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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Paula Welch's action novel A River of Fortune is set in Friars Meadow, a small town in the county of Devon. Maggie Malloy, 27, loses her job at the Provincial Financial Solutions company when it closes its branch in the town. On a regular hike along the River Dart, Maggie finds a Provincial security case near the river's edge. She realizes it is the missing case from the hijacking and robbery of an armored security van. She makes a fateful decision to keep the 1.2 million pounds in the security case; she knows it's illegal, a crime. But with the money, she puts into action a plan to bring much-needed prosperity to her hometown. She reveals the source of money and her plan to her closest friends. With their loyalty and help her plan is phenomenally successful. But Maggie's success in reviving Friars Meadow attracts the attention of other people: vindictive politicians, criminals, and Special Branch investigators.
I particularly liked A River of Fortune for its principal character, Maggie Malloy, and the tight interweaving of the different threads in the story. I liked Maggie's character development; caring, compassionate, loyal to her close-knit group of friends, Eva, Chloe, Morwenna, Julie, and Anaya. Her decision to keep the money is reckless but she is determined to do good with the cash. She turns her ordinary life into an extraordinary one; she is no longer afraid to make new decisions and vows to take full responsibility for her actions if and when her crime is exposed. I liked the dialogues, the descriptive narrative creating a vivid picture of life in Friars Meadow. Through the detailed lives of Maggie's friends, I could imagine how Maggie's plan turns Friars Meadow into a strong, thriving community. But there is no escaping the continuous undercurrent of lurking danger, and crime and criminal characters are present throughout the story. A well-crafted novel by Paula Welch in which the action plays out in both deliberate and unpredictable ways!