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The River (River #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  437 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
"You were made for The River . . ."

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.

But something holds him back--the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old--so
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 17th 2012 by Thomas Nelson (first published October 20th 2011)
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Julie G
Sep 25, 2012 Julie G rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
For a first novel, this one is well done; to a point. Michael Neale's format is that of a biography, and he certainly convinced me. In fact, I had to (repeatedly) refer back to the tagline on the cover: The River: A Novel.

The story begins with our narrator stuck, for 3 hours, at the Denver airport. He's hoping to kill that time with a book and his iPod in the nearly-empty boarding area. Instead, a character "out of a Discovery Channel documentary" sits down next to him.

And, in sharing his story,
Lindsay Chung
Sep 25, 2012 Lindsay Chung rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
First off, I could not putThe River down. I loved it! Gabriel Clarke is such an endearing main character and I feel like we all struggle with the same feelings of fear, resentment and anxiety that Gabriel struggles with, even if not to the same degree.

I do want to say, however, that if you decide to read this book, get the paperback! While the story would be just as good in any format, an e-reader cannot give you the same feeling in your hands that the paperback does. This particular book is bou
Jul 22, 2016 Susan rated it did not like it
I read this book as part of the Book Club that I am in. Having said that, it is not a book I would have read otherwise. The story is one dimensional and the writing is elementary to say the least. I am not sure who the target market was for this book originally. I would guess Fifth Grade…? This book falls under Christian worship, yet the characters in the story are not very religious. They worship a river. There is even a letter written by the main characters' father that might be construed as a ...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Every once in awhile you come across a book that really makes a difference in your life. One that makes an impact; one that makes a difference in how you move forward in your life. Such is the case in the inspirational fictional novel from Michael Neale, The River. I first saw an ad for this book and it was highly recommended by some of my favorite authors, one being Andy Andrews, who I have most of his books in my personal library. This one will definitely be joining them.

In the book, The River
Marian Baay
Dec 18, 2012 Marian Baay rated it it was amazing
In "The River" Gabriel Clarke is telling us his life story. It's pretty amazing to read this story and recognize things of his life in my own life. It's a timeless story of God's love and care for us and growing in faith.
You can read this story like a great adventure book, or you can read this story as a spiritual read and imagine The River is God.
Michael Neale is writing an amazing story that - I believe - will change lives.

Gabriel Clarke is a 5 year old boy when his father - John Clarke - gave
Feb 24, 2013 Stephanie rated it did not like it
I am uncomfortable writing negative reviews, because authors are real people who have generally poured their hearts and souls into their work. However, I also see value in honest dialogue.

That said, I am amazed by the reports of people being deeply impacted by this book. I am very glad to hear that, but I personally found this novel to be one of the worst books I have read in a long time. The writing was elementary, the plot very predictable, the character development shallow, and the relationa
Sep 13, 2012 Arlene rated it liked it
This book feels good in the hand. It has the faded leather look of an ancient book of wisdom. The poetic opening pages draw the reader in to the allure of The River: "I find myself drawn to The River. With its beauty and power, The River calls to me. The River can be known but not fully. Therein lies the mystery." The opening sets the tone for a story of deep spirit truths.

Some of the action takes place on the rapids of the Colorado River. I spent three summers working for Wilderness Tours White
Henk-Jan van der Klis
Sep 01, 2012 Henk-Jan van der Klis rated it really liked it
Gabriel Clarke looses his father when he was just five years old, when daddy tries to save a rafter’s life in a Colorado river. With his mother he relocates to Kansas, where she becomes a maid to earn money and Gabriel grows up. Gabriel never feels really at home and misses his father. He’s afraid of water. A new teacher, born Indian likes him and gives him a painting from The River for his birthday. When Gabriel gets the chance to join friends to a rafting camping / hiking weekend he first ...more
Oct 25, 2012 Sylvia rated it liked it
The River by Michael Neale is the story of a young man who finds healing, forgiveness, and purpose.

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure. The memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River holds him back. When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reac
Nov 23, 2012 Becky rated it liked it
This is the story of Gabriel, whose life--at the age of five--is dramatically changed by the death of his father. The little boy's life is completely altered when he is uprooted from his home by a beautiful river in the mountains of Colorado, to the flat, hot plains of Kansas. The rest of Gabriel's childhood, followed by his teen years, are extremely difficult because of the significant losses and changes in his life.

