The interwoven stories of January River are the chapters that reflect the ebb and flow of Ethan McCoy’s life—his losses, his triumphs. His coming of age. And yes, his secrets. I was transported there! The book also touched my heartstrings! Tissues helped!

Review 2
JANUARY RIVER

Beyond forest, meadow, and glen and secrets lie in wait!

I have been VERY privileged to read Bernard’s works ! This is my third!! There’s something so profound, engaging, and extraordinarily beautiful in his writing that I am journeying along side each character, most especially, his, in the case, the protagonist, Ethan. Pulling the heart strings after the loss of his friend, Ethan struggles with (what some believe) imagined happenstances. Not so. Moreover, it is, in my opinion, quite difficult to reach that, sometimes, intangible and angst-filled period-coming of age when maturity beckons, but, childhood resists! I was so completely drawn in (as I had been reading A World Without Color, as well as Cruel Summer)!! The story is the perfect blend of heartache, joy, friendships, familial ties (Bible teachings and references, et al), and finding the meaning and, there too, the realization of one’s own coming to terms and, yes, even accepting life’s trajectories. Aside from the beyond beautiful imagery which, I find, takes your breath away (your mind and soul completely vested), there is a joyful respite when Ethan finds consolation and, even more important, love in the form of a fur baby! This is not a ‘Let me throw a living creature in just because -add on, but, rather a carefully and VERY important piece as Ethan finds himself. New York City calls. Ethan, at his brother’s urging, responds. Another highly recommended read!!

 

By Anna Casamento Arrigo, June 14, 2022, published on Amazon and Goodreads, 5/5
 

***

Pulls at your heartstrings!

JANUARY RIVER by Bernard Jan earned 4.5 flowing stars from me!

MY TEASE…
 

Imagine sitting around a cozy campfire, one nestled beside a river, and being privy to the stories about childhood friends growing up in the small town of Greenfield.

For eager fireside “listeners” like me, the tales shared within the book’s pages weren’t about any one event…not just about a boyish imagination regarding an alien encounter in a remote pasture, or the harrowing rescue of a dog nearly stiff from the wintry cold, or the heartache of having a missing friend whose clothes were found by the riverbank, or even the pull of adulthood and the new adventures maturity brings far, far away from the shores of the river.

Instead, the interwoven stories of JANUARY RIVER are the chapters that reflect the ebb and flow of Ethan McCoy’s life—his losses, his triumphs. His coming of age.
 

And yes, his secrets.

THOUGHTS…

Confession: There really isn’t a symbolic campfire in JANUARY RIVER! But I thought the imagery best captured the vibe of this book. Who doesn’t love sitting by a river-side campfire to learn the complex layers of someone’s life? Right down to the core where their secrets hide?

I don’t read many coming of age books, but I really enjoyed JANUARY RIVER!

As well, the author often sparked my own senses associated with my growing up near the rolling rural-hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, when he described memories like:

“But Ethan missed many things in Greenfield. Most of all the smell of cut grass and dried hay, as well as the smell of freshly reaped wheat.”

And then…

“He longed for the times when he played in the fields choked with rustling corn.”

Very nice! I was transported there!

The book also touched my heartstrings! Tissues helped!

QUICKFIRE RATINGS from 1 (ugh) to 5 (woo-hoo)…

Plot (the story): 3.5
Main character’s likability: 4.5
Development of supporting character(s): 4
Settings/Atmosphere: 5
Pacing (how fast did I turn the pages): 3.5
Believability (in the context of the story): 5
Satisfying ending: 5
Tension of the story: 3.5
Stirs the heart (romantic or emotional elements): 4.5
Did I solve the mystery/guess the ending before the reveal? No!
Cover: 5
 

OVERALL:

JANUARY RIVER is a touching coming-of-age read which pulls at your heartstrings.

 

By Julia Ash, December 13, 2021, published on Amazon and Goodreads, 5/5