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The Art of Rivers

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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 galle 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.


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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 galle 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.

30 review for The Art of Rivers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I truly admire the way that Janet Ferguson has been dealing respectfully and sensitively with heavier topics in the Coastal Hearts series. In The Art of Rivers, it's that of substance abuse and addiction and the impact is has not only on the addict, but of their families as well. Not only with the immediate impact, but with the lasting consequences that can follow a former addict even if they've been clean for years. I appreciate that the author shows both sides of addiction - the ugly, depraved I truly admire the way that Janet Ferguson has been dealing respectfully and sensitively with heavier topics in the Coastal Hearts series. In The Art of Rivers, it's that of substance abuse and addiction and the impact is has not only on the addict, but of their families as well. Not only with the immediate impact, but with the lasting consequences that can follow a former addict even if they've been clean for years. I appreciate that the author shows both sides of addiction - the ugly, depraved side, as well as the hope there is for those released from it. Those who have come out of it have a strong testimony to those around them, but can also acknowledge their weakness and that they still struggle from time to time. Equally strong is the way that art plays a big role in the healing process for Rivers, Cooper, and other characters in the story. The descriptions of the art and its impact on the characters adds a beautiful depth. Main character Rivers is strong yet fragile. She was willing to go through personal discomfort for others, but she wasn't stoic all of the time. The balance between strength and fragility is well done in her character. Cooper is a strong character as well, in that the author isn't afraid to show his weaknesses as well. It feels realistic that, even after being clean for five years, he still has struggles and temptations. His faith plays a huge role in his battle of addiction, and I feel it is portrayed with dignity and beauty. Though there is a significant amount of romance, I feel like it plays out nicely throughout the story. I think I used the words "realistic happy ever after," and I still think that is the best way to describe the outcome of Ferguson's books. This is probably my favorite of the series so far, and - if my guess is right about the main character of the next book - well, she sure is a tough customer in this story, so I'm eager to see how things play out for her. I received a complimentary copy of this novel and was not required to post a positive review; the thoughts expressed here are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    This is seriously my favorite book by this author. I love it so much. If anyone you love has suffered addiction and you need a little hope that they can turn their life around, this book is for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Rodewald

    Once again, Ferguson takes two stories of brokenness and weaves the beauty of hope and redemption between them. This book is for anyone who is longing for a reason to grip hope a little more, to keep looking up, and to keep believing in what seems impossible.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paula Marie