It is especially important that the sections "from an entry in a journal" and "
George Lichman
Aug 30, 2012 George Lichman rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
The River is not a river. In this story perhaps it is, but one man's River is another man's Mountain, or Ocean, Flying, Biking, or Running. It is what makes a person who he is, a one word, oversimplified but equally complicated analogy that defines a life. In The River, the debut novel by Michael Neale, it is a river in a Colorado canyon that defines not just one man, but three generations of men.
The story begins with a hike in the woods. Father John Clarke and his five year old son Gabriel t
Becky Burford
Feb 03, 2013 Becky Burford rated it really liked it
As with "Crossroads", I bought this book as I was leaving town for a business trip. I was running early to make a flight in Tyler which is not common for me so at the last minute as I at the Wal-Mart intersection (Hwy 64) , I felt like I should stop to purchase a novel for this trip.

In a haste, I actually got two novels just in case one did not keep my interest on the short flight to Houston.

After the purchases, I felt some remose on the money spent on buying two novels. As I traveled the few m
Mar 19, 2013 Aryn rated it liked it
I didn't realize until after I requested the book that this is a novel that is considered religious fiction; the summary gave me no such clue. I guess I wasn't thrilled when I read that, because while religions all fascinate me, "Religious Fiction" tends to mean a books that "Shove Christianity Down Your Throat." Luckily, this book really didn't give off that vibe. It's comparable to how I love Flyleaf - yes, they're technically Christian Metal, but they're not overtly so, and I love them ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Emmy rated it did not like it
It's entirely possible that this book was written for children and not for adults. If that's the case, it might merit two stars. However, if it is written for adults. Wow. An extremely shallow and childlike story that was so predictable it was painful. "The River" was referred to so many times I almost let myself hope that there might be an underlying meaning of some kind, but alas, no such meaning could be found in "The River". Or anywhere else in this book.

Nice book cover, though. I'm a sucke
Meghan Donnelly
Dec 01, 2016 Meghan Donnelly rated it really liked it
This novel caught my attention from the very beginning on the self. When I started reading this novel I was not sure about it, but as the novel continued I was sucked in. From the beginning when the main character Gabriel Clarke was a young boy with his father down by the river I almost cried. The main reason I loved this book is because you get to see and grow with Gabriel and it happens before your eyes. Later on in life when he is living with his mom and going to school in their small town, ...more
Nov 24, 2016 Ryland rated it liked it
I thought there were parts of the novel that were very good, but generally I thought the idea of The River was too repetitive and became boring after a while. Quite one dimensional in that way, but as I said there were parts that were somewhat moving and emotional as well.
Reuben H.
Jun 01, 2013 Reuben H. rated it liked it
The River by Michael Neale is a novel I acquired a while ago because of a hype. Many employees of the publishing company had read it and very highly recommended it, so I thought I would give it a shot. While it wasn't at all a bad book, it was certainly a disappointment.

The story starts out in the present day, where a fifty-ish man named Gabriel Clarke approaches the story's narrator and tells him that he's on his way back from travelling around the world, running National Geographic's Top Ten M
Oct 10, 2016 Joyce rated it it was ok
I was glad to see that there were a few other reviewers who felt the same way I did about this book. The novel appears to be an allegorical type story with a lot of symbolism. The point it attempts to make is a good one about being willing to take risks and fully engage in life. However, I found the plot to be boring with way too much repetition about The River. I would not recommend this book. Although I saw that it has been labeled as Christian fiction, I personally would never label it as ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. It's been a long time since I read a contemporary Christian fiction book. I tend to stay more in the Historical Christian Fiction genre. However, I don't mind venturing out of my norm every once and a while.

When it comes to "The River" I liked the faith messages and lessons this book contained. However, I have to admit that reading the phrase "The River" over and over... and over again got old fast. It also kind of felt like a cop-out. This is a Christian bo
Sep 24, 2012 Jorja rated it it was amazing
• Neale, Michael. The River. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 9/18/2012. ISBN-10: 1401688489 ISBN-13: 978-1401688486 List price for Softcover and Ebook $16.99
• Neale, Michael. El río. Nashville: Grupo Nelson, 18/09/2012. ISBN-10: 1602559252 ISBN-13: 978160255925 Prescio de lista del libro de bolsillo y Libro Electrónico Fecha. $14.99
• Neale, Michael. The River. Oasis Audio, 9/18/2012. Audio, CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged. ISBN-10: 1613752733 ISBN-13: 978-1613752739 List price $19.99
• Neale M
Lisa Johnson
Dec 12, 2012 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing
Title: The River
Author: Michael Neale
Pages: 320
Year: 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
When was the last time you took a risk? The risk I am talking about is the one of facing the past head on in order to move forward in the journey of life. The River is a collection of various parts of the author’s life story, including conversations and events. Sometimes we forget to stop and really listen to the leading of the Lord. All people on earth are acquainted with grief, sorrow, heartache, joy, exhilaratio
Jan 14, 2013 Robyn rated it liked it

Once again I was sucked in by the cover and the PR. I had no idea what The River by Michael Neale was about but was compelled to read it by the tagline: “The River is changing lives...Will you let it change yours?”


