Review of IN THE SHADOW OF THE RIVER by Ann H. Gabhart

About the Book:

Series: Stand Alone Novels
Publisher: Revell
Publication Year: May 2023
ISBN: 0800741722

If all the world’s a stage, Jacci will play her part. 

She only hopes her story does not turn out to be a tragedy.

Jacci Reed loves her life on the Ohio River in 1896 as part of the Kingston showboat family, but shadows of her past and the death of her mother linger in her memory. With the help of the showboat owner’s son, can she find answers before those shadows overtake her and threaten her life?

My Thoughts:

Historical in that the story is set on a showboat in the late 1800’s, but mostly mystery, this book captivated me with its fast-paced action and authentic details. I was captured from the first moment that little Jacci was introduced, only five years old and already facing being an orphan. She knows that there is a mystery surrounding her life even as she enthusiastically embraces her life as a performer on the showboat, but that is not at the forefront of her mind all the time. The romance between Gabe and Jacci is predictable and sweet, but it is not the center of the story either. The central focus of the story is secretive background that others are hiding from Jacci, her roots and her heritage that eventually she is determined to uncover. Ann H. Gabhart methodically tells the story in an addictive way, teasingly revealing details slowly and giving the plot multiple layers and great depth. The characters are realistic and relatable, with real tears falling from my eyes over little Jacci’s losses and her dilemma. As the story progresses, the characters change and grow, so they are dynamic and so believable. The plot is clever, with history and faith woven into the main story that is as complex as it is riveting. I learned a great deal about life on a showboat from this book and enjoyed my journey down the river with Jacci and Gabe. This is a satisfying, brilliantly written historical fiction with a compelling mystery in the center of it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

Very emotional and intense at times, so I would rate it PG. It is clean Christian Fiction.

About the Author:

Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. An award winning author, she’s published many books for both adults and young adults. Her books cover several genres from historical to small town family stories to cozy mysteries (mysteries published with author name A.H. Gabhart). Her ideas are sparked by events in Kentucky history and by experiences in her own family. Her first Shaker novel, The Outsider, was a finalist for the ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year. Love Comes Home won the Selah Book of the Year award, and These Healing Hills was the Faith, Hope & Love Readers’ Choice Women’s Fiction Book of the Year.
Ann lives on a Kentucky farm not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann enjoys hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dogs, Frankie and Marley. See more about her books at or join the conversation on her Facebook page, (Information from the author’s page on Amazon, photo from her website at

Newly released book. Purchase Links:

Baker Book House

Indie Bound

Books A Million

Christian Book

Barnes and Noble


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