Cover Image: The River Runs South

The River Runs South

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Title: The River Runs South
Author: Audrey Ingram
Genre: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.00
Pub Date: September 5, 2023

I received a complimentary eARC from Alcove Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #Gifted #Ad

T H R E E • W O R D S

Transporting • Nostalgic • Cliché

📖 S Y N O P S I S

When Camille Taylor’s husband dies unexpectedly, the carefully constructed life she worked so hard to build in Washington, DC, shatters. After struggling for almost a year, she reaches a breaking point, packs up her daughter, and heads for the Alabama coast where she grew up.

The salt air and slow rhythms of the coast soothe Camille’s spirit, but when she meets local fisherman Mack Phillips, she learns that things have changed in her hometown. Runoff from an abandoned development site is polluting the water, and Mack has brought a suit against the site’s owners—Camille’s father among them.

Battling her own fears for the fragile ecosystem of her beloved Mobile Bay, Camille joins her father’s defense team, but the more she learns, the more she wonders if she’s landed on the right side of the fight. Meanwhile, Camille is slowly drawn to Mack's fearless resolve, his sterling ideals, and finally to the man himself.

Faced with blurred lines between right and wrong, Camille must decide for herself what the next chapter of her life will bring.

💭 T H O U G H T S

I was initially drawn to Audrey Ingram's debut novel The River Runs South because of the stunning cover, and became even more interested knowing grief was a major theme. The author delivers a gentle, yet predictable story about love, loss, and courage.

I know this is marketed as women's fiction, yet in my opinion everything seemed to go a little too smoothly for Camille. It was quite easy to pick up on where the story was going to go and just felt all too easy (despite the death of her husband). While the characters were relatable in many ways, their actions also felt unrealistic at times. I definitely like a little more emotional depth in my books.

A few things I could definitely appreciate were the food descriptions, which left my mouth watering. It would have been awesome if some of the recipes had been included. There is also a real sense of community throughout and as someone who has gone through life-altering loss I know how important that is. Yet the biggest thing I liked was the inclusion of Alabama's fragile ecosystem. Women's fiction isn't a genre that tends to tackle big issues, especially environmental ones, and I thought the author did a great job showcasing the importance of these natural waterways.

The River Runs South was a feel-good story about second chances, yet it's not one that will stick with me. There wasn't a whole lot of substance although it does tackle some major themes. I'd be curious to see what Audrey Ingram writes next, but there wouldn't be a rush to pick it up right away.

📚 R E C O M M E N D • T O
• readers who like Sweet Home Alabama
• Kristy Woodson Harvey fans
• readers who have felt lost

⚠️ CW: death, death of partner, grief, climate anxiety, panic attacks/disorders

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A stunning debut! Beautifully written with a setting that is a character unto itself. I'm already looking forward to more from Audrey Ingram!

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Thank you @alcovepress @audreyingramwrites for my gifted eBook. My thoughts are my own.

This delightful read is deep and emotional, perfect when you have time to cuddle up with a good book!

When Camille Taylor’s husband passes away unexpectedly, she struggles to return to work and to be there for her young daughter. After almost a year, Camille decides to return temporarily to her parents’ home in Alabama. Once there, her daughter falls in love with the town and the Southern food and customs.

Camille meets a local fisherman, Mack, who is passionate about saving the river. Camille’s daughter is eager to be friends with Mack, and somehow, Camille and Mack keep meeting up. Then, Camille learns Mack is involved in a lawsuit against her father. Her friendship with Mack causes problems with her father; but Camille feels an attraction to Mack and she eventually wonders if she is supporting the right side in this argument.

I enjoyed the descriptive writing style of this author, as the coast of Alabama comes to life in this novel; and, the descriptions of Southern food are mouth-watering! The story unfolds through Camille’s perspective and the reader gets a good sense of her conflicts. The story deals with themes of loss, family ties, communication, and love. This novel is perfect for lovers of Southern fiction.

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This book was an emotional read about losing a spouse. I teared up a few times while reading. Camille was very lucky to have supportive friends and family to help her through the grieving process. I liked that she had two guys interested in her. It kept me interested to see which guy she would choose in the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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Audrey Ingram’s debut novel, “The River Runs South,” is a transporting and illuminating story that touches on themes of love, loss, and the courage to start over. This emotionally rich fiction resonates with readers who have experienced life’s unexpected twists and turns, making it a compelling read for anyone in search of a heartfelt narrative. The story revolves around Camille Taylor, a 35-year-old lawyer living in Washington, D.C. Her carefully constructed life comes crashing down when her husband dies unexpectedly. Over the course of nearly a year, Camille struggles to cope with her profound loss, leading to a breaking point. In her pursuit of healing and a fresh start, she packs up her daughter, Willa, and returns to her hometown on the Alabama coast.

