Author: Tricia Stringer
The length of the Murray River is scattered with small towns and Riverboat Point is another, it is also the home of Jaxon Smith and J&S Houseboats.
After thinking we were being a little creative I have to say I am a sucker for a book character called Jaxon these days so Riverboat Point was always going to be on my TBR pile. Jaxon may have caught my attention but he is not one of the lead characters in the story, though his home and business are centre stage.
Savannah receives a call from Jaxon claiming to need urgent help with the business, she doesn’t really want to head to Riverboat Point but being between jobs and guarantor on the loan means she doesn’t have a lot of options. Arriving at Jaxon’s to discover he’s gone without a trace is very disconcerting for her. She’s been dumped in the deep end of a business she has no idea how to run with a list of instructions and a vague warning to beware the neighbour – though she can’t be sure which one and there’s more than one that could be deemed questionable. She finds herself worried for his safety and when Ethan, the closest neighbour, claims that Jaxon left a week ago on holiday she isn’t sure whether to be relieved or ropable.
Riverboat Point is a very small and tight knit community, that takes its time warming up to strangers. Jaxon’s note tells Savannah everyone is really friendly but that’s not her experience, not until she happens to mention that she’s Jaxon’s sister and then the locals become friendly and welcoming.
There is a lot going on in the narrative and it did wonders creating the suspense. The neighbours are all very unique and memorable, and they all value the serenity and isolation of Riverboat Point. At one point or another each of them voices their initial misgivings about J&S Houseboats for the added traffic it brings to their stretch of the river.
Savannah is our heroine and I really liked her. She’s fiesty, she’s stubborn and she’s used to her own company. The car accident that left her and Jaxon orphans also left her injured, the road to recovery long and incomplete. Her injuries, and her prickly nature, have left her unable to keep a job.
The almost 400 pages of Riverboat Point explore some quirky characters, and some who are a little broken. We watch the small town community embrace Savannah, even though she’s a newcomer, in a way that it doesn’t really seem to have done for her riverside neighbours. The town is quite close knit but the neighbours of J&S Houseboats seem to be on the periphery, the way their properties are to the town. We explore the inner demons of a few different characters and watch them start to come together again, to begin healing their fractured souls.
Through it all there is the suspense of not knowing what really happened to Jaxon and if Savannah is in any danger taking over the business in his absence. I found the suspense to be gripping and it kept me flipping the pages.
The romance was slow building, neither party feeling worthy or ready for a relationship and they had to build a trust slowly before they could move forward. Yet neither of them are really ready to trust yet so just how much can that trust withstand before it bends or breaks?
I quite enjoyed Riverboat Point and it’s Murray River setting, it has left me a little envious of a houseboat holiday.
Riverboat Point was book #5 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.