Johnstown is a quiet, unassuming home for many. During the summer, the residents travel a short distance to the country club to work and earn money. The rich folk spend their summers at the club swimming and relaxing. All seems well for this small area.
In the back of everyone's mind, however, is the dam. Rich men created the dam in order to build a man-made lake. After a heavy rain, news spreads that the dam is breaking, which threatens to wash out Johnstown and all of the outlying cities. Will new and old loves alike be torn apart? Can the residents survive this terrible flood?
If history makes you cringe, have no worries. THREE RIVERS RISING is light on the facts, instead focusing on the storytelling and prose. The main characters are Peter, a poor worker, and Celestia, a rich girl staying at the club. Their romance is forbidden, but they can't stay away from each other. After a dramatic turn of events involving Celestia's sister, their love becomes even more risky. The two struggle to be together, but obstacles abound.
Though written in prose, I found the characters easy to connect with. You couldn't help but hope that each and every character ended up being okay. While the flood is a major part of this book, there is more to it than that. The first half or so is composed of love stories and the struggles that each couple faces. I enjoyed the novel for both of its parts. The combination of prose and historical fiction was very interesting, and I look forward to seeing more from Richards.
I recommend this book to lovers of poetry, romance, or historical fiction. The novel is touching and sincere. Told in alternating perspectives, THREE RIVERS RISING is about so much more than a flood. It's about love, loss, and forgiveness.
Reviewed by: McKenzie Tritt