    Honestly, I am so blessed that Janet Ferguson has allowed me to read this story prior to release date. I can tell you this book got to me in so many ways, the realism behind addiction and sorrow and rehabilitation is so spot on, Janet sincerely nailed this story from all angles. This work of fiction is so much more than a love story…it is the story of anyone who has been touched by addiction, the wife of an alcoholic, the mother of a drug addict, the survivor of a brutal, senseless attack, the p Honestly, I am so blessed that Janet Ferguson has allowed me to read this story prior to release date. I can tell you this book got to me in so many ways, the realism behind addiction and sorrow and rehabilitation is so spot on, Janet sincerely nailed this story from all angles. This work of fiction is so much more than a love story…it is the story of anyone who has been touched by addiction, the wife of an alcoholic, the mother of a drug addict, the survivor of a brutal, senseless attack, the parents who have lost a child much to young, or someone struggling with their own guilt ….……goodness, I do not think there is a soul out there that has not experienced some sort of the tragedies this book entails. And yet…..and yet, there is hope. There is God and forgiveness and recovery. I cannot even begin to tell you how personally emotional this book was to me, I have struggled as a family member in a few of these tragedies covered, and still continue to pray and fight for my loved ones every single day. There are no easy answers, and there is no magic button. There is Jesus. He is the answer for all the struggles….there is no promises that this life will be easy, but He does promise to walk with us every step of the way. I cannot emphasize enough that while this is a work of fiction, it truly addresses real life issues in a non-fiction way. I struggle every single day with what addiction has done to members of my family. It frustrates me and makes me angry and scared……reading a novel such as this one has truly opened my eyes and heart to what others go through, including the recovering addict themselves. Thank you, Janet Ferguson, for putting pen to paper and bringing this story to life…even now, days later I sit here and cry as I write this review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "The past has light and shadows we don't see without looking from a different perspective." I cannot believe this is the first book by Janet Ferguson that I have read! So many bloggers and reviewers have raved about the author's work and, obviously, I've been a little slow on following their advice. And now the author has found herself yet another fan of her work. Her writing is a deeply moving and thought-provoking work of art that blends words to create a beautiful canvas of hope and her charac "The past has light and shadows we don't see without looking from a different perspective." I cannot believe this is the first book by Janet Ferguson that I have read! So many bloggers and reviewers have raved about the author's work and, obviously, I've been a little slow on following their advice. And now the author has found herself yet another fan of her work. Her writing is a deeply moving and thought-provoking work of art that blends words to create a beautiful canvas of hope and her characters are so real, tangible, broken, yet redeemed and they draw you right into their hearts and souls. The topic of addiction that is prominent in the story is well-researched, honest, and heart-breaking yet portrayed with tenderness and sensitivity. Misconceptions regarding addiction are shattered and hope for recovery is shown through faith and community. I especially appreciated that the struggles of all who are involved in addiction and recovery - those currently addicted (whether wanting recovery or not), those in recovery, those helping to make recovery a reality, and those whose loved ones are either addicted or in recovery - were addressed in this story which clearly shows that recovery is multi-dimensional and complex. And the characters! Oh, Rivers and Cooper are such tender-hearted, compassionate souls hurting deeply from their gut-wrenching sorrow and pain. Rivers has yet to recover from the death of her fiance and she's lost in a world of darkness when she used to paint light and goodness. Cooper is a recovered addict who is using his gift of art and counseling to help others gain and sustain sobriety but is still trapped in his past of regrets and mistakes. Their journey toward forgiveness, reconciliation, and freedom from fear is peppered with wonderful encouragement from Scripture and fantastic, funny, witty dialogue and interaction amongst the characters. You'll need a box of tissues as you read the book but you'll also find yourself laughing out loud unexpectedly from interesting similes and metaphors that one particular secondary character loves to spout. If you've never read a Janet Ferguson book and love contemporary romance, this is THE book to start your journey; if you're a fan of Janet Ferguson, you will be enchanted and captivated all over again. This is book 3 in the Coastal Hearts series but it is a stand-alone novel. I received a copy of the book from the author and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Bylin

    My favorite stories shine the light of grace at its brightest. That usually means going some place dark, where characters are imperfect, and faith is the only way out. The Art of Rivers fits that description perfectly. I loved it :) Recommended for anyone who enjoys heart-tugging stories, especially romances where the characters face very real obstacles. Also recommended for people in recovery, family and friends of those fighting for sobriety, and especially for anyone struggling with their own My favorite stories shine the light of grace at its brightest. That usually means going some place dark, where characters are imperfect, and faith is the only way out. The Art of Rivers fits that description perfectly. I loved it :) Recommended for anyone who enjoys heart-tugging stories, especially romances where the characters face very real obstacles. Also recommended for people in recovery, family and friends of those fighting for sobriety, and especially for anyone struggling with their own demons of addiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis

    A moving story of second chances I hesitated reading The Art of Rivers, seeing it was about addiction. I have read several heavy books recently and wasn’t sure I was ready for another one just yet. Something about the synopsis kept calling to me, inviting me in. And the wonderful cover. . . I am so glad I didn’t pass it by! Janet Ferguson painted such a vivid picture with her words, full of life and hope. There was agony too, and deep grief, yet they were skillfully blended to create a lovely mast A moving story of second chances I hesitated reading The Art of Rivers, seeing it was about addiction. I have read several heavy books recently and wasn’t sure I was ready for another one just yet. Something about the synopsis kept calling to me, inviting me in. And the wonderful cover. . . I am so glad I didn’t pass it by! Janet Ferguson painted such a vivid picture with her words, full of life and hope. There was agony too, and deep grief, yet they were skillfully blended to create a lovely masterpiece. Seeing characters about to make a bad choice kills me. Whether they are walking down a dangerous alley about to get mugged or are giving in to temptation. Anticipating their impending peril gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. Just about every time! I was so amazed at one point in The Art of Rivers where a character was being tempted by drugs to find instead of the typical nausea I experience, that instead I understood the lure and empathized with him! No, not that I wanted drugs! I was just so much in his head, experiencing his turmoil. Now that is some incredible writing! I admired Cooper so very much! He had experienced so much grief in his life it was amazing he wasn’t completely broken. Knowing how powerful addictions could be and determined not to allow himself any addictive substance, no matter how “harmless”; he wouldn’t even drink coffee. His heart for those lost in the world of addiction was overwhelming and he poured himself out for those who were hurting in such a humble and sincere way! Rivers earned her grief and fear the hard way. Her pain was palpable! I could sense how lost she felt and how out of her element. Yet even in her sorrow, she was willing to listen to God’s direction to serve the very people she despised for what they had cost her. Drawn in from the start, my attention didn’t waver through the entire story. I found it difficult taking care of everyday things like working, cooking, and sleeping! Not only did I love the characters and the rich descriptions, which allowed me to see the images and the art clearly, I was also blessed by the deep spiritual message that permeated the story. I highly recommend this beautiful story. Read my full review at Among the Reads I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    There was so much to enjoy in The Art of Rivers. I love when a book can draw emotion from me and this one definitely accomplished that. Rivers and Cooper have been through so much that my heart just ached for them. There seemed to be trouble at every turn, walls blocking their paths and emotional turmoil that left even me breathless. Through it all was a sliver of hope that kept me invested and pushing forward right along with Rivers and Cooper. Cooper and Rivers dedicate their lives to helping o There was so much to enjoy in The Art of Rivers. I love when a book can draw emotion from me and this one definitely accomplished that. Rivers and Cooper have been through so much that my heart just ached for them. There seemed to be trouble at every turn, walls blocking their paths and emotional turmoil that left even me breathless. Through it all was a sliver of hope that kept me invested and pushing forward right along with Rivers and Cooper. Cooper and Rivers dedicate their lives to helping others who have struggles similar to their own. I loved their dedication and devotion to those struggling. It takes a special kind of individual to do something like that, not only in this book but in real life too. I know there are so many people trying to make the world a better place by helping others through the tough patches and I'm so grateful for them. I loved how the relationship between Rivers and Cooper developed. It was a sweet romance born in the midst of struggle and it was extremely satisfying. I will say that this book is heavy on the Christian elements. It was a bit more than I personally prefer in a fiction book but that is just a personal preference. If you are looking for a light Christian or inspirational book, this would not be the one to pick up. Content: alcohol and drug abuse, death, some violence, heavy Christian elements

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    This is a Christian Fiction story about second chances, drug addiction, romance and forgiveness. A year after her fiancee is shot and killed and she injured, Rivers heads to St. Simon's island to clean out both the cottage and store that she inherited from Jordan. She plans to sell them both and head back to Memphis. What she does not expect is to meat Jordan's cousin Cooper aka Jay, who is a recovering addict and now works at a recovery home as well as running the gallery she has inherited. Wha This is a Christian Fiction story about second chances, drug addiction, romance and forgiveness. A year after her fiancee is shot and killed and she injured, Rivers heads to St. Simon's island to clean out both the cottage and store that she inherited from Jordan. She plans to sell them both and head back to Memphis. What she does not expect is to meat Jordan's cousin Cooper aka Jay, who is a recovering addict and now works at a recovery home as well as running the gallery she has inherited. What happens next is unexpected by both Cooper and Rivers. I have not read anything by Janet W. Ferguson and was quite impressed with the way she handles the storyline of addiction. She writes about the impact on the addict as well as the addict's family and friends. She does not sugar coat it either, she includes the dirty, gritty side as well as the hopeful side of those who are successful in recovery. Anyone familiar with the twelve step program knows how much forgiveness plays a part in recovery and this book stresses forgiving oneself as well as others. I loved the character of Rivers. She was fragile, still dealing with her loss of Jordan, yet strong in her convictions of helping others. Cooper is also a great character. He does not mince words when he talks about the fragility of being sober and how easy it could be to relapse. He loves Rivers, but does not want to complicate her life, especially where Jordan's parents are concerned. My heart broke for him. He went through so much in his life, yet came out of the storm with a strong faith and caring attitude. The second thread I really enjoyed is the art therapy story. Art therapy is a great way to deal with so many different mental health issues, and emotions both for the patient and the therapist. It was very well done in this book and woven seamlessly into this story. This book is clearly Christian Fiction and the thread of Christian faith is strong throughout the book. I enjoyed this story very much and will be looking for others in the Coastal Hearts series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ochegba

