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The River Girls

(Mercy Harbor Thriller #1)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  641 ratings  ·  100 reviews


When the body of a missing girl washes up on the banks of the Willow River, the killing is linked to two cold case murders, and the investigation must uncover the twisted motive of a serial killer before he kills again. 

Still reeling after her sister’s brutal murder, grief-stricken Eden Winthrop has returned to Willow Bay, where she ru

Kindle Edition, 344 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Creative Magnolia
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  641 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Nadene  (Totally Addicted to Reading)
The River Girls by Melinda Woodhall is the first book in the Mercy Harbor thriller series. It introduces Eden Winthrop who runs a shelter for abused women in honor of her sister Mercy whose life was snuffed out prematurely. Eden blames herself for her failure to protect her sister, so when a troubled teen showed up at the shelter, then disappeared she made it her duty to locate the girl which led to her filing a missing report. Her desire to help the teen intensified when a friend of the same te ...more
Toni Osborne
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mercy Harbor Thriller book #1

Who’s killing the girls of Willow Bay?

Eden Winthrop, the key player, runs “Mercy”, a shelter for abuse women in honor of her sister whose life was taken prematurely. She has been blaming herself ever since her sister died for not protecting her. So when a troubled teen showed up at the shelter, then disappeared she made it her mission to find her……But when a friend of the teen turned up dead in the Willow River the search turned out to be another ball game……

It opens
Linda Strong
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

At a rundown seedy motel, he sneaks into a particular room. She's sick, she needs a fix. Someone has abducted her and is holding her, along with several other women, at their mercy .. keeping her doped up until they ship her far away.

He wants to help this girl ... to save her. And when he's done saving her, he dumps her body into the cold, dark, dirty river.

This is not the first time he has saved someone ... nor will it be the last.

Detective Nessa Ainsley is called by an inmate in the l
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The River Girls by Melinda Woodall

This is the first book in this series and the first I have read from this author. There is alot going on with this story and all the players, it held my attention and kept me invested, overall a good book and story that I am happy I had the chance to read. Thank you to the Author, the Publishers and BookSirens for giving me the opportunity to read this and leave my opinion.
This review is also available on my blog: Wine Cellar Library

First, I would like to thank BookSirens and the author for providing me with a free Kindle ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Second, I have to warn readers of the potential triggers that you will find in this book. There is discussion of sex trafficking, murder, violence, domestic abuse, and drug use. This may be distressing for some readers.

Eden Winthrop has faced immense trauma, finding her younger sister's lifeless
Lel Budge
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Firstly, how come I’ve not heard of Melinda Woodhall before? ….I read a lot and hadn’t come across her writing….

So, The River Girls….

Eden Winthrop helps run The Mercy Harbour Foundation in Willow Bay, this is a refuge for women, to help them escape domestic violence. She has some severe anxiety issues stemming from when her sister was killed by her estranged husband and has help from the adorable Duke, a golden retriever…

One night a young girl, Star turns up at the foundation asking for help. Ed
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really liked this thriller. Draws you in from the 1st chapter and keeps you guessing throughout. Good character development as well. Story is told both from inside the mind of the killer and from those trying to solve the crime. Might even be a little romance blossoming between the main characters that I’m eager to see if the author further develops in book two of this series. The second book in the Mercy Har
Edi McNinch
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First time reading this author but would definitely read her works again. In fact, I will be placing her in my favorites list along with authors with Harlan Coban and Tami Hoag. It's that good!! Fast paced unpredictable police, mystery thriller that will keep you turning pages. Characters are realistic, believable and interesting. There is a little blood and gore but not excessive and it is pertinent to the story. I couldn't put the book down once I started reading. It has an ending but a few th ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm honestly not sure how I found this series, as it was less popular than I expected. Luckily, it was something that kept me dissolved in while my 2-year old caused a fit!
The exposition was slightly difficult to visualize, and that's my only big criticism. Perhaps because I'm still getting used to switching from paperbacks to my Kindle! Also, I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Eden and Leo progress, as well as their individual character arcs throughout the first novel.

Overall, it's a
Jill Burgin
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first reading of Melinda Woodhall and it’s actually the start of a new series so I’m thrilled to find an interesting author with more to come! A timely story of domestic violence and how it always strikes close to home when never expected. Eden, our unlikely protagonist is anxiety ridden over the murder of her sister and after opening a women’s shelter becomes involved in a car and mouse game with a killer. Full of twists, I kept reading and urged on Eden to overcome her fears and ave ...more
Kara Jay
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm so glad I stumbled across this title.
I love thrillers, and following and author's story down dark, twisty paths (or rivers).
This book was very dark and twisty.
Following an anxiety ridden Eden while she tries to get justice and find a lost runaway, readers are catapulted into a story full of secrets at every turn, leaving you questioning who to trust.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
M. Romero
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was suspenseful and heartbreaking from the first page to the last page. I recommend it to readers who enjoy twists and tears. I am looking forward to Book 2.
Queen Bee
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a real thriller! Definitely kept me up reading and turning pages. Finished in two days (and nights)! Already starting book two in the series...
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, booksirens
Great start to a series! There are trigger warnings for drug abuse, physical abuse, organized crime, and rape. The main character, Eden Winthrop, pulls at your heartstrings as you find out what she has gone through in life and how she is making that tough situation work for her by giving back to others. She needs help from the small town police force in finding a missing person and becomes involved in more than she expected to happen as well as developed some relationships that she would never h ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It has twists and a few surprises. Looking forward to the next book in the series to come out.
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to BookSirens and Creative Manolia Publishing for the free advanced reader’s copy of The River Girls by Melinda Woodhall.

