Rails to a River....
I enjoyed this book immensely. I had the kindle version and it seemed at one point a page had been left out or maybe it was just that I missed it. But the novel was excellent, the characters well developed, and the plot kept me in suspense always seeming to move in a unexpected direction. Even the ending, and I like happy endings, was satisfying — realistic, but not how I would have liked it to end. This author weaves a tale that you keep coming back to. —Galand Fox Nuchols
There are great storytellers and literary storytellers across this land. Jim Ainsworth is both. In Rails to a River, as in his other novels, Jim is a sculptor who carves the right words from our language and strings them together with the beauty of a poet and the sudden impact of a pistol shot.
Just read a brief passage, and you will understand immediately what I am talking about: “But not even Father Bob can explain why Tee was spared, why it seems as if he has been plucked by some malevolent force from a life he understood and loved and set down into a suit and tie existence in, a world college professors called a corporate culture. The old priest could not explain why two events, sixty-seven days apart, five hundred miles apart, shattered Tee’s hopes, rudely maneuvered his life down a road he did not with to travel toward a place he does not want to be.”
Jim Ainsworth understands the storms that threaten to destroy men like Tee Jessup, that leave Tee adrift in a world that views him as a man who doesn’t belong. A single moment of time has changed his life forever. He probably should not have survived the accident at a remote railroad crossing. He probably should not have awakened from the coma. It might have been better if he hadn’t. All that he loved has been stolen from him
He had always been at home in the wide-open spaces of a West Texas ranch. His home is gone. He drives away from the ranch. He heads to the city. He heads to the great unknown. He is a man most miserable, a stranger in a strange place. He works. He fails. His wife leaves him. She takes his son. He assumes it’s because he has become a failure. Her reasons are far more sinister. But what are they?
Tee faces a journey he does not want to take and searches for those stolen moments of his life that he may never find. It is a journey that the reader takes right along step-by-step with Tee Jessup as he travels a long, winding, and unfamiliar road. When Tee is lost, we are lost. When Tee hurts, we feel his pain. Tee Jessup is no longer a stranger. He’s a friend. He’s family. Jim Ainsworth has the rare ability to make sure of it. Jim writes about the West, but Rails to a River is not a Western. Tee is entangled with the mysteries that surround his life, but Rails to a River is not a mystery. Tee searches for the love he has lost — the love of the woman and his love for the land — but Rails to the River is not a romance. It’s life.
If you want to read a literary work of fiction with a great story that has a lot of heart, read Jim Ainsworth. It’s life as only one man has lived it, life as only Jim Ainsworth can write it. —Caleb Pirtle
Rails to a River is my first Jim Ainsworth novel, and it has been a true pleasure. I can’t compare it to any of his others, but I enjoyed the contemporary setting for an age-old sorrow where necessity drags a man away from his dreams. While some might call Tee Jessup shiftless because of his constant moving from one empty job to another, he is actually a man honoring what is true within him but at a cost. The story keeps you riveted because of the unexpected twists of characters and plot, but this masterful writer keeps all the ends tied so the reader doesn’t trip over any of them. I haven’t read many books of late where I couldn’t wait to get back to my Kindle, but this was one. Ainsworth’s passion for his Texas home, its cowboy history and the very land under his feet keeps his descriptions fresh and his story real. — Christina Carson
Jim Ainsworth does it again. He has departed from his family based River’s series into a modern western novel. This one has it all. The protagonist is likable, yet flawed. The complexity of the character is masterfully done. The secondary characters are well developed and active participants in the story, not just props on the stage. The plot is intriguing and moves at a nice pace. I felt as if I knew Tee Jessup like a long time friend. The plot builds steadily progressing to an unforeseen climax. There are twists and turns galore and certainly enough to maintain the interest of the most discriminating reader. This is an excellent, well-written easy to ready and easy to enjoy novel. Highly recommended. — George Aubrey
One of Jim’s finest. Tightly written. I thought his books couldn’t get any better than the Rivers Trilogy or the ones that came later. I hope to read more of Tee Jessup’s life and to fine out what part of the story just might be part of Mr. Ainsworth’s life story. I love the way he intermingles truth with fiction. The book stays with you a long time after you read the last word. Some of this book is spiritual in the way things happen. I was left wondering if certain things could have happened the way it was written. If you aren’t an Ainsworth fan yet, read one book and you will be. This is a good one to start with. — Charlotte Hilliard
Rails to a River is the fifth book that I’ve read by Jim Ainsworth. It was an amazing read! I literally had to put the book down after the first two chapters and just digest what I had read. I think and I read in a very visual way. Jim’s development of characters, descriptions of the scenes, and stitching together of the plot let the book flow through my mind so smoothly it was like watching a movie on the big screen. I truly look forward to getting “a’holt” of another one of Jim’s books. —Ken Ryan
Once again Jim Ainsworth has written a novel worthy of highest acclaim. His characters come to life and leave the reader feeling as if you’ve known them always. From the beginning, I couldn’t put the book down because I was drawn in to the web of intrigue surrounding Tee Jessup. Tee is such a well developed character, very likable, and extremely believable. This is another winner from an amazing author. — Mary J. Miller
Ainsworth has written an intriguing story which cannot be predicted from one page to the next. The turns and twists are marvelously woven together to make the story live. I loved it. The only reason I did not give it five stars was I thought the protagonist rose to the top of his profession too quickly. Advancement in his chosen field comes more slowly than it was presented. Don’t let that opinion keep you from reading this great story. It is well worth your time. — Richard Hollingsworth