It's Sunday instead of Friday, but here is this week's book review reposted from Sacramento Book Review. More reviews in every genre can be read at Sacramento Book Review and San Francisco Book Review. (Go take a peek.) Meanwhile, we are in Spain now, and I will be posting more about our visit in a couple of days. (Stay tuned.)
Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
By Jame Richards
Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 293 pages
In this compelling novel, three stories come together, like the three rivers of the title.
Celestia summers with her family at Lake Conemaugh, a reservoir created by the South Fork Dam. She and Peter, a resort worker, fall in love. Her father forbids the relationship. But, Celestia is determined to live her own life. When the dam breaks and floods Johnstown below, she and Peter manage to save each other, surviving disease and a near drowning.
Maura, a young mother with three children, lives on the banks of Little Conemaugh River. She is married to a train conductor. As the waters rush toward East Conemaugh and the towns below, her husband blows his train’s whistle long enough to warn others and save lives.
Kate’s fiancé died in a river accident years before. She has become a nurse, dedicated to caring for others. A nursing job brings her to East Conemaugh in time to help those fleeing the river torrents – including Kate and Peter, Maura and her family, and survivors of Johnstown where the flood wreaks the worst damage.
The lyrical language of this novel written in verse sweeps one into the story and doesn’t let go.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan