Book Review: January River by Bernard Jan #JanuaryRiver #BookReview #Fiction

January River 

by Bernard Jan

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My Review:

January River is truly a coming of age story about two brothers (Ethan and Will) along with their friends growing up in their rural town of Greenfield, Nebraska. The remainder of the story mainly encompasses Ethan’s life after he moves to New York and begins his life into adulthood.

Honestly, I’ve been yearning to read this book since I first discovered it on Goodreads. I fell in love with Bernard Jan’s two newer books and have been waiting for this one to be released in English.

I cannot spoil the events of this story in my review; it’s one that you simply have to read. January River is emotional, brought me to tears at times, and definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Bernard Jan’s writing always captivates me and he’s done it once again with a story that had me invested in the characters (mainly Ethan) until the final pages.

That winter of 1971, when January drew to an end and Greenfield already sank into a deep sleep under the cover of fresh snow, an incident happened that left a deep mark on the rest of Ethan’s childhood.

The relationships are beautiful, but don’t get me wrong, there is sadness and heartbreak, but the overall themes in this story are those that always pull me in. I personally loved the history and music references included in the story as well which fit with the time period and make the story feel realistic.

With that said, there were a few tiny niggles that I had: I wanted some events tied up in the end, particularly with one of the vengeful characters in the book, but it certainly didn’t take away from the story.

Those that appreciate animal companionship will enjoy this book, but there’s so much more to the story. Leave it to Bernard Jan to craft a story that’s going to stay with me for some time.

4.5 stars


Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Bernard Jan (April 20, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9535958151
  • ISBN-13: 978-9535958154

This book is free to read on Kindle Unlimited!


From Goodreads:

Five friends. One dog. One river carrying a secret.

When one of their friends goes missing, everything comes crashing down for the small group of childhood friends in the small town of Greenfield. Ethan takes it hard. Then he loses his dog, his only consolation.

Hoping to start anew, Ethan leaves Greenfield and moves to New York City. Far from the ghosts of his childhood and the river that gives and takes life. There he finds his one true love and builds a career as a bestselling author.

But how long will Ethan’s happiness last as doubts creep back into him and shatter his reality? And will his reconciliation with the past come at too great a price?

All rivers carry their secrets, but not every river keeps its secret forever.

In this heartwarming coming-of-age literary fiction with episodes of mystery and romance cross-genre story, Bernard Jan, the author of Look for Me Under the Rainbow and A World Without Color, speaks of true friendship, first darlings, and real loves. With gentle words he describes our connection with nature and love for our four-legged friends who quickly become honorable members of our families, but also tells about the dark secrets we carry in our hearts.


Thanks for reading my book review! Have you read any books by Bernard Jan?

If you have book recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

❤️ Mischenko

14 thoughts on “Book Review: January River by Bernard Jan #JanuaryRiver #BookReview #Fiction

    1. Thanks, James! I waited years for this one. I’ll be sure to look for your review. Glad you enjoyed it as well. Hope everything’s going well for you and that you’re staying safe over in your neck of the woods. ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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