Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Double the Pleasure review: Riversong and Riverbend by Tess Thaompson


 Author Tess Thompson assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on a journey that will make you believe in the possibilities of life - even in the face of overwhelming adversity and unimaginable grief.

Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read. When her husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother's dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee's resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband's debt as her business blooms.

A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food, Riversong entertains while reminding you of life's greatest gifts.

From My Perspective: 

I totally immersed myself in reading Riversong and enjoyed it immensely.   I liked most of the characters and was drawn into Lee's world completely.   Maybe it was her childhood that gave her the inner strength and determination to press on toward being self sufficient and strong.   She certainly had no support from her alcoholic mother during her long and lonesome journey toward adulthood.   But returning to her hometown to restore and sell her mother's house was the best move she had ever made.   Discoveries of small and real joys awaited her there.   This character seemed so very real to me.   She was afraid to give herself to the town paragon of virtue, Tommy, but there was just enough physical attraction to be believable and yet not causing the reader head slaps wishing she'd just cave in and allow them the love they sought from one another.    Tommy's frustrations with her unshared "secret" were plausible and when he could no longer deal with the quandry of not knowing whether he would one day find her gone, he stood like a man and refused to let the relationship continue.   That showed his strength and self preservation skills.

I knew her secret would be found out and the consequences would have to be paid, but I was thrilled when her friends in a small town came together to help her find her way out of the darkness.   I liked the lessons the characters all learned about love, friendship, second chances, and life.   How often is it that we cave into the fear?   Only to look back and be amazed that we survived our most threatening issues in life?   My own  mantra in life, whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger and I think that is why I could so relate to this novel.    A great women's read from Tess Thompson and I rate it a 4 WINK read.


Just as Annie Bell’s reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.

Author Tess Thompson reunites the colorful cast of endearing small-town characters from her bestselling novel Riversong and takes you on a journey that will renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community – even in the face of seemingly insurmountable grief and fear. You’ll find yourself once again cheering for the residents of River Valley, especially the big-hearted and compassionate Annie Bell.

Escape with a blend of love, laughter, friendship, suspense and gourmet food while remembering it’s never too late for second chances.

From My Perspective:

Annie's story was every bit as interesting and romantic as Lee's story was.  The one thing I noted is no one is perfect; everyone has a past, burdens and baggage and a reaction to it....be it strengthening or weakening.  Annie had run to River Valley to escape her abusive boyfriend and when he let's her know that he knows where she is and is coming for her, seeking revenge, she lives in fear and just might die in fear as well.   But Marco, the ex boyfriend, just doesn't quite grasp what he might be up against.    Drake Webber, self imposed recluse, offers her a hideaway in his home, although he can not be touched or questioned about his sad history.   Thank God for children; Annie's ten year old son, Alder, can ask the questions man to man, that an adult could never get away with.

Once again, Tess Thompson writes a heartfelt romantic novel which will appeal to women everywhere.   There is a generous amount of love as secrets from the past are shared and as the town prepares to take care of its own.   There is a little piece of magic, a lot of action/suspense and a great storyline to follow.  I give Riverbend a 4 WINK rating, just like Riversong and look forward to her next book in the series, due out in August, Riverstar.  If you read this series, come back and comment about your thoughts and definitely contact Tess through Good Reads.   She knows how to make you love her characters!

  About Tess Thompson:

      Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California.

After some success as a playwright she decided to write a novel, a dream she’d held since childhood. She began working on her first novel, Riversong while her second daughter was eight months old, writing during naptimes and weekends. She considers it a small miracle and the good-nature of her second child (read: a good napper) that it was ever finished. Riversong was released in April 2011 by Booktrope, a Seattle publisher and subsequently became a #1 Nook book and Kindle best seller. Learn more about Booktrope at www.booktrope.com

Like her main character in Riversong, Tess is from a small town in Southern Oregon. She currently lives in Snoqualmie, Washington with her two small daughters where she is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

She was an active member of the theatre community in Seattle as an actor and director during the late nineties. In 2000 she wrote her first full-length play, My Lady’s Hand which subsequently won the 2001 first place prize for new work at the Burien Theatre.

A voracious reader, Tess’s favorite thing to do is to curl up on a rainy afternoon and read a novel. She also enjoys movies, theatre, wine and food. She is fed emotionally by her friends and family and cherishes relationships above all else.

Tess will be releasing her second novel, Caramel and Magnolias, in February 2013. She is busy working a historical fiction set in 1930’s Alabama that is based on a short story of her great-great grandmother’s.

Synopsis, Author info and picture are from GoodReads.                                          

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a complimentary copy from the author or the author’s representatives in exchange for an honest review.

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