Wow. Just… wow. I’ve never heard of Melinda Woodhall but I’m so glad I know who she is now. This book had me hooked from the first page. Eden, the anxiety riddled, strong willed and brave main character, finds herself helping a young girl that brings a lot of trouble and new friends her way.

I couldn’t put this book down. It made me anxious and nervous for all of the
G Anderson
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The River Girls had me hooked from the start. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down, so I stayed up late to find out who the killer was (and was surprised when the killer was revealed). The plot was fast-paced, and there were several unexpected twists along the way which kept me guessing. The growing attraction between Eden and Leo also had me turning pages to see what would happen. I thought the characters were interesting and believable. I especially enjoyed the chapters where Nessa ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read, own-it
Eden Winthrop's sister was murdered. The police never did find the person responsible for the killing. Eden moves back to Willow Bay to open up a safe haven for victims of violence, The Mercy Harbor Foundation. When a teenager is missing from one of the places the foundation is running, Eden puts herself in the middle of it all to find the girl. While doing so, she has to trust the one man she said she would never trust, the policeman who never found her sister's killer. Now she has placed hers ...more
Michael Shishan
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Without giving away any spoilers, this book was an exhilarating read from start to finish! I’m not the most avid of readers, but I was glued to the book until I finished it. Eden was a great character and proves that difficult situations can be overcome! Duke, the emotional support dog, had a great calming effect, even through some turbulence. All in all, a must read. Grateful to have found this gem, looking forward to the sequel or any other books by this author! Kudos to you Melinda Woodh ...more
Nicole Courtney
I received an advanced copy via booksirens, this review is voluntary

The story follows several characters as they investigate the murder of women. We have our standard good character, the main protagonist Eden , whom is driven by the murder of her sister to help innocent women seek shelter from their abusers. We also have several cop characters and lawyers that are part of that investigation.

What I liked :

- A number of characters to follow - different perspectives

- A nice interesting atmosphere

Caroline 'reading with Buddy'
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booksirens
I just love reading books by Melanie Woodhall it is such a great series. I have however read these out of order so started with the next series before reading this set of books so this fills in the blanks for me. The characters are very well crafted and developed and the crime/story believable. The loose ends were tied up for me by the end as whilst reading the book I had questions but these were all resolved.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
A good, solid, light, "middle-of-the-road" thriller. By "middle-of-the-road" I mean it's in between bland on one end of the continuum and extremely dark and violent on the other end (like a lot of Scandi noir is). THE RIVER GIRLS is in the middle of that so it doesn't avoid the darkness but it does pull back from excessive detail when it comes to violence and mistreatment of people. This is not a criticism -- just a statement of how I see the content. This will suit those who want a good st
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Good story

Wish the story had been further developed rather than focusing on Eden appearing as a victim in need of rescuing. To much focus on the two extremely handsome men drawn to her helplessness. Would have liked Tessas character filled in rather than reading about how focused the lawyer & cop were on Eden. Ughhh
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How love can overcome evil in the world

Five star beautiful written how much determination can change the love of family who has faced evil and people who make a difference
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2019
This was a fast paced book that grabbed me from the first page! I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more in the series. Thanks to BookSirens for the free copy
Jennifer ~BookHermitt
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book has lots of twists and turns, which I loved. Just when I thought I had it all figured out... I didn't. Love a book that keeps you on your toes. I thought that Melinda Woodhall did an excellent job in character development. You really feel for the anxiety that Eden, the main character, has from tragic events that happened to her in the past. I look forward to reading more from her.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a cracker of a story!!!

I think Melinda Woodhall has written a gem of a book. I liked the characters especially Eden and Leo. I hope there are many books to come.
Amy Ingalls
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, book-sirens
I received an advanced copy of this book from BookSirens.

I almost wish I could rate this book twice. The first half took me so long to read, and I just couldn't get into it. The second half flowed much better and kept my interest until the ending.

I like the characters of Nessa, Leo, and Jankowski. I am not too sure of Eden. The level of panic and anxiety she displayed just didn't seem believable. Don't get me wrong-- panic disorders can be debilitating. I just don't know anyone with that level o
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, book-sirens
I appear to be an anomaly on this title. While I thought it was OK, I had more qualms with it than positives. Some of my problems could have been solved with a better editor. Others were more fundamental in the execution and character development throughout the story.

First, I am not an English teacher, but sometimes, I do feel like a grammar snob. Verb tenses should be consistent and need to match their subject. This was a topic I messed up a lot in high school, but mostly corrected in college.
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable book, fairly typical of the thriller/mystery/who’s killing all of these girls genre. The most unusual element is the main character, Mercy Harbor, who is a woman who suffers from severe anxiety and PTSD arising from her sister’s death from domestic violence. Mercy has adopted her orphaned niece and nephew, and now works for a shelter for abused women, in an effort to save other women from her sister’s fate.

A girl appears at the door of the shelter one day, and against the
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