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Lily (Song of the River #1)

Title:  Lily (Song of the River #1)
Author:  Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver
Pages:  319
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Barbour
                Set in 1859 in Natchez, Mississippi, Lily is the story of a young woman’s journey of learning to live out her faith, not just talk about it.  She will have some difficult choices to make that will cause heartache.  This is the first book in the “Song of the River” series with a second book titled Camellia recently released that will also be reviewed here.
                Lily Anderson is 18 years old, living with her grandparents, aunt, uncle and two sisters.  She has always been fascinated by the river and what happens on the river.  Her parents had owned a steamboat where they lived and earned a living.  After leaving their young girls at the grandparents, Lily’s mother and father left on a routine trip.  They were caught unexpectedly in a flood, drowning her mother.  Lily’s grandfather convinced her father it would be better for the girls if they were raised by their grandparents and for him to stay out of the picture.  He agreed.  Thus, Lily has been both mother and father to her two younger sisters.  She is very angry and bitter towards her father, who she thinks has abandoned them to pursue a life on the river because he didn’t love them.
                Lily’s aunt and uncle have decided it is time for her to marry.  They have picked a suitor for her, who has a lot of money, but is several years older than Lily.  Lily refuses to marry him as she doesn’t love him.  She takes her dowry and buys a riverboat.  Unbeknownst to her though, she has only purchased the controlling interest in the boat.  Someone else owns the other portion.  She is surprised to learn of her partner, but even more surprised when she discovers how he wants to run the boat.  She wants to take on cargo and passengers and make trips up and down the river delivering them.  He wants to anchor the boat at the dock and run a casino.  Over her dead body!  Lily is a staunch Christian and drinking and gambling will not take place on her boat!  Her partner, Blake Matthews, gives in to her wishes for the moment, thinking she will realize what hard work it is to transport cargo and people and soon give up.  He will then buy out her share of the boat and set up his casino.
                Blake Matthews is the son of a preacher, but has walked away from his family as well as God.  His father was stern and made some decisions that left his family starving and sick.  Blake hasn’t been able to forgive him and wonders how God could let innocent children starve.  Blake has turned to a life of gambling, but plays honestly.  He sees the riches that his own boat could earn for him and tries to get Lily to see things his way, with no success.  As their partnership gets more comfortable, he yearns less for the gaming tables and more for Lily.  She advises him to forgive his father, but doesn’t realize how soon she will be faced with her own advice.  Lily struggles with being a businesswoman at a time when women stayed home to be a wife and mother.  She also takes charge of the care of her sisters when they come to live on the boat.  Blake’s life of solitude has been invaded by three females, a vengeful ex-captain, and a spoiled rich man’s son.
                There is more than just romance in this story.  There is a boat crash, a boat fire, a reunion of a family, discovery of truth, reliance on God, living examples of how God can change a person, and much more.
                My rating is 3.5 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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