Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Three Rivers Rising
Synopsis from author Jame Richard's website:
Sixteen-year-old Celestia 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 hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret, and when companionship turns to romance, it’s 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.
In a nutshell:
This book unites two things I love: verse novels and history. I think it's great when I can enjoy a story and learn about something that actually happened at the same time.
Three Rivers Rising was well-written and kept me turning pages, in true verse-novel fashion.
I appreciated the different points of view. While the main characters have a happy ending (so happy that my only criticism may be that it's *too happy*, if *too happy* is possible) after horrible obstacles, the minor characters face some interesting twists of fate. Even the endings that seem happy on the surface didn't always turn out for the best. I think I related the most with one of the minor characters, and as a result spent a lot of time crying around her bits of the story.
Overall, this was a novel with strong characters who acted heroically. Ironically, it's a story about a flood that washed away many people's lives, and about a girl and boy who fight to swim against their own cultural tide, even as the flood overwhelms them.
Great book. I recommend it.