Darcy Morgan's past and present are destined to collide. With both parents gone, she now lives with her aunt and uncle in a house along the Potomac. As past secrets rise to the surface, Darcy meets Ethan Brennan, an aspiring English horse breeder who is captivated by her independent spirit and marvels at the simplicity of her faith.
When Darcy is beckoned to England by her grandmother, she decides to leave her beloved home and journey with friends of the family across the ocean. Soon all the memories she has of her family begin to unravel, and a long-hidden secret may destroy any happiness she might have with Ethan.
I truly love books that show how much the past and present are connected. That's exactly what I discovered in Beside Two Riversby Rita Gerlach. While Darcy and Ethan's romance is partially the focus of this moving novel, the story is more about how past secrets can impact future happiness directly or indirectly.
In Darcy, the author has created a sympathetic character with an adventurous spirit. Darcy still remembers the last words her father spoke of her mother Eliza. Soon afterwards, she was abandoned by her father and left to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins. While she loves them all dearly, she can't seem to let go of the mother she lost and the father who abandoned her.
Gerlach did a wonderful job of sculpting a truly fascinating story that kept me turning page after page. Would Darcy and Ethan's love flourish? Would Darcy ever see her father again? How would what Darcy doesn't know about the past impact her life if it was discovered? I absolutely loved how the author developed the tension in this novel. I couldn't put the book down.
While this is the second book in a series, it stands alone perfectly. I never once felt lost. My only disappointment was that the ending seemed rushed. The tension built and built. The puzzle pieces fell into place. For 34 chapters I was totally engrossed. Then came the last chapter and suddenly every loose end had to be tied up. This happened, then this, and then this. Time flew by. I would have preferred either a few unanswered questions or a solid last chapter followed by an epilogue that allowed the reader to see a bit into the future.
I still enjoyed Beside Two Rivers and have requested to review the next book in the series, Beyond the Valley, which will be out in February. If you like a bit of mystery and suspense in your historical fiction, you should give Beside Two Rivers a try.