Title: The Art of Rivers (Coastal Hearts #3)
Author: Janet Ferguson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Date: June 30, 2019
Length: 377 pages
About the Book:
Rivers Sullivan bears both visible and invisible scars—those on her shoulder from a bullet wound and those on her heart from the loss of her fiancé during the same brutal attack. Not even her background as an art therapist can help her regain her faith in humanity. Still, she scrapes together the courage to travel to St. Simons Island to see the beach cottage and art gallery she’s inherited from her fiancé. When she stumbles upon recovering addicts running her gallery, she’s forced to reckon with her own healing.
After the tragic drowning of his cousin, James Cooper Knight spends his days trying to make up for his past mistakes. He not only dedicates his life to addiction counseling, but guilt drives him to the water, searching for others who’ve been caught unaware of the quickly rising tides of St. Simons. When he rescues a peculiar blond woman and her sketch pad from a sandbar, then delivers this same woman to his deceased grandmother’s properties, he knows things are about to get even more complicated.
Tragic circumstances draw Cooper and Rivers closer, but they fight their growing feelings. Though Cooper’s been sober for years, Rivers can’t imagine trusting her heart to someone in recovery, and he knows a relationship with her will only rip his family further apart. Distrust and guilt are only the first roadblocks they must overcome if they take a chance on love.
Addiction is ugly and leaves a wide span of destruction. Not only are the ones caught up in it harmed, but those around them. Whether it’s family, friends, or complete strangers who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time–addiction is a merciless monster that steals and destroys lives. In The Art of Rivers, Janet Ferguson takes the reader into a home where recovering addicts are still working through the process of healing while coming to grips with their pasts. God’s grace emanated through the group, as they looked up to God for His healing and strength to overcome the darkness that had been their lives.
One thing that I loved about this novel was that it didn’t attempt to simplify or minimize the power or scope of addiction. If anything it added layers of complexity through the emotional connections developed. Cooper is 5 years sober and yet you still see him recognizing his need to fight temptation daily while seeking help and strength from the Lord. He willingly walks into danger to rescue fellow addicts in hopes of helping them start (or get back on) their own paths to recovery. He doesn’t hide from his troubled past, and in many ways it still haunts him. He unashamedly admits his need for Jesus if he has any hope of continuing on his path to recovery.
In many ways this book could be great help for people who either struggle with addiction or love someone who does. The numerous prayers and words of encouragement woven throughout were a powerful tool in directing people to look to Jesus for the strength they need to find healing. By the words and prayers coming from people on their own paths to recovery, they felt real and authentic–coming from the deepest parts of their beings. It wasn’t just about preaching Christ, but living in Christ. Even when not thinking strictly about addiction, the prayers within were powerful to hear for anyone. There was a whole lot of highlighting I did on my Kindle for this book!
Even thought this is the third book in the Coastal Hearts series it’s also a standalone read. Especially with how significant of a deal addiction is in the world today, I recommend this book to everyone regardless of their typical reading preferences. Whether it’s for personal healing, developing empathy, empowering to help others, or whatever other reason–this is a must-read. I know that this is one that is going to stay with me for a very long time.
*I received a copy of this book from the author. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.