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Beside Two Rivers

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Beside Two Rivers by Rita Gerlach

Reviewed by Julia Reffner

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"Gerlach’s language is beautifully descriptive, the reader is transported to a world they won’t want to leave."

Jane Austen fans will find much to love in the Regency novel, Beside Two Rivers. Gerlach effortlessly transports the reader into the world of Darcy Morgan as she travels from the Delaware River valley to the misty moors of England and back. Setting as character is a skill this author demonstrates mastery at, amd this reader found herself in a dreamy reverie ending with a sigh of delight. Even as I put the book down, I wanted to enter further into Darcy’s real and imagined worlds. I often find myself disappointed with Regencies as I am a fan of Jane Austen, but Gerlach demonstrates a strong and unique style.

Each character is seamlessly drawn, from the mysterious yet kind Ethan to the delightful character Mrs. Breese who plays the role of the “silly” as typically found in Regency period literature. Gerlach seamlessly enters Darcy’s thoughts and I felt her emotions intensely. Her faith was convincing and threaded gently into the novel through her thoughts and actions. It was never necessary for Gerlach to preach to the reader as faith was a natural part of the storyline.

When Darcy is invited to visit her grandmother jealousies, secrets and old promises come to light. How do we keep our promises? Ethan and Darcy are kept apart by an oath made with a mysterious woman from Darcy’s past. Will these untold secrets destroy their lives? Or will their commitment to faith be strong enough to break the power of these lies?

As an unabashed armchair traveler this book captivated me from start to finish and I delighted in journeying to new settings. Gerlach’s language is beautifully descriptive, the reader is transported to a world they won’t want to leave. Beside Two Rivers was at times a slow read, although it was filled with conflict. But it was slow in the sense that I wanted to savor each lovely word. I look forward with delight to Gerlach’s next novel.

Julia ReffnerJulia M. Reffner is blessed to be a servant to the King, married to the love of her life, a busy homeschool mom of two young children, and owned by one shedding longhaired cat. She is enjoying working on a women’s fiction novel in her spare time. She is a reviewer for Historical Novels Review quarterly, a magazine of the Historical Novel Society. Julia can be found blogging about God, literature and life at Dark Glass Ponderings and about writing at the group blog, The Writer's Alley.