The River: A Novel by Michael Neale is a good story with a heart-warming ending.
Gabriel Clark is traumatized as a child when he witnesses his father's death while trying to save someone drowning in the river. The river he had always loved was now his enemy and he is happy to move away to live with his mother. He grows up distant and timid, not quite fitting in. Even though he does have some close relationships, he is never totally able to trust and share with anyone.
Excellent writing and easy to read. For me, the best part about the writing was that Gabriel’s story came out gradually and in a realistic way. You don’t learn about a person in a few minutes. It takes time. Neale takes that time.
As an adult Gabriel goes on a camping trip and ends up back by the river. He feels the pull of the river even as he fears it. An opportunity is offered and he learns to love the river and forgive it. He realizes he was made for the river . . .