    I heard so much about this book this year and it became one I really wanted to read so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it quickly and honestly I don't regret it. It's obvious that this book comes from the authors heart. The way she tackles addiction and recovery it's real, it's painful, it's hard but with God it's definitely possible. I love that the author didn't gloss over the topic but made it as real as she could. Rivers is one strong character with all the pain she has gone I heard so much about this book this year and it became one I really wanted to read so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it quickly and honestly I don't regret it. It's obvious that this book comes from the authors heart. The way she tackles addiction and recovery it's real, it's painful, it's hard but with God it's definitely possible. I love that the author didn't gloss over the topic but made it as real as she could. Rivers is one strong character with all the pain she has gone and the darkness she feels she still holds onto her faith trusting that God will pull her through even though she doesn't feel it will happen soon but being around Cooper and those in the recovery home threatens her more than she realises. The unforgiveness she feels is nearly her undoing and realising she may be falling for him makes her want to hide because it all just feels so wrong. I'm glad she didn't let go and run away and hide, I'm glad she put herself out there and was willing to work with these people whose lifestyle had affected her in a very remarkable way. She grew and came out stronger. And there's Cooper. I can't remember a character who is more real about their struggles like he is and his desire to help as many that were just like him. He knows he can't do it alone and honestly without God and accountability he's a sitting duck. I love the way he dealt with his struggles openly and sincerely. This was an emotional but very wonderful read recommend for those who have been affected by addiction, are struggling with it or just want to know more. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Prism Books as part of their book tour. All opinions expressed are mine

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chanel

    I love the evidence of faith and Scriptural truth that shines through this book. The recognition of how the enemy attacks us and the hope, mercy, and strength we can find in Christ while going through trials, temptations, and afflictions is so gripping, honest, and encouraging - especially in the context of addiction, grief, and loss. The author demonstrates graceful tact by revealing the full spectrum of addiction in each stage with authenticity - its pull, a person's breaking point to want to I love the evidence of faith and Scriptural truth that shines through this book. The recognition of how the enemy attacks us and the hope, mercy, and strength we can find in Christ while going through trials, temptations, and afflictions is so gripping, honest, and encouraging - especially in the context of addiction, grief, and loss. The author demonstrates graceful tact by revealing the full spectrum of addiction in each stage with authenticity - its pull, a person's breaking point to want to stop, the harshness of recovery, and even the temptation people may feel in sobriety. And yet she does not neglect to illustrate the hope, grace, and healing we have in Christ and how his love covers our sin, guilt, and mistakes. The realism of the messy and raw emotions the main characters, Rivers and Cooper, experienced made them relatable and easy to sympathize with. Their romance was sweet and gentle, which complemented the tone of this story perfectly. I also loved the Reclaimed community and the beauty of having people support each other in those struggles with compassion and understanding - how they ministered with openness about their pasts with strangers was so inspiring. All in all, The Art of Rivers is a powerful and excellent read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth | Faithfully Bookish

    Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Fans of beauty from ashes stories, this book is for you! From tragedy to triumph, Cooper and Rivers navigate turbulent waters of regret and grief in a challenging and inspiring tribute to second chances. Ferguson delivers a complex and faith-filled plot with raw and authentically flawed characters. In addition to featuring a hefty dose of grief, The Art of Rivers also touches on the issues of addiction, family dynamics, and legacy. As always, Janet W. Ferguson Full review on FaithfullyBookish.com Fans of beauty from ashes stories, this book is for you! From tragedy to triumph, Cooper and Rivers navigate turbulent waters of regret and grief in a challenging and inspiring tribute to second chances. Ferguson delivers a complex and faith-filled plot with raw and authentically flawed characters. In addition to featuring a hefty dose of grief, The Art of Rivers also touches on the issues of addiction, family dynamics, and legacy. As always, Janet W. Ferguson crafts a story with honesty, healing, and hope. I recommend this book as well as the previous installments of the Coastal Hearts series. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Iola

