Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Where Rivers Part by Kellie Coates Gilbert

It is hard to describe this good novel. It is part mystery, part intrigue, and part romance. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, I was captivated by it.

The plot centers on a bottled water company and their Quality Assurance Director, Dr. Juliet Ryan. Recently out of university, she is excited to have such a great job. What good fortune, she thought, to have met another director of the company at a golf club and to have been recommended for the position by him. It wasn't long before the two became lovers.

But then everything begins to go wrong. There is an outbreak of E. coli and the CDC traces the source back to the company Juliet works for. Then she finds out her boyfriend is not exactly who she thinks he is. Her world totally crashes when it looks like Juliet will be blamed for the outbreak and the deaths of two children.

This is a complex novel with several issues woven through the plot. One is Juliet's relationship to her father. He is also in the food safety area but as an academic. He has nothing good to say about food companies who skimp on safety procedures. He feels Juliet has become a traitor by working for a corporation and their relationship is strained.

Another issue is the more obvious one of food safety. I learned a great deal about how bottled water is sourced and tested for contaminants. Right along with this issue is that of corporate greed. I was again reminded of what some will do for money.

Yet another issue is the litigation that came from the contaminated water. The author was a paralegal involved in a national food contaminant case and her knowledge shows. It was very interesting to read about the process and how the corporation tried to limit their losses.

Finally, there is a little romance. It is not the main theme of the novel but does provided some added interest near the end.

The Christianity in the novel is perhaps more subtle than it might have been. Juliet does come to the point where she realizes that her mother's faith is what she really needs to survive.

Food for thought: "We are never more like God than when we forgive."

You can watch a book trailer here.

Kellie Coates Gilbert was a paralegal for nearly twenty-five years. She was one of the lead paralegals in the Jack-in-the-Box litigation. She and her husband live in Texas. You can find out more at www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com.

Revell, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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