A book full of secrets, tragedy, romance, scandal, dysfunctional families, ghosts… and tea leaves.
Ryan’s Return is based in the fictional Serenity Springs, a small town with a river at its heart. Kara, a divorcee, has recently returned to Serenity Springs with her young daughter and opened and bed and breakfast in her aunt’s old house close to the river. In a bid to increase the town’s profile, Kara invites Ryan Hunter, an award-winning photojournalist who grew up in the town, to be guest of honour at the town’s centennial celebrations. Twenty-five years ago, when the river last flooded, Kara and Ryan’s lives were changed forever. Now, as the river rises once more, ‘the secrets of years past are washed ashore and brought to life’.
I really love the description and personification of the river in this book:
‘She’s just like a woman… She gives life, brings peace, and nurtures the land. And when she is angry, all hell breaks loose.’
‘I haven’t seen her this fast in years. She’s roaring with passion.’
Every character in this story has been affected by the river in some way; consequently, some love it, some loathe it. Either way, the river holds the key to the many mysteries of the people, past and present, in this small town.
This book considers some emotive subjects such as what it is to be a father, or a family; guilt and grudges, and letting them both go; and what you would do for those you love, or give up to keep hold of them. The characters were real and likeable, and I found myself hoping for happy endings for them all. There were elements of the spiritual with a ghost or spirit, which, although unusual for this genre, were cleverly woven into the plot and would not be off-putting for those that do not believe.
Overall, I found this book to be an emotional and lovely read, with mystery and romance. Above all, it also reminds we are only a small part of this world, and when a river is stirred, nothing can hold it or its secrets back.
Ryan’s Return is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store