Doss Michaels is a lost soul. Raised by his mother on the wrong side of the tracks, he struggles to say what’s on his mind. When he picks up his pencil and lays it to canvas, though, the feelings come spilling out.
Abigail Grace Eliot Coleman is the only child of Charleston Senator Coleman. Voted by the New York Times as one of a hundred most beautiful faces in the country, Abbie, as she prefers to be called, is the toast of the Charleston elite. Although her father has great plans for his beautiful daughter, Abbie has plans of her own.
When Abbie and Doss find each other, Abbie encourages him to paint and value his talent. Doss, in turn, teaches Abbie to look in the mirror and see more than just a pretty face. Abbie pursues a career in modeling as Doss develops his talent for seeing beauty where others see only ugliness. His eye for beauty reaches the deepest level of emotion as collectors see themselves in his paintings. Even Abbie’s father finds it hard to object to their partnership as he watches from the sidelines. Abbie loves Doss deeply; in return, Doss cherishes the woman she is at her core, beyond the outer beauty and physique. This exchange is the envy of all who know them.
Their picture-perfect marriage of ten years stops short when Abbie is diagnosed with cancer. While her father brings in the best specialists money can buy, nothing seems to help Abbie defeat the cancer that riddles her body. Each test, each new doctor brings hope that is quickly dashed away as Doss watches his beautiful wife become a shell of herself. This story reminds the reader of what cancer cannot do: it cannot diminish the love that transcends all understanding. Abbie has given Doss complete acceptance and refused to let him to accept second-best when it comes to his talent. She has taught him to view the world with his heart rather than with his eyes. Now Doss will have to find a way to give Abbie that same kind of unwavering acceptance and love. What they learn from and about each other after the diagnosis leaves the reader in tears.
Author Charles Martin has given the world a love story equal to Nicholas Sparks The Notebook. This story of survival, trust, victory and the never-ending power of love is not a “chick flick” type of story but a tale of two people who fight together to win the war, even though they may lose the battle. Where the River Ends joins other classics of its type with Martin’s beautiful description of the river and his ability to put the reader in that canoe with Doss and Abbie.