In The River we meet young Gabriel Clarke who takes the tragedy of his past with him wherever he goes. Actually, all the wrong in his life defines him and he refuses to accept the love and help of others. Until…(duh duh duh) he meets Tabitha who helps Gabriel break out of his she

Sep 12, 2012 Moira rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to this book even before I read the book's description. The rich design of the book called to me. The cover of this book looks like a worn leather bound diary, and that makes it even more special once you get to know the book after each page.

The writing is terrific. Just like a good story teller you have to feel the story as you read it from the page and Michael Neale does a fantastic job of keeping me on the edge of my seat as I read each page. I feel the air, the mist and the pass
Tuğçe Sevin
Sep 20, 2012 Tuğçe Sevin rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The Dove-award winning songwriter Michael Neale’s debut novel, The River, is getting its place on the shelves today, September, 18th.

The River is an inspirational story about loss and redemption. With the fast pace, you should get ready to be drawn in quickly and to have a hard time putting it down.

The story takes place in the Colorado Rockies and “The River.” Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River; he witnessed a terrible event, something no child should ever see, on The River when h
Victor Gentile
Sep 06, 2012 Victor Gentile rated it it was amazing
Michael Neale in his new book, “The River” published by Thomas Nelson takes us to into the life of Katherine Osborne in 1905.

From the back cover: “You were made for The River . . .”

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.

But something holds him back—the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was jus
Holly Weiss
Life with Purpose Often Starts with Pain

Life can be as tumultuous as river rapids with jagged rocks.
Life can be as lonely as a dirty swamp no one visits.
Life can be as loving as a pool that gratefully accepts your fishing lure.
Life can be as gentle as a flowing stream that carries us to healing waters.

The River, debut novel by Michael Neale is all of this. Climb into your canoe and dip your paddle into the spell this book will cast over you.

Adventuresome five-year-old Gabriel Clarke loves the Co
Patricia Kemp Blackmon
I love this quote from the book "Life is not to be merely survived--it is meant to be lived."
One of my favorite excerpts from the book is on page 272 where Gabriel is sitting outside with Ezra looking out at THE RIVER. Don't read it until you have read up to that page! It will move you beyond measure.

~ ~ ~

When Gabriel Clarke was five years old he watched THE RIVER take his father. Ever since that day Gabriel has flashback, reliving that day which causes him to to to a special place deep inside
Sep 18, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
"We Clarkes -- we're made for The River." Gabriel heard that often as a young boy, living with his father in Colorado. This is Gabriel's story, and you are likely to find part of your own story within these pages. Life is full of heartaches and pain, and joys and triumphs, too. But real life is lived near The River, with other people who love The River, and our life's greatest adventure should be continually learning about The River each and every day.

Gabriel's father died in a tragic accident,
Sep 25, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it

Five year old Gabriel Clarke witnessed his own father’s heroic death as the river guide rescued a drowning rafter. Too young to really understand the sacrifice his father made, Gabriel only feels abandonment. The young boy left the Colorado River behind as he and his mother began a new, simple life on Great Plains farmland. With an overwhelming need to live a secure life, Gabriel settles for a dull life working in a small town store after high school. When a childhood friend seems intent on incl
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Oct 19, 2012 Lyn (Readinghearts) rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who like inspirational stories.
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Netgalley
I have been mulling over how to review The River by Michael Neale. Let me first say, I am not a huge reader of inspirational or life transforming books. I am more likely to read a book that highlights the underbelly of society. I glazed over the synopsis for this book and it sounded interesting, like maybe it could go either way. It definitely turned out to be one of those stories that aspires to be inspirational and life transforming. In fact, if I had taken the time to research the Michael ...more
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Gifted writer, performer, and masterful storyteller are all phrases used to describe Michael Neale.

With the highly anticipated September 2012 release of his first novel The River, as well as a second book, Your Great Name, which releases in October 2012, Michael is finding more and more ways to share his gift of storytelling as an author.

As a Dove Award-Winning songwriter, his songs have been reco
More about Michael Neale...

Other Books in the Series

River (2 books)
  • Into the Canyon (River #2)

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