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Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood Reviewed By Amy Lignor Of Bookpleasures.com
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Amy Lignor

Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles.  She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books.  She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben

 
By Amy Lignor
Published on April 22, 2010
 

Author: Jame Richards
ISBN:  978-0-375-85885-7

 There are times when all you want is to be able to do justice to a truly extraordinary book with your review.  This is one of those times.

 


Author: Jame Richards
ISBN:  978-0-375-85885-7

Click Here To Purchase Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood

There are times when all you want is to be able to do justice to a truly extraordinary book with your review.  This is one of those times.

This debut novel focuses on the Johnstown Flood of 1889 – when three rivers met and shattered a dam – releasing a deluge of water on unsuspecting townspeople.  Told in verse, we are, for the most part, taken through the story with Celestia as our guide.  Celestia is a young, aristocratic girl who comes from a “good” family.  Her father is heavy into the banking business (think, Carnegie; J.P. Morgan, etc.), and he has taken his family up to Lake Conemaugh (The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club) for the summer, which is the “in” place for all members of high society.  Celestia is a reader.  She wants nothing more than to excuse herself from the rules and regulations, flee from the captains of industry who simply want to sit around and pat themselves on the back for how brilliant they are, and find a small corner of the forest where she can sit quietly and read.

One day, as she’s sitting beside the lake reading peacefully, a young boy who works as a hired hand for the Club walks by her with his fishing pole in hand.  Soon, Celestia finds herself talking to Peter and spending all her time with the hardworking boy who has an ailing father in his home “down the mountain.”  His father is a coal miner, and the black lung is slowly taking his life.  Peter is a hopeless romantic; knowing that there’s no way possible that he and Celestia can remain together because of their different classes, he still has beautiful words and notions inside his head and heart – hoping that somehow the world will let them find a way.

Estrella is Celestia’s older sister.  Estrella is everyone’s favorite.  She is a good who is already betrothed to Charles, a young man who works for her father.  What no one seems to know, but Celestia, is that Estrella has eyes for a young tycoon who is staying at the Club for the summer…and her heart is all but given over to this man who hides his evil intentions behind his “high-society” smile.

We have other fantastic characters who offer us a look at the days before the flood that took thousands of lives from Pennsylvania so long ago.  We have Maura – a woman with three children who is barely seventeen.  Maura has made a happy home for her and her beloved husband, Joseph.  Joseph is a railroad engineer, and every time his train comes down the tracks – home to his wife – he offers a long whistle to let Maura know that everything is fine and he’ll be home soon.  Unfortunately, one day that whistle becomes a heart-slicing, death-defying screech that sends Maura and her children fleeing from their home and up the hillside – praying for the flood to spare her beloved Joseph.

We also have Kate.  Kate is a young woman who seems to be just going through the motions of life once her love leaves…Early.  Taking to the road, Kate decides to become a nurse – using the time she has left on earth to help other people and try not to think of the loss that encompasses her days.  Little does she know that she will become a hero and meet an icon who is remembered, to this very day, as the woman who helped the world.

The interwoven stories are absolutely fantastic.  The emotions of love, pain, fear, betrayal…everything is touched on in the pages of this book.  Not only will this appeal to teenagers – I believe all adults would enjoy this epic historical story.  I want to add that the sheer brilliance and hard work it took to write this entire book in verse made it especially humbling to read.  As everyone knows who reads my reviews, I have that shelf; and there is most assuredly a place for this book on “that” shelf of mine – for as far as I’m concerned, this debut novel is one of the ten best YA books of 2010.

 Click Here To Purchase Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood