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Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Floodby Jame Richards
Synopses & Reviews
Sixteen-Year-Old Celstia spends every summer with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthen dam. Tired of the society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotels hired boy. Its a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, its a love that could get Celestia disowned. These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May, 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance—and a tragic event in U. S. history.
"Threads of romance and class run through this striking novel in verse, set against the 1889 Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania. Debut author Richards alternates among several teenagers and adults whose lives intersect before, during, and after the disaster. In the most prominent story line, 16-year-old Celestia ('if I am not the fun-loving beauty,/ then I must be the serious one') and her family enjoy peaceful summers at the Lake Conemaugh resort until her spirited older sister becomes pregnant and Celestia falls in love with a hired hand, enraging their parents. Maura's narrative focuses on her home life — she has three children by age 17 ('How can a house full of babies feel empty?') — and her determination as the flood hits. And Kate's story follows her arduous journey to become a nurse after the death of her first love, as well as her role in the rescue when typhoid breaks out. Richards builds strong characters with few words and artfully interweaves the lives of these independent thinkers. Celestia's taboo relationship feels dramatic and sweeping, while the various minute-by-minute accounts during the flood are painful and immediate. Ages 12 — up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Jame Richards lives in Monroe, Connecticut. This is her first novel.
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