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The River Girls

(Mercy Harbor Thriller #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  40 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

Kindle Edition, 344 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Creative Magnolia
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  177 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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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
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 ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A new author for me and the start of a new series. I was hooked from the first page. Young girls are going missing and turning up dead in the local river. Police corruption and human trafficking. This read is full on action, reading it in one sitting and finally turned the last page in the wee hours I HAD TO KNOW!!!!! I can't wait to read more about Mercy Harbour. Almost five stars and recommended.
I would like to thank the author and Book Sirens for the ARC in return for giving an honest
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
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.
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
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 ...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 ...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...
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
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, have-read
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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.
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.
Tracy Wood
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, booksiren
There is an atmosphere of desperation that permeates this book from the first page which continues until the vast majority of issues are dealt with. The young girls disappearing in Willow Bay are some of those who were encouraged to slip through the cracks into a life so depraved and meaningless that many other residents have no idea such a way of life even exists.

The overwhelming helplessness of the situation in which the girls find themselves and the drugs which are readily available mean many
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After her sister’s murder, Eden Winthrop was determined to help other women, like Mercy, escape an abusive situation. Eden left her job in San Francisco to return home to Florida to raise her niece and nephew, and she starts a foundation to provide a safe haven for women and their children. She is drawn into a web of trafficking victims when a teenaged girl shows up at one of the foundation’s safe houses demanding to be let in. Eden’s brief contact with Star soon spirals into something that ...more
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
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well Melinda Woodhall, what can I say about this fantastic series of books. I have now read all three books , unfortunately I didn't read them in the correct order but that didn't deter from the sheer enjoyment.
After her sister was brutally murdered, Eden Winthrop set up a foundation to help people in need especially young girls who had been victims of drug addiction or brutality.
When a young girl turned up on the doorstep pleading for help and then disappeared, Eden sets about finding her. She
Ruth Matheson
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First time reading this author and it certainly won't be the last. Eden Winthorp runs The Mercy Harbor Foundation for abused women and children after her sister was brutally murdered by her husband. Eden still suffers from flashbacks and panic attacks however as she now has to raise her niece and nephew, she has some focus. One night a girl turns up at the refuge and without going through the proper procedure, Eden lets her in only to discover that she has disappeared the next day. We are then ...more
Stephanie (the nerdy princess)
I received a copy of this book from book sirens and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

After her sister’s murder, Eden Winthrop was determined to help other women, so she set up and runs a shelter for abused women in honor of her sister. She has been blaming herself ever since her sister died for not protecting her. So she left her job in San Francisco to return home to Florida to raise her niece and nephew.

So when a troubled teen shows up at the shelter scared and alone and then
Kimberly Young
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The River Girls by Melinda Woodhall is the first in a series. The main character is Eden Winthrop who works at a women’s shelter that she helped start in memory of her sister, Mercy, who was murdered by an abusive husband. Eden wants to help every woman she possibly can escape abusive relationships. Eden is raising Mercy’s two kids. In the meantime, young women keep showing up dead in the river. They have been strangled. Eden finds herself wrapped up in the investigation to find out who is ...more
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