    Artist Rivers Sullivan has the almost-perfect life … Until her fiancé is gunned down by a drug addict just ten days before their wedding. A year later, she’s on St. Simons Island, Georgia, preparing to pack up and sell the Barlow family cottage and art gallery, which she inherited from Jordan. Here she meets Jordan’s cousin, an ex-addict who tore Jordan’s family apart when Jordan’s younger sister died in Cooper’s care. Jordan’s family still blames Cooper for Susannah’s death, although Jordan had Artist Rivers Sullivan has the almost-perfect life … Until her fiancé is gunned down by a drug addict just ten days before their wedding. A year later, she’s on St. Simons Island, Georgia, preparing to pack up and sell the Barlow family cottage and art gallery, which she inherited from Jordan. Here she meets Jordan’s cousin, an ex-addict who tore Jordan’s family apart when Jordan’s younger sister died in Cooper’s care. Jordan’s family still blames Cooper for Susannah’s death, although Jordan had been trying to reconcile with Cooper before his death. Rivers meets Cooper and finds he works in the gallery and runs a ministry for addicts, Re-Claimed. Rivers doesn’t want to have anything to do with addicts, past or present. Jordan was murdered by an addict. His sister lost her life due to an addict’s carelessness. Her mother is an alcoholic. Addicts can’t be trusted. Yet she’s attracted to Cooper, to his faith, to his passion for art. Almost against her will, Rivers finds herself getting involved in the gallery, in Re-Claimed, and with Cooper. But someone seems to want Re-Claimed closed, and is prepared to go to great lengths to make that happen … The Art of Rivers is an excellent example of self-published Christian fiction. The writing is top quality—as good as any Christian novel I’ve read. The characters feel real, and their conflicts a natural outworking of their personalities. There was no feeling that the conflict was contrived, or that the author had manipulated the characters to build the required tension. Some novels I read have an almost paint-by-numbers approach to the plot and characters, which doesn’t make for an engaging read. The Art of Rivers had none of that, which was excellent. The real strength is that The Art of Rivers is a novel with Christian characters doing their best to live a Christian life in a world full of sin. This is something that’s often missing from the novels from the large mainstream Christian publishers (many of which are owned by non-Christian multinational media conglomerates). While I’m happy to read these “Christian-lite” novels that have good stories and none of the content I’d rather not fill my mind with, it’s great to have more serious Christian fiction that deals with real-world issues from a Christian perspective. Recommended. Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    The Art of Rivers delves into the impact of addiction on family members, friends, counselors and even law enforcement by alcoholics and drug addicts. Rivers Sullivan leaves Memphis for St. Simons Island to handle the estate of her fiance after he is shot by a suspected drug addict. On the island, she is faced with the other side of addiction...counselors and volunteers fostering an environment of sobriety. What touched me most about this novel was the use of color. As an artist, Rivers thought in The Art of Rivers delves into the impact of addiction on family members, friends, counselors and even law enforcement by alcoholics and drug addicts. Rivers Sullivan leaves Memphis for St. Simons Island to handle the estate of her fiance after he is shot by a suspected drug addict. On the island, she is faced with the other side of addiction...counselors and volunteers fostering an environment of sobriety. What touched me most about this novel was the use of color. As an artist, Rivers thought in colors and that imagery came through beautifully. The next Coastal Hearts novel will focus on one of the not so easy to love characters from The Art of Rivers. My gratitude to the author for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    The Art of Rivers was a deeply moving novel that dealt with broken people finding hope again. The main characters were connected in so many ways, including the fact that Rivers’ deceased fiancé was the cousin to Cooper. But, equally compelling was the way the destruction of addiction had touched both of these characters’ lives in different ways. Cooper and Rivers had many things to deal with in this story and I thought that the author handled the topics in a sensitive way. There was much pain, th The Art of Rivers was a deeply moving novel that dealt with broken people finding hope again. The main characters were connected in so many ways, including the fact that Rivers’ deceased fiancé was the cousin to Cooper. But, equally compelling was the way the destruction of addiction had touched both of these characters’ lives in different ways. Cooper and Rivers had many things to deal with in this story and I thought that the author handled the topics in a sensitive way. There was much pain, the need for forgiveness, and hope all wrapped up in the pages of this novel. This is the third book in the series, yet can be read as a stand alone novel. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sherri

