fully appreciate Charles Martin's books. This one is no exception. The way he melds the winding river with life and death is riveting. I really loved this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Wainer on July 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Author Charles Martin has written a masterpiece of Southern fiction. In a culture that has lost some of its values, this tale of love within marriage reminds us of what everyone truly desires: to be loved unconditionally, to be fully committed to, and to be fully committed. I struggled to understand why this story so touched my heart, but soon realized that my desire for a truer, purer life overwhelmed the struggles I currently face. Some people would call this a fantastical escape, but I call it a restoration of hope.

I am not sure if there would be a person on earth today who has not, in some fashion, been affected by the cancer pandemic. With singular stories of "winning the battle", Martin, through rich character development and the wonder of a river journey, masterfully and pungeantly carries a way to truly deal with the statistical realities, again, restoring hope in the truth that we can possess love for others that is greater than the love we have for ourselves.

C.S. Lewis in his preface to MacDonald's Phantastes wrote, "I should have been shocked in my 'teens if anyone had told me that what I learned to love in Phantastes was goodness."

This story of a man's devotion to his wife, and his unconditional (but often challenged) love for her, is filled with...well...'goodness'.

Read this book, and keep the tissues handy.
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