The change in scenery, the soothing salt air, and the slower pace of life provide Camille with much-needed solace. However, as she reunites with her hometown, she discovers that things have evolved, not always for the better. Environmental concerns come to the forefront as runoff from an abandoned development site pollutes the water. Camille’s own father is among the site’s owners, and this revelation prompts Camille to join her father’s defense team. Camille’s journey is not just about finding her roots but also involves her growing commitment to protecting the fragile ecosystem of Mobile Bay. As she works alongside her father and the local fisherman Mack Phillips, she faces challenging questions about right and wrong, love, and the next chapter of her life. Ingram’s writing is both fluid and emotionally resonant. She crafts relatable characters and delves into the complexity of human emotions, particularly grief and healing. The bond between Camille and her daughter, Willa, is portrayed with heartwarming authenticity. Willa’s youthful enthusiasm and observations add a touch of humor to the narrative.

The Southern setting is vividly described, capturing the charm of the Alabama coast. The coastal landscape, salty air, and local cuisine come to life in the story, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the setting. “The River Runs South” is a beautifully written debut novel that explores the profound themes of family, grief, love, and community. Audrey Ingram’s storytelling is both engaging and heartfelt, making this book an enjoyable and heartwarming read. For those seeking a story of resilience and new beginnings, “The River Runs South” is a compelling choice.

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This book is all about starting over after the loss of a spouse. Camille and her husband had a great life until he died unexpectedly of a heart attack. After struggling for a little over a year Camille and her daughter decide to take a trip to Alabama. Life becomes easier and better in Alabama. Camille helps her dad and becomes attracted to a man, The book is a really good read.

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Camille Taylor has it all, a doting husband, an adorable little girl and a successful career as a lawyer in Washington until Camille's life shatters and she's left to start all over again, back to where she grew up.

Let me start by telling you things that I enjoyed about this book, I loved the descriptions of food and cooking. It felt cosy and lovely. The descriptions of the environment where also extremely well done, I could easily picture myself in Camille's parent's house or out by the river. I also thought the environmentalism aspect of the book was really interesting and original. It made it more than just another romance.

There was a lot to like about this book, unfortunately I'm not the biggest romance fan so I found it to be average to me. One of the things I disliked immensely was Camille's daughter's dialogue... what six year old talks like that?!?! I don't know why the author didn't age her up to around 10, that way it would have been more believable. Also, the protagonist is the same age as me and described herself as middle aged in one part.... (thirties!)

I liked this book, I thought it was a very easy and nice read. It didn't knock my socks off but I would recommend it for a holiday read!

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I received a Digital Reader Copy of this debut novel from Alcove Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I connected with each character right away. I loved that the focus of the novel is family coming together. I think readers who enjoy books by Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy this one, because environmental issues are a big part of the story. I look forward to whatever Audrey Ingram writes next.

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Solid debut novel from Audrey Ingram!

After tragically losing her husband, Camille returns home to Alabama with her adorable young daughter Willa. Excellent writing that makes you feel like you are there with them in Alabama. Enjoyed their adventures with Cam showing Willa around Alabama and introducing her to southern staples, oysters, pimento cheese, shrimp boils.

Thanks Net Galley and Alcove Press for the early copy. All opinions are my own.

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A family with an unexpected loss that throws everyone into chaos and then another life altogether. Relocated, finding yourself and love again, both familial and romantic.. a story that’s been told over in many ways but Ingram has a sweet spin on it.
The characters are likable, both sassy and relatable and while the plot is somewhat predictable, I still enjoyed the ebb and flow of it. A nice, light read.

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This is a beautifully written story about grief, relationships, and forgiveness, with a side of environmentalism. It’s emotional and complex. The daughter Willa will just steal your heart! The book has a multi-layered plot but not crazy enough to get lost. It’s about coming home and rediscovering who you love to be. Thank you to @letstalkbookspromo for including me in this tour. This book wasn’t on my radar, but I’m so glad I read it! You should too!

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This was such a beautifully written book. After unexpectedly losing her husband, our main character Camille finds herself a single parent to their 6 year old daughter, while balancing her life as a lawyer. As if losing her husband wasn’t enough, circumstances end up bring her back to her home town on the Alabama Coast.

There she finds local fisherman Mack, and a lawsuit being filed against an abandoned sight, that includes her father.

This one is emotional in the best way. The descriptions that Audrey uses help to create an amazing picture, and it felt so real life to me. Camille finds herself having to make hard choices.

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This is my first read by Audrey Ingram and I find her words ones that those who have lost loved ones will understand and relate.

Brief synosis: When Camille Taylor’s husband dies unexpectedly, the carefully constructed life she's worked so hard to build in Washington, DC, shatters. After struggling for almost a year, she reaches a breaking point, packs up her daughter, and heads for the Alabama coast where she grew up.

The salt air and slow rhythms of the coast soothe Camille’s spirit, but when she meets local fisherman Mack Phillips, she learns that things have changed in her hometown. Runoff from an abandoned development site is polluting the water, and Mack has brought a suit against the site’s owners—Camille’s father among them.

My thoughts: Having suddenly lost her husband, Camille is floundering. She is having trouble focusing at her job and she feels like she is failing her little girl. She packs up and moves home to Fairhope for a few weeks. It is not suppose to be a long visit, just time away to get her bearings. Soon meets a local fisherman, Mack Phillips. But, things are not as they seem and Mack is a mortal enemy of her father.

Ingram did an excellent job of portraying true human emotions in a way that I could feel them in my heart. I have not lost a husband but I did lose adaughter at 23 in a car accident. I forced myself to get back to work just like she did. I had to wokr and keep busy to stay sane. I didn’t have a place to escape like Camille. In reality, deep loss is an ongoing condition, no matter how many years have passed.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Alcove Press for sharing this a moving, passionate story of love, loss, grief, healing, and moving forward from Audrey Ingram. This story is full of great scenes of nature, great descriptions of Fairhope. Its a wonderful story about what is right and wrong.

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𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐑𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐑𝐮𝐧𝐬 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡
𝐁𝐲 𝐀𝐮𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐲 𝐈𝐧𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: 𝐀𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬
𝐏𝐮𝐛 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞: 𝟗.𝟓.𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑

Thank you @letstalkbookspromo @alcovepress and @audreyingramwrites for a spot on tour and a gifted book.

Thank you to @dreamscape_media for the complimentary audiobook.

I flew through this book! I became so engrossed in Camille and her little daughter, Willa’s journey.

Camille’s husband dies suddenly, leaving her in a daze. How will she raise her spirited six-year-old, and keep up the demands as a partner at a D.C. law firm? When her boss suggests she needs a break, Camille heads to one place she thought she’d never return - home to the Alabama coast.

Camille and Willa have fun exploring and they meet Mack, a local fisherman and owner of a seafood shop. Mack explains how the coastal ecosystem has been damaged since Camille has been gone, and Mack is trying to make things right. Camille agrees with how important this fight is … until she realizes that Mack has brought a lawsuit against some of the companies that damaged the land, which includes her father’s company. Camille must decide which side she is going to take a stand on.

This remarkable debut blends dealing with grief, motherhood, a poignant legal battle, and finding love again. These characters are so well written - Willa was adorable and Mack stole my heart!

𝘌𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭, 𝘢𝘵𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘤, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵-𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨!

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The River Runs South is an absolutely amazing debut. It's full of southern charm and was so atmospheric. It's a beautiful novel about rebuilding and starting over after a tremendous loss. Although dealing with a heartbreaking loss, this is a heartwarming story. One you don't want to miss.

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Loss permeates this absorbing debut novel. Loss of people and of our increasingly fragile environment.

The protagonist, Camille Taylor, is a busy partner at a thriving Washington D.C. law practice. She is married to a man she loves dearly and is the mother of a charming and precocious six-year-old daughter. When Camille's husband dies suddenly, her world spins off its axis. She doesn't know how to live without Ben... When her work, and more importantly her daughter, suffers from her inability to cope, she decides to go back to her home state of Alabama for a temporary visit with her parents. She feels that perhaps she will recover her equilibrium and rekindle her drive while being the supportive mother her daughter needs.

Once back in the balmy southern Alabama town where she grew up, she feels happier than she has for a long time. However, when she learns that her beloved father is caught up in a lawsuit involving the delicate Alabama ecosystem, she feels compelled to step in and fight his corner. Meantime, she falls back into the fraught relationship with her mother that was part of the reason for her leaving Alabama in the first place...

Meanwhile, Camille is spending more quality time with her daughter Willa, and rediscovering her home state through her daughter's eyes. She meets and begins working with her father's legal counsel who just happens to be a divorced, attractive man. She also meets Mack Phillips, the man who brought the lawsuit against her father...

The setting of this novel was enticing and it made me want to visit the state of Alabama. The writing was descriptive and you could almost feel the heat and humidity. You could almost smell the honeysuckle.

The book spoke to the dangers of development and how developers value profits over following environmental regulations.

Essential a romance story, this debut novel has some much deeper themes running throughout. Love, loss, parenting, guilt, work-life balance, starting over, evaluating your priorities, and most importantly environmentalism. As is usual for the genre, I predicted how the end of the novel would play out, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the read nonetheless and would happily read more by this new and talented author.

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Death, family and moving on. The cover of this book seems like it could be the cover of any book really. But this book is about an over worked mom who just lost her husband and is trying to find out what her life looks like without the love of her life. Suddenly she is back in her home town in Alabama and is trying to figure out what “moving on” looks like for her and her daughter. There are love interest but it is very pg. This is such an amazing book and the dual narration really brought it to life.