    Wow! This book is a romance novel, but it’s so much more. There are few people unaffected by the opioid crisis and this book shows the many viewpoints (and heartaches) involved. The author illustrates the reality of drug addiction with grace and honesty.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gracie

    Wow! Everyone loves a good happily ever after, right? But what about when happily ever after disappears into darkness and hopelessness and the life you thought you’d lead turns out to be completely different after all? Can you still forgive? Find hope? Live? These are some of the tough questions that author Janet Ferguson tackles in this spellbinding, heart-wrenching, and utterly amazing book. From the first couple of pages I was completely drawn in and knew this story would be something special. Th Wow! Everyone loves a good happily ever after, right? But what about when happily ever after disappears into darkness and hopelessness and the life you thought you’d lead turns out to be completely different after all? Can you still forgive? Find hope? Live? These are some of the tough questions that author Janet Ferguson tackles in this spellbinding, heart-wrenching, and utterly amazing book. From the first couple of pages I was completely drawn in and knew this story would be something special. The author did a fabulous job of crafting a story of hope even in the midst of shattering pain and darkness. She drew characters with faith—strong faith in their true God. Characters with fascinating journeys that intertwine into a road that was incredible to follow along. So give this one a shot! Does it have hard topics? Absolutely! Pain, struggle, and impossibilities? Yes. What about an incredible God and redemption that only He can work? Yes, it does!! I received a copy of this book for FREE, and a positive review was not required.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    The Art of Rivers by Janet W. Ferguson, is yet another beautiful, inspiring, and realistic story that readers will absolutely love. As readers come to know the couple in the story and the tragic incidences in their lives that bring them together, they will soon be rooting for these characters to form not just a friendship but a special bond that might just lead them to a chance at love if they can overcome their scars and mistakes. Readers will easily relate to the characters, pondering their ow The Art of Rivers by Janet W. Ferguson, is yet another beautiful, inspiring, and realistic story that readers will absolutely love. As readers come to know the couple in the story and the tragic incidences in their lives that bring them together, they will soon be rooting for these characters to form not just a friendship but a special bond that might just lead them to a chance at love if they can overcome their scars and mistakes. Readers will easily relate to the characters, pondering their own personal pains and troubles. This is a story that will leave a lasting impression upon readers long after they turn the last page. Series: Coastal Hearts Genre: contemporary, romance, Christian Publisher: Southern Sun Press Publication date: June 30, 2019 Number of pages: 249 A review copy of this book was purchased for review. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    When I saw this book, I thought it would be a good read, because I had read the author before. I had no idea it would be one that informed me and helped me understand so much about the world of addiction. The author did such a good job on all sides of addiction. It truly made me think about things in a new way. It’s a story that drew me in from page one as an engaged couple are happily getting their marriage license then tragedy strikes. Then we see how the grief process is handled and so much m When I saw this book, I thought it would be a good read, because I had read the author before. I had no idea it would be one that informed me and helped me understand so much about the world of addiction. The author did such a good job on all sides of addiction. It truly made me think about things in a new way. It’s a story that drew me in from page one as an engaged couple are happily getting their marriage license then tragedy strikes. Then we see how the grief process is handled and so much more. I highly recommend this book, because so many have been touched by addiction in the world today. It may give you a new perspective and help you help someone else as they walk the path. I think it’s great that a fiction book can do that, not only give you a reading experience but teach you something as well. I received a copy of this book from the author. All views expressed here are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    Janet Ferguson’s latest story is one that will resonate with anyone who has a heart for the grieving or those battling with addiction. It also draws readers into a small community of people dedicated to helping addicts break free from the chains that bind them—a struggle that is portrayed with the perfect balance of honesty and grace. But for Rivers, who knows first hand what it is like to live with an addict, “Having grace and mercy for addicts didn’t mean she had to be in a romantic relationsh Janet Ferguson’s latest story is one that will resonate with anyone who has a heart for the grieving or those battling with addiction. It also draws readers into a small community of people dedicated to helping addicts break free from the chains that bind them—a struggle that is portrayed with the perfect balance of honesty and grace. But for Rivers, who knows first hand what it is like to live with an addict, “Having grace and mercy for addicts didn’t mean she had to be in a romantic relationship with one.” The story does great justice to the complex emotions that come with grief, guilt, and loving those battling addiction. I could feel the weightiness of the burdens these characters bore, but at the same time, could also feel the strength that came from bringing those burdens to Christ. The romance that develops between Rivers and Cooper is a tender one as they work through bruised emotions and find a measure of healing for their own pain, but the story doesn’t stop there. It also delivers forgiveness and reconciliation, as well as some surprise suspense at the end. And there is the added interest provided by the glimpses into the way art can be used in therapy. This is a lovely read for those who are looking for a contemporary romance with a strong message of hope. I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hallie (Hallie Reads)

