River Rising by Athol Dickson – a Book Review

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The 2006 Christy award-winning book River Rising is beautifully written with a unique and memorable hero. At the beginning of River Rising, Rev. Hale Poser has come to Pilotville, Louisiana in 1927 looking for his past, hoping to find the parents he never knew. However, Poser finds more than he anticipates in the bayou when he steps right into a terrible mystery – a stolen baby. While Hale struggles with his faith, he is drawn deeper into the mystery as he discovers other missing babies spanning several decades.

From this mysterious and beautifully written beginning, the book plunges rather awkwardly into a more bizarre plot shift which seems contrived to force home the author’s point dealing with racial issues. Set during the great Mississippi flood of 1927, River Rising explores racism, faith and poverty. In River Rising, Author Athol Dickson arrives at some disturbing conclusions based upon his perspective on the ugliness of Southern racism. Nothing is quite as it seems in River Rising.

Although, I found parts of River Rising very contrived, from start to finish I enjoyed Dickson’s ability to use imagery and evocative phrasing, and as the book progressed, I was deeply moved by Hale’s plight, as implausible as it was at times. Dickson paints a very believable character in a rather unbelievable situation. River Rising is a story of redemption, salvation, and loss and is not a bad read on a quiet afternnon.

River Rising by Athol Dickson was published by Bethany House on January 1, 2006.

Previously published in Brief Book Reviews.

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