River of the Arms of God is a story of two women held against their will in the harsh Texas frontier. Sarah is held by Eli along the Butterfield Stage Line in the mid 1800s, and a hundred years later Kate is the emotional prisoner of a rancher in those same Texas plains. She thought Colby loved her, but he only wanted her to bear him a son. When she failed to provide him one, he lost interest in her.

Against great odds, Sarah manages to survive in the isolated cabin for almost two years and makes a daring escape with her son, Edward. She leaves behind a diary and some stone carvings that Kate eventually finds. Reading about Sarah’s courage gives Kate the courage to demand a divorce.

As the story unfolds, the parallels between the two women become more obvious, as does the emotional connection that Kate makes to Sarah. It is written in a style that captures the look and feel of cattle country in Texas, and the characters are well-drawn and endearing. In introducing Kate, the author explains how she came to call herself that. “The people in Wheeler, Texas, would have been shocked to know that shy Kathryn Rowley had defied her father and chosen her own name. It was her secret and an uncharacteristically rebellious decision on her part. It hinted at strength that even she could not imagine.”

That comes early in the story and foreshadows the strength that Kate finds within herself to make the choices she must when her seemingly idyllic marriage to Colby starts to unravel.

This is an enjoyable tale of two strong women who fight against all odds to escape the tyranny of their men and their circumstances. The book is rich in imagery that helps the reader experience the harsh Texas plains along with the characters, and it is also rich is historical fact and details that are seamlessly woven into the story.

Ms. Sandell is a retired history teacher and River of the Arms of God is her second novel. In a Fevered Land was published  in 2003, and Ms Sandell was chosen as a highlighted author by Barnes & Noble Booksellers when that book was released. She is a fourth-generation Texan and has written and produced 16 documentaries on Texas history.

 

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River of the Arms of God

Irene Sandell

Sunbelt Eakin Press

Trade Paperback – 294 pages — $18.95

ISBN: 978-1-934645-59-8

Available at Amazon

Maryann Miller —- Maryann’s Web site 

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