Title: THE RIVER WITHIN
Author: Baxter Clare Trautman
Publication: e-Book
Available: http://baxterclare.com
Rating 5 Stars
Genre: Drama

After a lifetime of reading, it is still sometimes astounding to me that a book, which at its most basic is merely words upon a page, can often grip you by the heart and pull you into its story. Baxter Clare Trautman’s The River Within does exactly this.

The River Within is not an easy story. It is one you will often want to put down, but equally, it will not leave you alone until you pick it back up and carry on. At its heart, this book asks, how do we live with ourselves when our lives have gone wrong? At its heart, this book answers that question – you do what you can and then you do what you must.

Three main characters speak to us in voices of pain, regret and uncertainty, telling us stories that travel from home and relationships, to war and loss. At times distressing and almost unpalatable, these stories touch us deeply and these characters, in the midst of their losses and anguish gain a type of beauty when they at last have enough of lies and start to face, and determine, how to live with the truths that lie at the heart of who they are.

This is a compelling book, beautifully written, with scenes, which take us from the fireside at home to the beat of a war journalist in the Middle East. Each scene is believable, alive, each detail telling and true. The narrative voice is confident without resorting to tricks to tell us the story at the heart of the book, and probably at the heart of all of us as well. How do we manage when we realize our choices have led us to a painful place?

Although the story is told from multiple viewpoints, the transitions are so smooth that we are always within the story, never jarred from the continuous dream that is a good book. The pacing is perfectly controlled, even when we might wish to rush ahead to see what happens, we are guided through this traumatic but beautiful and ultimately heart-warming story with the author’s deft and loving hand.

A story of loss of innocence and a story of the struggle for redemption, Baxter Clare Trautman’s The River Within is a story for our times.