The River by Michael Neale

The River is Michael Neale’s first book. He is a Dove Award-Winning Songwriter and a worship leader. Here are a few of his songs and who recorded them: Michael W. Smith (“Rise Above”), Natalie Grant (“Your Great Name” – Worship Song of the Year in 2012), Rebecca St. James (“In A Moment”), Todd Agnew (“I Need No Other”), and Phillips, Craig and Dean (“Saved the Day”).

Neale’s book comes highly recommended…

“The beauty, sacrifice, forgiveness, redemption, a son’s love for his father…the themes in this novel moved me to tears. The River will inspire your soul!” – Rebecca St. James, Grammy Award-winning artist

“The River is a beautifully crafter novel by a gifted communicator. Michael William Neale has successfully parlayed his ability to inspire from the performing platform to the written page. The story of The River will inspire its readers to live a life they were destined for!” – John C. Maxwell, The John Maxwell Company

“The River is a story that will transform how you see yourself and the world.” – Andy Andrews, best-selling author of The Noticer and The Traveler’s Gift

…so I was very interested in reviewing it.

Gabriel lives along The River with his father. However, at age 5 years old he witnesses the death of his father as he saves a foolish kayaker. Gabriel then moves with his mom and lives a very fearful, hollow existence. They are very poor, but he is surrounded by a good support system in his mom, Earl and Vonda (an older couple they rent from), and his friend Jimmy. In his early 20s and feeling stuck, he gets invited by Jimmy on a trip to the River. His life changes in many ways as finds out what his father meant in his saying, “You were made for the River.”

My conclusions weren’t as positive. It was easy to read and its cover and pages are like a worn journal – loved that!! However, it is not very deep or emotionally engaging. I didn’t really connect with the characters or the story, as I would expect to with a well-written novel. I knew it was written from a Christian perspective, so I saw the connection with the River and my life with Christ. However, I actually got more out of listening to the sermons based on the book and including the author…

I would highly recommend them. Michael Neale’s passion for Christ and living our lives to the fullest comes through a lot more clearly!

Here are a few more links for you to check out: (At the time of my posting, a lot of these links don’t work for some reason.) and

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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