    4.5 Her scars make it hard to keep moving forward, so when Rivers Sullivan arrives in St. Simons Island, she realizes it is time to focus on healing. James Cooper Knight, too, has recovery to do, and it is no easy task—especially when Rivers’s presence only adds to the complications. Through these characters in The Art of Rivers, Janet Ferguson delves into the complexities of addiction, its consequences and rippling effects. There is a lot with which to grapple in this story, and Rivers and Cooper 4.5 Her scars make it hard to keep moving forward, so when Rivers Sullivan arrives in St. Simons Island, she realizes it is time to focus on healing. James Cooper Knight, too, has recovery to do, and it is no easy task—especially when Rivers’s presence only adds to the complications. Through these characters in The Art of Rivers, Janet Ferguson delves into the complexities of addiction, its consequences and rippling effects. There is a lot with which to grapple in this story, and Rivers and Cooper brings the challenges to life so well. Add in romance, a great cast of characters, and faith-filled second chances, and it’s an addicting read—in only the best of ways. I loved my time with these characters. Though it’s the third in the Coastal Hearts series, The Art of Rivers can be read as a standalone; I had no problem getting into it, and I haven’t read the other two books (though I might have to fix that now). Contemporary readers, you don’t want to skip The Art of Rivers. This review is also posted on Hallie Reads. I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I was in a bit of a reading slump when I picked up The Art of Rivers—in fact, it was the third book I'd attempted to read that day. But once I got going with The Art of Rivers, I couldn't put it down! While this book has the things I look for in a romance—romantic chemistry between the couple, a reasonable conflict, and well-drawn supporting characters—it also pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit ... in a good way. Addiction factors heavily into this novel, and sometimes it's heartbreaking to re I was in a bit of a reading slump when I picked up The Art of Rivers—in fact, it was the third book I'd attempted to read that day. But once I got going with The Art of Rivers, I couldn't put it down! While this book has the things I look for in a romance—romantic chemistry between the couple, a reasonable conflict, and well-drawn supporting characters—it also pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit ... in a good way. Addiction factors heavily into this novel, and sometimes it's heartbreaking to read about. Addiction hasn't had a huge impact on my life, but I do have a relative who is an alcoholic, and reading this book helped me to understand a little bit of what this person goes through while fighting to stay sober and gave me a little more compassion. While this is the third book in Ferguson's Coastal Hearts series, it absolutely works as a stand-alone novel. (I haven't read the first two books, so I'm not sure if any characters overlap.) It's a wonderful story that provides a heartbreaking look at addiction while showing the hope that can be found in Christ. 4-1/2 stars. Disclosure of material connection: I received a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda H

    I was blown away by this book! I've enjoyed Janet's previous stories, but I think she outdid herself with this book. The Art of Rivers deals with some hard topics, like losing a loved one and addiction. I appreciated that Janet doesn't sugar coat either one. When Rivers goes to clean out the cottage left to her by her departed fiancé. When she finds out that part of her inheritance is tied to a ministry that helps recovering addicts, she is forced to face her perception of loss and grief. I thou I was blown away by this book! I've enjoyed Janet's previous stories, but I think she outdid herself with this book. The Art of Rivers deals with some hard topics, like losing a loved one and addiction. I appreciated that Janet doesn't sugar coat either one. When Rivers goes to clean out the cottage left to her by her departed fiancé. When she finds out that part of her inheritance is tied to a ministry that helps recovering addicts, she is forced to face her perception of loss and grief. I thought this story and the characters were well written and that Janet does a wonderful job of reminding us that addiction is no respecter of persons, but affects people from all walks of life. I highly recommend this thought provoking story! I received a copy of this book from JustRead tours. This is my honest review and is in no way influenced by receiving a complimentary copy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Misty Beller