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Dollycas's Thoughts

In The River Runs South, Camille Taylor's husband, Ben, appears perfectly healthy when Camille leaves for work but shortly thereafter he suffers a massive heart attack and dies. Camille tries so hard to keep up with the life they had in Washington D.C. while raising their 6-year-old daughter Willa and trying to deal with her grief. After almost a year she finally admits to herself that she has reached a point where she can't do it any longer. So she packs bags for herself and Willa and they head to Alabama and her parents, hoping to get it together and return to work in a couple of weeks.

Back on the Alabama coast, she feels better and the slower lifestyle soothes her mind as well. That lasts until she meets Mack Phillips, a local fisherman. Their first meeting was fun, thanks to Willa, who is quite a little girl. But later she finds out things in Mobile Bay are a little tense. A developer has cleared land for new homes but quickly abandoned the project when a lawsuit is filed. Their clearing of the land messed with an already fragile ecosystem and is now polluting the water. Sadly Camille's father was a partner on the project so he is part of the lawsuit. A lawsuit brought by her new friend Mack Phillips.

Camille joins her father's defense team to try to help him save his business, his reputation, and his home, all while being drawn to Mack. Her parents are livid that they keep running into each other but it isn't always her fault.

Camille is so conflicted about everything happening in Alabama and her boss in Washington wants her back there as soon as possible. She has some big choices to make. She has to help her parents, do what is best for Willa, and try to figure out how to make a new life for herself where she is happy and fulfilled. None of that is easy.


My heart just broke for Camille and Willa. Camille is a strong woman, a lawyer with a high-pressure job. Willa is a precocious 6-year-old doing everything a child should do. In a matter of a second both their lives were turned inside out. Grief affects each person differently and I couldn't believe Camille went back to work so soon and that she kept it up for almost a year before crumbling. Willa is a character that is larger than life. I loved that she wanted to visit and do everything her mother did while growing up in Mobile Bay. She innocently pushed her mother into crazy situations after meeting Mack. Willa really liked the man and couldn't understand why her mother didn't want to do everything with him that they could. It was such an emotional ride for Camille. I would love to bottle Willa's enthusiasm for living life.

Mack Phillips was also a very strong character. A man always trying to do the right thing. His dedication to saving the ecosystem was commendable. His passion was fearless. He brought in a big gun law firm to take on a corporate giant and was apologetic that Camille's dad was involved. He could have dropped the lawsuit because of the relationship he was trying to build with Camille but he didn't.

Ms. Ingram did an excellent job of portraying true human emotions in a way that I could feel them in my heart. I have not lost my husband but I did lose an adult son to suicide and my emotions were raw just like Camille's. I forced myself to get back to work just like she did. I didn't last a year though. I didn't have a place to escape to but having the right people around me like Camille finally did is what was needed to get our hearts and heads in the right space. In reality, that is an ongoing condition, no matter how many years have passed.

Camille and her mother had a difficult relationship. I am glad the author let their relationship develop realistically and did not try for a quick fix. That trying relationship made Camille's relationship with Willa stronger.  I was really drawn into this story by the multigenerational connections. The expectations and the dramatic tensions that played out really pulled at my heart.

The River Runs South is a moving, passionate story of love, loss, grief, healing, and moving forward. The characters were genuine and realistic. For me, Willa was the star, “and a child shall lead them”. I highly recommend this story. Audrey Ingram is an author to watch.

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Camille Taylor has it all - - a successful job as a partner in a law firm, a beautiful daughter and loving husband. What more could she want? Then one day everything is uprooted when Ben suddenly dies and leaves Camille devastated and unsure how to move forward.

Several months later, Camille still hasn't found a way to balance work and her daughter. And her grief is still almost paralyzing. So, she takes a leave of absence at the insistence of her firm and heads to stay with her parents in Alabama to try and pull herself together. She hates going back because it feels like she's a failure. What she doesn't realize is it might be just what she and her daughter need. But things aren't exactly what she was expecting in Alabama either when she finds out her father is being sued.

Camille finds her roots and remembers who she was before she left. Even better, she realizes who she wants to be going forward.

This book was such a wonderful read. My heart broke for Camille when Ben died. It was truly a horrible thing for a young thirty-five year old woman and mother to go through and you just want her to find a way to move through it. Even though Camille will always miss Ben, she works through her grief and comes out the other side even stronger. This was a strong women's fiction entry and I'd highly recommend it.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The audio was narrated so well. I was completely engrossed in the storyline and felt like the southern inflections were done well lending to the credence of the book. 4 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for early copies of both the ebook and audiobook. I voluntarily chose to read and listen to them both and review them. The opinions contained within are my own.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

The River Runs South was a well-written narrative with excellent characters, a compelling premise, and a satisfying conclusion: 10/10 would recommend! ⭐️

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