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Journey to Riverbend

(Riverbend Sagas #1)

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Michael Archer is nothing if not a man of his word. Though he was unable to save Ben Carstairs, Michael is determined to carry out Ben’s dying wish: to be reconciled with his father. Unfortunately, Sam Carstairs, one of the most ruthless businessmen on the frontier, has no use for his own son, much less a man of God seeking reconciliation. Soon after arriving in Riverbend, ...more
Paperback, 415 pages
Published January 24th 2011 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published January 17th 2011)
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Showing 1-30
3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  204 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Natalie Vellacott
Mar 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I found this book boring and very long. After reading the first half thoroughly I realised it wasn't going to get any better so I skim read to the end just to see if the ending improved things; it didn't.

The book is advertised as Christian historical fiction, there is a half-hearted romance between two people that have both just become Christians having lived immoral lives in the past. They unrealistically fall for each other straight away before their characters even develop and before they ha
Journey to Riverbend, book 1 of the Riverbend Sagas, is a debut novel for Henry McLaughlin. If you loved the old TV westerns or western movies, then you will find this a good read. I particularly liked that the hero and heroine, as well as many of the minor characters, were so realistic and definitely had their strengths and weaknesses. Both Michael and Rachel had sins in their past that they were trying to overcome with God's help. This book has a strong faith thread that is used appropriately ...more
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you will have heard this from me many times. I love debut novels. I will pretty much read any debut novel regardless of what it is about. I do particularly like a good western every now and then. All of these things combined to create a strong desire in me to read Journey to Riverbend. And, once again, a debut novel has captured my heart with a wonderful story of faith, love and the importance of having a forgiving heart.

This story of Journey to Riverb
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Truly one of the best books I've read. I'm a speed reader so it's hard to keep my interest (no long, wordy, boring descriptions of things not pertaining to the plot). I took the time to savor this each chapter like the last few bites of my favorite Thanksgiving pie. The characters become alive in such a way that it seems rude to call them "characters". The only negative comment I could have is that the story ended. In my mind, of course, I have imagined the rest of the story. As well as the lega ...more
C.J. Darlington
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A stellar debut! If Louis L'Amour wrote inspirational fiction, he would write something like this.
Jessica Higgins
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Christian western with a lot of gunslingers, kidnappings and much more to enjoy.

After unsuccessfully trying to stop the hanging of a man, Michael Archer has a mission. He promised Ben Carstairs that he would find his father for him and try to reconcile with him, even though he is being hung for a crime he didn’t commit. Michael tried to stop it but couldn’t get the evidence he needed. Now Michael must travel to the town of Riverbend to find Sam Carstairs, a ruthless business man that kicked hi
Journey to Riverbend is one of those books that is a stand alone with potential for much more. This first time author writes such magnetic characters with unique living and breathing voices that I have had the desire to move to Riverbend to get to know its people better. Even the unsavory residents add to the town's charm and vitality. The action is so driving that I couldn't put the book down once I started reading.

The opening scene is the hanging of a gangly young man whom the main character,
Amber Stokes
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
The American West was a rough place to live. In my Literature of the American West class, I've been reminded that as much as the West has been romanticized as a symbol of freedom and grandeur, the realities of those ideals were often gritty and costly.

In Journey to Riverbend, one thing I really admire is McLaughlin's ability to balance hope and faith with the violence and debauchery that was a part of the time and place he chose as the setting for the book. In that sense, the book is not a light
Victor Gentile
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Henry McLaughlin in his new book, "Journey To Riverbendl" published by Tyndale House Publishers takes us to the town of Riverbend in 1878.

Michael Archer is a jail chaplain who makes a promise of delivering a message to the father of Ben Carstairs, a prisoner, who is being hung, although he is innocent. So Michael makes the journey to Riverbend to see Sam Carstairs. He discovers that Carstairs is not a well liked man, it seems he treats people with disdain, using them for his own gain.

While waiti
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have a hard time with books that get all "Jesus!", but this one made it even harder by giving Rachel visions. From God. (view spoiler)The last page is a vision of Michael and deep, peace-inducing voice in her head saying, "This is the man I have chosen to be your husband." Literally the last words of the book. I will shamelessly admit that my eyes rolled. I just can't take it. I mean, I can understand why God doesn't give me visions, 'cause I'm all full of the doubt and the cr ...more
Nikole Hahn
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
*Spoiler Alert*
A romance book written by a man?

Admittingly, I was prejudicial going into the book. But from the first page where he starts Chapter 1 with, "The crowd was small for a hanging. Quieter than usual, as if they all knew justice would not be served today," had me hooked. Would the romance part take backseat to the action? Not when he writes, "The morning light glowed around her. An orb of pale sunshine highlighted her elegant features and brightened her pale yellow dress. Released fr
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mature readers
Rating: 3.5 stars

I must say I did really like this book, and I struggled whether to give it 3 or 4 stars. I appreciate that the author was unafraid to proclaim the name of Jesus, and I thought the plot was amazing! Some scenes and lines made me laugh out loud til tears came to my eyes!

