Title: River of Tears
Author: Michele L. Montgomery
Publisher: Silver Stream Press
Characters: Abby and Caiden
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, non-erotic romance
Abby marries Caiden, her soul mate, and they begin a family. Suddenly, Abby is alone with her children and the bloody clothes Caiden last wore. Abby sets out to prove Caiden is alive in a twisted game of keep-away.
Abby meets Caiden at sixteen and knows she has met her soul mate. At nineteen Abby marries the love of her life begins their family and after seven years of marriage it ends.
Abby is left alone with her children and the bloody clothes that Caiden was last seen in and she sets out to prove her husband is alive and taken against his will in a twisted game of keep-away.
Abby begins an eight-year search. She learns the secrets of her husband’s childhood and the hell he endured. More determined than ever to locate Caiden before his family kills him, Abby opens the doors to Caiden’s private world of hell and exposes his family for what they are.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This is a re-edited, re-release title.
Reviewed by DH Starr
River of Tears by Michele Montgomery is a heart wrenching story about the suffering of our two main characters, Abby and Caiden. Caiden comes from a hateful family, one where abuse of all sorts take place. From the moment he was born, Caiden was unloved and abused. But somehow, he managed to find Abby, the love of his life. For a while, their lives seem to go along smoothly with the normal stresses of having kids, adjusting to the responsibility of growing up, and dealing with in-laws who are unpleasant. But Caiden’s family was anything but normal.
Once the context for the story is established, Caiden is kidnapped by his family. That’s right, kidnapped. And for eight long years Abby frets as she searches for her husband, nearly finding him on several occasions, but then losing the trail as the family dodges the authorities over and over. In the end, the story is wrapped up with the happy ending we all expect in a romance, but it’s hard to be really happy when you know the pain the characters have experienced. This was a dark journey, one that exposes the underbelly of very real experiences. But at its heart, this story is about the power of love to heal any wound. It reveals, through its raw brashness, that no one is ever too far gone to be saved.
What I enjoyed about the story was how well Ms. Montgomery captured the emotions of the characters. This book was filled with ups and downs and each emotion was played out on the pages so the reader could really get inside the character’s head. A lot of research must have gone into the writing of this story as the topic of abduction and long term emotional damage were handled extremely well. As I read, I found myself reflecting on the pain a family would experience if a loved one went missing. When a person is missing, typically I would expect the only focus to be on finding that person, but for Abby, there are times when her anger and depression force her to confront thoughts which I never would have considered before reading this book.
There are a few things to be aware of when picking up this book. First, it’s long. That’s not to say Ms. Mongomery dragged on. Each moment and scene are important and she has a tight plot and writing style, but it’s well over 300 pages. Also, the story doesn’t pull punches. It addressed child sexual abuse, rape, abduction, violence, and family hatred. It does so without apology and the language is raw and visceral. These topics, particularly the abuse and rape, are not explicitly drawn out in the prose, but they are not simply alluded to either. They are discussed and the emotional fallout from those things is definitely made plain.
Those considerations aside, Ms. Montgomery has once again done what I’ve come to expect from her. In a very pure way, she’s presented raw human emotions and experiences and allows the reader a glimpse inside the head of some ugly and scary experiences. The whole time, she sends messages about family, love, commitment, forgiveness, and healing in a very down-to-earth way that all can relate to.
Readers should be aware this is a long story portraying horrifying experiences, but if you enjoy being carried on a journey, experiencing emotions in a detailed and fleshed out manner, this story will not disappoint. And in the end, you’ll read about simple truths which we can all connect to. Truths such as family is where your heart is. Love can conquer any evil. And no matter how difficult the challenge, human beings have the ability to persevere and heal.