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Book Review: River Rising by Athol Dickson

 River Rising

When I think of the Mississippi River I think about mosquitoes, nutria rats, snakes, alligators, and high humidity and heat. I cannot imagine working there: whether aboard a boat, or in the river itself. In our era we can escape to our air-conditioned offices and homes, but in 1927 this was not an option. 
River Rising is a story with the setting of Pilot Point, Louisiana. Pilot Point is an isolated town, accessible only by boat, near the swampy Mississippi river. The time period is 1927. Although prejudice and Jim Crow laws are strong in the southern states, Pilot Point appears to be an oasis.
Reverend Hale Poser a black man with pale eyes is noticed immediately by Pilot Point citizens as a newby in town. Poser has a mysterious air about him, people can't quite put their finger on it, but he's different. Some respond by being unfriendly because they don't trust him (or fear him), others find themselves drawn to him. 
Wealthy Papa DeGroot has been an amiable citizen, he's "done a lot for colored people." He gave a "gift to the community" in the hospital he provided for the colored people. Poser is given a job at the infirmary as a janitor. Poser meets a patient named Rosa who is having a difficult time delivering her fourth baby. After baby Hannah's miraculous birth, she disappears. Hannah was not the first baby to disappear---there have been several. 
This is when the story takes a dramatic unexpected plunge into the past.
"The colored fellow came early in the morning, poling a pirogue through mist so heavy on the river you could not see a stone's throw out." page 1. 
  • There's magic in the tone and voice of a southern story. A southern drawl or figure of speech transcend my mind to the deep south. The ability to perceive the story becomes more acute. I can feel the oppressive heat, or hear the cicada's in the trees. Tone and voice are key points in a good story that intoxicates me. 
  • Characters can come on strong as soon as we are introduced to them, or in a humility and strength that needs no bravado, will become apparent as the story progresses. Other characters in quietness hold in their venomous nature, but in time and as the story progresses, their intentions and purposes will be made known.  
  • It is a balance act to reveal certain aspects of a story that lay hidden and crouched till just the right moment.     
These three points were some of my favorite aspects of River Rising.

I feel this is one of the BEST in Christian fiction books I've read!
If you have not read this book, please don't wait.

Published by Bethany House 2005
304 pages
Fiction/Southern Story/Old South/Slavery/Segregation

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $14.99
Kindle is $2.99
Athol Dickson has a new book yet unreleased: The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs, January Justice. 
Link for his books: