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The River's Gift

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  1,114 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Ariella, lady-to-be of medieval Swan Manor, possesses magical healing abilities that she practices on the animals in the forest adjacent to her father's lands. One day a magnificent black horse emerges from the nearby river in need of her ministry. The horse is Merod, and he is a more-than-mortal Kelpie, a magical being who converses telepathically with Ar ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published October 2nd 1999 by Roc Hardcover
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Nov 21, 2007 Joana rated it it was amazing
This story is, without a doubt, one of Lackey’s shortest works ever and yet Lackey easily manages to captivate her audience with it. The River’s Gift is a short story contained within one hundred twenty-two pages in a bounded hardback book that is reminiscent of a child’s storybook. Now while the font style and even the concepts are easy enough for a child to grasp it would be a grave miscalculation to consider this a child’s book.

The story follows fifteen year old Ariella who is gifted with the
Mar 04, 2014 næntsi rated it liked it
Three stars for that ending. It's an HEA, but really, that's it? You build up this relationship between the land, the humans, and the fae folk, and you just have them fly off into the sunset like her birthright wasn't stolen from her, her people displaced and now most likely ruled by a tyrannical hand? Really?
lavena russell
Feb 19, 2017 lavena russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The River's Gift

Awesome story! Mercedes Lackey is a talented "Weaver of Tales! She has such a talent for taking old, beloved fairy tales and turning them into exciting new ones. I always seem to finish the stories too soon and want it to last much longer!
Dec 26, 2016 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too short

Just as I come to like the characters,the story ends . That is just a tease and frustrating for me
Leanne Chessman
Feb 28, 2017 Leanne Chessman rated it it was amazing
Mar 20, 2017 Durelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick and captivating

Couldn't put this one down. Unexpected twists and an ending that brought it all together. Another Mercedes Lackey winner here.
Oct 08, 2016 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure fluff

A cute soppy little story that's enjoyable to read time and time again. Nothing too heavy, just a nice waste of half an hour. If you want a full course meal look somewhere else, but if you just want a little something sweet then this is for you.
Mary Ann
Mar 01, 2017 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, romance, 2017
Lackey's work has always been a pleasure for me to read and this one did not disappoint. Fighting the constraints put on a landed daughter during medieval times, and an unwanted marriage the female does finally evades both fates.
Karen Simon
Feb 25, 2017 Karen Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

Mercedes Lackey has never written a bad book. For a shot story, this was excellent. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Barbara Douglas
This is a charming fairy story for the most part, but far too short and with far too abrupt an ending. It grates especially because the heroine is a lovely, competent, talented character who just completely falls apart and turns into a damsel in distress in need of rescue. I rather wish it was the beginning of a much longer and more complicated story about what happens next...
Zoe Roberts
Feb 22, 2017 Zoe Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: mercedes-lackey
Short, predictable (retelling of a fairy tale) but sweet.
Jul 11, 2016 Arlian rated it liked it
I checked this book out from the library for one reason and one reason only: I am desperately behind on my reading goal this year. I went to the library to look for a few science fiction or fantasy books under or around 200 pages long. Scifi/Fantasy books tend to be very easy to read quickly, and I wanted some books I could finish in an hour or two. Also, I have a theory that any stand-alone book with less than 200 pages must be *amazing* because usually, publishers won't take the chance on prin ...more
Kathy Davie
May 31, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, fantasy
A short fairy tale outside Lackey's usual style.

My Take
This was a lovely short fairytale of a maiden happily tending the creatures of the forest, the minor fae, and the villagers in her father's manse.

The Story
Ariella was happy until her father died and her wicked cousin appeared to whisk her away.

The Characters
Ariella of Swan Manor has a gift of healing which she uses to help the creatures of the forest.

Merod is a gorgeous black kelpie in need of aid.

The Cover and Title
The cover has a bright fu
Apr 01, 2008 Lexie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned-read
I had read this book a while back. I was like sixteen I think, which marks me closer to the age of our heroine. The book is a quick, light read that is delightful, but it suffers from being so short. A lot of time is spent before the 'trouble' of the book even begins and the detail is well placed there. We learn about the daily lives of the people, of Ariella and a lot about the Harvest Time.

Unfortunately when her father dies and her life changes the nature of the book changes. The action happen
Michelle Wardhaugh
The plot felt Disney-ish, especially at first. A maiden goes into the woods to heal animals and meets a beautiful fairy water-horse. Yes, I know that's a kelpie, but the term is rarely used in this context because he becomes her best friend. You've got the irritating chaperone and the handsome blaggard who wants to marry her for her lands. Even the length would suit a Disney movie quite well. It's short and sweet. Of course Disney would have had the father die before the start of the movie, and ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Riayl rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, romance, m-f
This story was five stars all the way up until the ending. As another reviewer pointed out, over 90% of the story is about Arielle's healing ability and how deeply she cares for her land, and the humans and creatures, both normal and fey, that live on it. Yet, at the end, she and Merod are just going to fly off into the sunset, leaving the fate of her lands and all that dwell on it, in the hands of an obviously cruel master. I would have been much more satisfied with that ending with just a smal ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Julia rated it liked it
Ariella lives a somewhat sheltered life in the family manor, under the watchful eye of old cousin Magda. Spending her free time in the forest, she discovers she has a talent for healing the woodland animals. Indeed, one day a handsome, wounded Kelpie, a water-living, magical creature in the shape of a horse, requires her assistance. Soon after, Ariella's world is shattered when tragedy befalls her father, and she is sent off to marry a horrible cousin. The River's Gift is filled with many, many ...more
Mar 22, 2013 June rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lackey and romantic fantasy readers
Shelves: fantasy
I think someone got this for me since I was a huge Lackey fan. I tried to head off a comfort read marathon by reading this, but have continued with: The Host, Promised Land, and Austenland
Sep 29, 2010 Kathleen rated it liked it
A sweet little story about a medieval girl with the power to heal. She uses the ability on animals around her father's manor and makes fairy friends who then help her when she is very realistically forced into an arranged marriage. Lackey doesn't have a particularly innovative approach to magic or Faerie--neither is she entirely traditional--but she does manage to make her stories seem real. This, I think, is a greater talent for a more enjoyable tale.
May 23, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it
This is a charming little story. Quick read but I was impatient to get to the meat of it (much of the action seems to be at the end).

Inspired by her own song, "The Captive" (sung by Heather Alexander on Freedom, Flight, & Fantasy). Lyrics are here:
It's not exactly the same but I recognized the germ of it quite early.
Carla J.
Nov 13, 2016 Carla J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Tale of Faerie

A young maiden with the gift of healing uses her gifts to help humans and animals, helps a riverhorse and becomes friends. When her beloved father dies unexpectedly, an unscrupulous distant relative rushes in and takes her from her home with intent to marry her for Swan Manor. Thinking all was lost she is thrilled when a wondrous magician shows up at her wedding feast. Lord Lyon, her abductors, is not so thrilled.
Sep 16, 2011 Matia rated it really liked it
This is a little gem of just 120+ pages and no apparent sequels. The cover art was beautiful. I think I would call this story a classic damsel-in-distress piece in a medieval magical setting, although she does try her best to to rescue herself. When I was around page 115, I was getting a little worried about how it would end, but thank goodness, a romantic, satisfying finish. Recommended for young people.
Nov 19, 2009 Doris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a quick read or knows their fairy tales
As I finished the book, I thought 'well the author didn't spend much time on the capture and escape'. Then I checked - and over half the story deals with the capture and then escape.

I recognized the story from the fairy tales I heard as a child, and wonder if this is a teaser for the 500 Kingdom stories.

Excellent book, and if you are a quick reader, at only 122 pages, something you can finish while waiting in line or for a doctor.
Nov 16, 2016 Terri rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2016
The shorter novella format helps Lackey, I think. This book was a tighter, better story than much of her recent work and didn't have the editing issues that have become prevalent. It's a sweet love story without much space for more than cursory development, but was well done for what it is... a simple fairy tale romance.
Keith Hilton
Good short story, too short for what it cost.

The story line itself was good, but I felt it was just too short to be advertised as a book. Would fit nicely in an anthology. If I could, I'd ask for a refund but it is what it is. Good story, overpriced and with a bit of larceny. That said, I'm still a fan!!
Jan 24, 2017 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cute story that reads much more like a fable than a novel or novella, I was happy with the story but I didn't fall in love.

Don't expect the typical depth of character or intriguing magic systems you can easily find in her other works. This is a short work of fiction meant to make you smile while you spend an hour with the fey. Nothing more, nothing less.
Nov 15, 2011 Alyssia rated it really liked it
Shelves: faeries, awww-love
This novella tells the story of Ariella, the unnamed heroine of "The Captive" on the Freedom, Flight and Fantasy CD performed by Heather Alexander. I really enjoyed the "twist" in the story that the song did not provide, and it was nice to have the fleshed out versions of characters as well.
Wrbill Edwards
Oct 05, 2016 Wrbill Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming Confection

Ms Lackey gives a short, light fairy tale with a beautiful, virtuous heroine, a handsome magical hero, and a cruel villain. Not all that much to it but enjoyable.
Feb 01, 2010 Judith rated it really liked it
SHort and to the point, a cute little fairy tale with a happy ending. Took about an hour to read it at the most and left me with a smile on my face. I always love it when the damsel in distress gets the great guy, though I prefer her saving him, not him saving her : )
Kelsey Dean
May 19, 2012 Kelsey Dean rated it it was ok
I was not very drawn into this story--it had little depth and was very predictable. I realize that it is a short book, but I didn't think it was worth the short amount of time it took to read it. Maybe if I had read it when I was younger I would have liked it more.
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts &am ...more
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