The River and the Ravages


Fiction - Womens
366 Pages
Reviewed on 04/17/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

What happens when the one person who gave meaning to one’s life passes on? Aaliya Reiner seems to lose her grip on life after the death of her mother, and things don’t seem to get better with her sister, Maddalena, who’s estranged and happily enjoying the benefits that come in a marriage of power and opulence. Aaliya takes refuge in a clandestine love affair, hoping to fill the void left by her mother’s death. It is not long before things start going awry for the two sisters and they begin to understand how much they need each other. The River and the Ravages by JM Lawler is a powerful story that centers on family, political chaos, and identity. Follow the story of two sisters as they struggle to create a space for themselves in a world that is quickly becoming ruthless and unforgiving.

Character-driven and focused on a strong conflict, The River and the Ravages will give readers great entertainment, exploring issues that affect the lives of many people today. The reader is transported to a well-defined fictional setting and the complex world of a woman’s heart. The characters are well-developed and readers will be keen to notice how they change throughout the story. I love stories where characters outgrow themselves, where lessons are learned the hard way, and where a conflict drives the protagonist to seek solutions, and this is one such book. Written in very clear and beautiful prose, JM Lawler’s novel is both inspiring and entertaining. This is one of the finest books I have read on women’s issues, a book with characters that are real.

Christian Sia

JM Lawler’s The River and the Ravages is women's fiction, a gripping story that follows the lives of two compelling characters after the death of their mother. Maddalena and Aaliya Reiner have not been very close as sisters, but the distance between them widens after the death of their mother. While Aaliya is irresistibly drawn into a passionate and hidden love affair, her sister finds comfort in marriage with a politically powerful and wealthy man. But when the political storms begin to blow, they begin to question their values and to understand that they may need each other now more than ever before. This story of family, freedom, identity, and love will have readers gripped and completely seduced as they explore the compelling characters and their journey through the intricate plot.

The River and the Ravages is well-written. I was immediately pulled in by the strength of the prose, which features strong descriptions and great dialogues. The author has a unique signature for phraseology and readers will find the writing friendly, rendered more interesting by the careful use of humor and suspense. The story might start slowly, but it grows faster in pace and emotional intensity. The conflict is well thought out and designed to keep the reader interested throughout the story. I enjoyed the character development and the way family dynamics come across the writing. It is interesting to discover how Aaliya — one of my favorite characters — explores herself after losing the one point of reference for her life, her mother. JM Lawler has the gift of making readers care for the characters and the things they care about. This book will offer great entertainment to readers who love strong female characters cast in a powerful setting.

Teresa Syms

The Reiner family is dynamic, well-respected and highly regarded by the king and his followers. However, after the death of her mother, Aaliya Reiner feels isolated, trapped and lost in her grief, and soon discovers her friend and mentor Olle is the only person she can turn to. Aaliya’s sister, Maddalena, has discovered a way to survive in this man’s world and on her own journey to greatness purposely uses men to her fullest advantage. The final betrayal to Aaliya is when her sister is promised in marriage to Justen, Aaliya’s former lover and the love of her life.

As her story unravels, Aaliya becomes embroiled in a plot so deeply woven and hidden from everyone. She discovers not only she is a pawn, but also her father, sister and her beloved Justen are just tools to be used. Our heroine, Aaliya, searches for her own identity and meaning after her mother’s death. However, one tragedy leads to another and grief begins to consume her. Aaliya distances herself from her sister, Maddalena, but longs to develop a relationship with her father, who she learns is incapable of expressing his true feelings. After Aaliya is trapped deep in a plot woven by Viggo, the most powerful man in the realm, she soon discovers she is at Viggo’s mercy. In an incredible act of courage and self-preservation, Aaliya saves herself, but is forced to leave her family far behind. She is now on a journey toward self-identity and purpose.

The River and the Ravages by JM Lawler is a powerful story filled with turbulent political intrigue, wealth, love and sex. In this gripping story, Aaliya learns the value of freedom, loyalty and purpose. This is an amazing story that held me captivated and spell-bound. The author has woven a great tale set on a fictional continent which holds definite similarities to our own medieval times. The plot was well developed, giving the reader definite cues to visualize the plight of the Reiner family and the characters surrounding them. A great book filled with everything the reader could want.