Gilbert Morris Blog Tour (with review): “The River Rose”


Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her six-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi.

However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose – a tough man named Clint Hardin – and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters.

As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne – who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.

The River Rose/ISBN: 9781433673214/Page Count: 400/Trade Paper/Available since: June 2012


Gilbert Morris is among today’s most popular Christian writers and has sold millions of his books worldwide. He specializes in historical fiction and won a 2001 Christy Award for the Civil War drama Edge of Honor.

Once a pastor and English professor who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, Morris lives with his wife in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

The River Rose by Gilbert Morris – Chapter 1

Links to Morris Gilbert’s online outposts:

Website and Blog:

Blog Feed:  (there’s also a link on his blog)

E-Newsletter (to receive subscriber-only giveaways & previews of his upcoming novels):

Facebook Page:



My Review:

Mature reading audience.

1851, Memphis, TN.  After being widowed, Jeanne Bettencourt struggled to make ends meet for her and her six-year-old daughter, Marvel, as a chambermaid at the Gayoso House Hotel.  Jeanne was always leery and alert when working in the rooms of the men staying at the hotel.  Even her daughter was aware that “she didn’t like men very much.”  The real issue is that she didn’t trust them.

Her life was about to change for the better when a distant, unknown Hardin relative passed away and she became a half-heir to his estate–a paddle wheeler steamboat.   She grew up on one, so she was elated. However, the other half-heir was Clint Hardin, a tough man who had his way with women.  Being a Christian woman, Jeanne was uncomfortable “living” on the boat with him, but both needed money, so they made a business arrangement where she would pilot the boat and he would keep up the mechanical end.  Though courting wealthy plantation owner, Mr. George Masters, Jeanne began her new life as a steamer pilot.  Masters wasn’t happy with the arrangement, but she needed income.

The River Rose, by Gilbert Morris, was an entertaining and great historical book!  I found that the descriptive events of the daily trappings of the river, the gathering of supplies, the procuring of new customers and cargo, the bantering from the male pilots, the noise and filth of the docks, and the keeping of the logs during the eight-day trips made for an interesting read.  I loved the bantering of being nicknamed the ‘petticoat’ pilot. The author fires up the ante with Clint falling for Jeanne and an unexpected shock waiting for Jeanne at the end of their fourth run.

Though I did not care for Clint’s lifestyle before working on the steamer, he endeared himself to me as he was so gentle and caring for Marvel.  He thoroughly loved the little girl.  All the other characters who worked the steamer each had their own little quirks, but I really enjoyed Ezra Givens. He seemed gruff and crusty hard, but he was really a softy on the inside.  He’d been working the steamer with the previous owner, and remained as part of the ‘inheritance.’

Jeanne’s thankfulness to God for the small things in life as a chambermaid, and the circumstances that followed her after receiving the steamer, were a light to those around her, and was instrumental for steering her through her daughter’s illness and the shocking news and trial upon returning from her river trip.  Her care for Roberty came from a heart willing to help this homeless child.

Having read other books by Mr. Morris, I knew I’d find an excellent read with detailed descriptions of every episode.  He accomplished it once again.  You will be amazed at how his writing will stay with you, as he has a way of gleaning and sharing historical information that sticks with you.

There was one thing that somewhat frustrated me.  The title of the boat on the cover didn’t match the name on the boat in the book.  I kept waiting for it to be renamed.  Not sure if that was intentional or an oversight.   Though Jeanne had been raised on a steamer, I found it hard to imagine a single woman working on a steamer with all men, except for her daughter, in that time era.

The River Rose is Book 2 in a three-book seriesHowever, The River Rose is a stand-alone novel with zero overlap in characters or plot lines between the books. They are a series in the sense that all three books take place on Mississippi River paddle wheelers during the 1850s.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from B&H Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


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