I thoroughly enjoyed a trip back in time to the late 1950’s through the pages of Melody Carlson’s River’s Song. This slow paced but quickly read story is beautifully simple yet wonderfully complex.

A naive young girl when she married, Anna Larson spent the next twenty years verbally abused, manipulated,  controlled and taken advantage of by the mother-in-law who despised her. She continued to live with and serve her mother-in-law after her husband’s death because the woman’s lies convinced her that there were no other options. Only when she ventured to her mother’s home on the Suislaw River to settle her estate, did Anna realize just how unhappy she had become.

With the encouragement of friends, both old and new, memories of her parents and grandmother,  and the peace she finds on the banks of the river, Anna’s true identity begins to emerge. Rather than return to the domination of her mother-in-law, Anna decides to remain at the family property that now belongs to her. It is there that she finds the healing that she needs and even more.

I can always expect at least one practical or spiritual lesson in life when I read one of Carlson’s books. Several are present in River’s Song, most of which are revealed in the retelling of the stories of Anna’s grandmother. A strong message of forgiveness is a primary theme.

I loved the setting of River’s Song and enjoyed the characters. I look forward to visiting with them again in the next volume of this series.


A digital copy of this book was provided for review by NetGalley.


Her relationship with her daughter in shambles and tensions mounting with her mother-in-law, Anna Larson returns to her childhood home on the banks of the Suislaw River to sort out her parent’s belongings and put the pieces of her own life back together.

Embracing her native heritage for the first time since childhood Anna transforms her old family home into Shining Waters Inn, a place she hopes will give her family a new beginning.

River’s Song is Book One in the Inn at Shining Waters series.







Melody Carlson published her first book in 1995 and she has been writing prolifically ever since. To date, Melody has published over 200 books, making her one of the top 20 most prolific authors of all time. With total sales of over 1.4 million her award-winning books include: Homeward, Love Finds You in Sisters, Oregon; Limelight; the Diary of a Teenage Girl series; the True Colors series; and the Charter House Girls series.

In her professional life, Melody has worn many hats: from pre-school teacher to political activist to senior editor. Currently, she writes full-time, and freelances from her home. She has two grown sons and lives in Sisters, Oregon with her husband, Chris, and Bailey, her chocolate lab. They enjoy skiing, hiking, and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.