Friday, February 12, 2010

Hungry River, by Millie Samuelson


(Click cover for more information).

If you're looking for an inspiring, thought-provoking story that's so closely written from the author's heart it almost has its own pulse, Hungry River is a must read.

Ms. Samuelson has crafted a wonderful story based upon real characters and events from her own family's past—missionaries in China at the turn of the 20th century and the years following. History buffs will recall that tumultuous era as the setting for the bloody Boxer rebellion during which thousands of Chinese Christians and missionaries were slaughtered. Millie touches on these events through the eyes of those who endured them in the pages of Hungry River. But mostly you'll read of the missionaries' quiet work in China's back villages, as well as her large cities, and of the steadfast faith that sustained them through tribulations and victories.
Millie does a remarkable job of setting the stage of each chapter by interweaving and counterbalancing excerpts of two sets of journals. The first is a contemporary diary by Abbie, the storyteller. The second comprises letters, journals and other memorabilia of her father and her grandparents, who are the main characters of the novel. Abbie is reading through the family records and, in addition to telling their story, records her impressions of their significance not only to her own heritage, but to the larger cause of worldwide missions.
Self-published novels carry an all-too-often well deserved stigma of poor quality. Hungry River shatters that stigma. The word that kept creeping into my mind as I absorbed Millie's writing style was "gentle"—but don't confuse "gentle" with "boring"; nothing could be farther from the truth. The great writer and writing teacher, Cecil Murphey, commented that one of the best compliments he had received was when a publisher told him his writing was so very easy to read. Reading Ms. Samuelson's prose is effortless. You never trip over awkward phrasing or burdened vocabulary in Hungry River. The story is authentic and captivating, the reading experience a joy. This book is a treasure.
Bad news and good news. First the bad news. Ms. Samuelson has discontinued printing Hungry River in its current form. Now the good news. She still has copies available through, and would also be pleased to send an autographed copy by contacting her here. More good news. Millie has expanded Hungry River by nine chapters and is seeking traditional publishing through the Hartline Literary Agency for the book under the new name Dragon River.
If you're an editor who has stumbled upon this review, take this as a good lead on a winner. If you're a reader who loves excellent writing and engaging storytelling, you can take the same lead.


Diana said...

Very well said- I especially agree with the effortless reading- Thank you for such a wonderful review of a well deserving title.

Bruce Judisch said...

Writing the review was almost as pleasurable as reading the book. ;-)

Thanks for commenting, Diana. This book really needs wider exposure. It's a gem.

Four Lights For Him said...

Sounds a like a great book. Gonna havta get a copy. :)

Bruce Judisch said...


You won't regret it. You actually came to mind as I was reading the book and writing the review. I thought you especially would appreciate it. If you order one from Millie, mention my name. She's a delightful lady.

Cheers! Bruce

Millie Samuelson said...

Hi Four Lights for Him Jennifer! THANKS so much for wanting my novel! It's in the mail. . . And THANKS, Bruce, for inviting her to want the novel. Tuesday blessings! :-)