>Book Review: Where the River Ends by Charles Martin

>Broadway Books, hardcover; 375 pages; © 2008 by Charles Martin
Broadway Books is an imprint of The Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York

Charles Martin has been compared to Nicholas Sparks, but Martin’s novels are less love stories and more wrestling meets. His male protagonists usually wrestle against overwhelming odds, but primarily against God.

Where the River Ends is a beautiful and painful story of unconditional love. Through juxtaposition of flashback with current narrative, Martin weaves a seamless story about artist Doss Williams and his undying love for his dying wife.

Abbie is the daughter of a powerful senator with an even more powerful personality, but she has created a name for herself through successful modeling and design careers. Until she was diagnosed with cancer.

As time and treatment options run out, Abbie asks Doss to help her fulfill the most impossible item on her list of things she’d like to do before she dies: travel the St. Mary’s River all the way from Moniac to its end.

“It’s where we started,” she says. “They say we have reached the end…. So let’s start over.”

Doss loads a canoe with supplies, his wife, and enough pain killers to bring her suffering to a final and pain-free finish. In addition to the natural dangers lurking in and along the river, unnatural danger stalks behind Doss and Abbie as they work their way downriver. Every bend brings it closer.

Doss and Abbie meet horrendous evil and pain as well as unanticipated assistance and laughter as they draw nearer their goal. And in the climactic maelstrom, Doss irresistibly encounters divine providence.

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