    I've long been a fan of Janet Ferguson's Southern romances because she tackles tough subjects, while keeping the storylines fun and introducing me to fantastic characters who become dear friends. The Art of Rivers is now my new favorite! Addiction has probably touched most of our lives in one way or another (some in heartbreakingly painful ways), and this story doesn't shy away from the gritty truth of the disease. Yet the hope and inspiration Janet weaves into this story makes this book a must I've long been a fan of Janet Ferguson's Southern romances because she tackles tough subjects, while keeping the storylines fun and introducing me to fantastic characters who become dear friends. The Art of Rivers is now my new favorite! Addiction has probably touched most of our lives in one way or another (some in heartbreakingly painful ways), and this story doesn't shy away from the gritty truth of the disease. Yet the hope and inspiration Janet weaves into this story makes this book a must read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    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 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson is the third book in her A Coastal Hearts series. Each book in the series is centered around the life struggles that so many contend with in today’s world. Big struggles like failing relationships, estrangement, and in The Art of Rivers, the devastating rip-tide like currents of addiction. When Rivers Sullivan finds herself with a healing bullet wound in her shoulder, and a dead fiancé she is crushed, and despite her occupation as a therapist she is still stru The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson is the third book in her A Coastal Hearts series. Each book in the series is centered around the life struggles that so many contend with in today’s world. Big struggles like failing relationships, estrangement, and in The Art of Rivers, the devastating rip-tide like currents of addiction. When Rivers Sullivan finds herself with a healing bullet wound in her shoulder, and a dead fiancé she is crushed, and despite her occupation as a therapist she is still struggling with soul-crushing grief over a year later. With their wedding only weeks away, Rivers fiancé had already designated her his sole beneficiary, leaving her with a beach cottage and art gallery in St. Simons Island. Hoping to move forward in healing, Rivers travels to St. Simons to clear out the old beach cottage, selling it and the art gallery. Struggling with any desire to draw, Rivers wandered out on the beach with her tablet, a gift from her fiancé. Seeing a sandbar offshore, she decides to take her tablet and just sit there, hoping she could draw something, that the beauty of the ocean would spark something in her deadened heart. Deep in contemplation, Rivers does not notice the tide is coming in, the sandbar slowly disappearing in each wave. When James Cooper Knight sees the woman dangerously stranded on a diminishing sandbar, he heads out on a boat to rescue her. He’s intrigued by the beautiful, but sad young woman; the two embark on a slow friendship undergirded by distrust and pain. “Cooper” is a recovering addict, 5 years; the estrangement from his family seems insurmountable. Together, Rivers and Cooper, begin to learn to trust someone else, to trust God with grace. Healing came come in some of the most amazing ways. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Just Read Tours and am not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions therein are solely my own, and freely given.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Hetzel

    4.5 star I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! After a string of 3 star books, I was starting to get seriously bored of reading. Deciding to look up something new by someone I'd read before, I found this one and it's lit the spark again. 😊 Thank you, Janet! 4.5 star I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! After a string of 3 star books, I was starting to get seriously bored of reading. Deciding to look up something new by someone I'd read before, I found this one and it's lit the spark again. 😊 Thank you, Janet!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Janet’s writing style will let you imagine every scene and feel every emotion of these characters. This story of addiction, redemption and love for mankind will leave you in awe of our Heavenly Father.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book deals with a tough subject beautifully. It's the story of addiction and how it affects more than just the addict. It is a gritty story but has hope woven through it. In my opinion, this is a must read! This book deals with a tough subject beautifully. It's the story of addiction and how it affects more than just the addict. It is a gritty story but has hope woven through it. In my opinion, this is a must read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    A beautiful, engaging contemporary romance! Full review to come.

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