I think some content (whether romantic or violent) was described in fuller detail than necessary. The villains were definitely evil, and one character is struggling to overcome a past spent in prostitution. Other r
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Journey to Riverbend has a good basis for what could have been a great book. McLaughlin has begun the process of creating characters that are interesting and that you could invest yourself in; however, they never developed into a character that you really wanted to know more about. This book felt very surface level, although it was full of mentions of the characters past it never went into enough details or how each character was coping only enough information was given to know about their backg ...more
May 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Michael is at the hanging of an innocent man, Ben Carstairs. Right before his death, Ben asks Michael to find his father and give him a message. Michael begins the journey with only one thought in mind. He'll find Mr. Carstairs, give the message and then go on with his life. But his plans aren't even close to reality. A beautiful woman, a manhunt, and death were not on the agenda. But God can bring beauty out of death and pain.

I just couldn't love this book the I wanted to. The cover kept me fr
Audrey Grant
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was the first book I have read by Henry McLaughlin. It was a very interesting book. It was not at all what I would have expected from a male author. I was pretty amazed at how he was able to get into the heart and mind of the female character and what she was thinking and feeling!
He did even a better job of expressing her thoughts from this perspective than a lot of female authors I have read over the years.
While there is violence and unsavory things that are dealt with in this book. Henry
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fiction Readers
Recommended to Glenda by: Goodreads
Shelves: outstanding-read
Henry McLaughlin is a award winner of Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, which really perked my interest in reading the Journey to Riverbend. I found I can trust that the award winners will be a very good pick for reading and I looked forward to enjoying "Journey to Riverbend" I was not disappointed. I found the book to be a delightful page turner, I would have read it from the beginning to end without stopping had I started reading it on a weekend. The characters come to life and you fee ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
I disliked this book from the start! Michael and Rachel met and were attracted to each other right away 5 days later they were talking about a relationship.. and just imaging with her being a former prostitute (forced to boot) you wouldn't trust guys so readily even though he's a preacher! sure they were both Christians and you can overcome your past but she had been out of that lifestyle for 6 months! and then the weeks that the posse searched for Sam just dragged... I skip read lots cause it w ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Michael Archer rides into Riverbend carrying a note addressed to the Sheriff. Michael has one mission, to deliver a message to a father from his son. The father does not think much of religion and has earned a reputation of being shrewd. Upon arriving in Riverbend Michael meets Rachel Stone, and is mesmerized by her. Rachel is staying at the home of the pastor and his family. Both she and Michael are held captive by their pasts.
This unique western novel was a thrill to read and it captured my at
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Can a former prostitute and a former thief who have come to know the Lord as savior find forgiveness and acceptance - and maybe love? Rachel Stone and Michael Archer both have pasts they are not proud of - the plot revolves around this theme. Michael made a promise to a dying man to find his father and Rachel is trying to open a dress shop when they meet in Riverbend. I liked: the characters were well developed and real. The story line was fast paced and kept your interest. What I didn't like: T ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
I can't stand it when you invest your time in a book and it has a horrible ending. I slammed the book down and walked away with my hands in the air. I got the feeling that after 8 chapters describing the showdown at the cabin that the author was tired of writing the book and just wrapped it up in one. What? All that separation between the two main characters and you couldn't bring them back together in person? Ridiculous.

I really didn't know to whom this book catered - men or women? Odd to have
Jul 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Oh my, I couldn't wait to finish this book! It felt like it took a lifetime to accomplish that. The book started out okay, but it just dragged and was so boring all the way to the end. I must have missed the memo on this being a Christian book because if I had to read any more prayers or psalms, I was going to go crazy! I had to skip over paragraph after paragraph of preachers and praying, it was totally overboard with that. Even as a free download, I don't recommend it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. Loved the way the author delved into the center of so many different characters. You feel as if you are really becoming a part of Riverbend and getting to know everyone. The end just leaves you wanting more - kind of a cliffhanger, but not horribly so. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author does a great job setting up the characters and giving each one a different personalities. It was great to see the characters grow and develop throughout the book. For me the ending could have been better, but the other parts were well laid out and told so the reader could actually visualize what was happening.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time with this book. I wanted to like it and it had some good points but there just seemed to be so much violence and evil for this to be a Christian genre book. And then it just seemed to end with not really any real resolutions.
Cindy Huff
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Henry's debut novel drew me in form the first sentence and kept me turning the pages. A western with so much more. I actually felt compassion for the villains in this tale of forgiveness and reconciliation. Can't wait to read the sequel.
Lawanda Bailey
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The author brings characters to life. I missed them all after I finished the book. Though the cover indicates romance (and there is one), this is a shoot-em-up western filled with tension and excitement. I recommend Journey to Riverbend.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: quit
I didn't really enjoy it so I stopped reading it....
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
on Tyndales summer reading program, first book in progress.
Lisa Butler
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This wasn't at all the book I was expecting it to be. This was a great book!
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Henry McLaughlin has a Master’s degree in social work and spent many years working in public child welfare in Rhode Island. It was in this role that he first honed his writing skills in preparing concise and accurate court reports and petitions. He retired from that career in 1999 to work with Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Henry won the prestigious 2009 Operation First Novel Award sponsored by Tynd ...more

Other books in the series

Riverbend Sagas (2 books)
  • Riverbend Justice (Riverbend Sagas #2)