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River Aria (Rivers Book 3) by [Joan Schweighardt]

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River Aria (Rivers Book 3) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 ratings
Book 3 of 3: Rivers

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Editorial Reviews


"New York City and the fecund Amazon come alive in Schweighardt's rich tale of two young Brazilian immigrants arriving in late 1920's America to pursue their dreams."
--Damian McNicholl, author of  The Moment of Truth and A Son Called Gabriel
"Schweighardt brings to life an exquisitely-detailed personal yet universal tale of the struggles of mixed-race immigrants to the United States, post-WWI. JoJo and Estela bear witness to prohibition, the beginnings of the Great Depression, and the near-destruction of Estela's white father, a man who years before survived the most brutal of losses. At once devastating yet full of redemption, River Aria stands on its own, and is as much a telling of our times as it is a study of an earlier era in world history. Evocative, heartrending, and not to be missed." 
--Paula Coomer, author of Jagged Edge of the Sky and Somebody Should Have Scolded the Girl "River Aria is an exquisitely written conclusion to the Rivers trio. Schweighardt creates rich layers of meaning through the three books, across settings that are sometimes sumptuous and sometimes desolate, but always rich in psychology, history, drama, theatre, and a very subtle political thread that hints at the power of compassion. It is certainly possible to read River Aria on its own, and Estela and Jo Jo make for engaging protagonists whose stories unfold with the grace of one of the operas Estela learns to sing. Taken collectively, however, the Rivers trilogy forms a grand epic that is irresistible."--Magdalena Ball,

Product details

  • ASIN : B08KH8DTS3
  • Publisher : Five Directions Press (September 30, 2020)
  • Publication date : September 30, 2020
  • Language : English
  • File size : 2843 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 282 pages
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    5.0 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on November 27, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2020
Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly striking read!
By ScarlettReadzandRunz on January 8, 2021
River Aria by Joan Schweighardt is an exceptionally beautiful historical fiction novel. It concludes the River's Trilogy of the previous books Before We Died and The Gifts for the Dead, equally amazing predecessors in their own right. While each of these novels differ in their main themes, they are connected by characters within the same family. Whereas the first novel tells the story of Irish immigrant Brothers, Jack and Baxter Hopper of NJ, and their endeavors to strike it big in the rubber trade industry on the Amazon river, the second novel captivates readers with the after-effects of their adventures and some misfortunes and consequences. This third novel picks up in the impoverished parts of the Amazon told from the perspectives of young Estela, the daughter of Jack Hopper and her cousin Jojo, both gifted young adults, raised closely by the strong woman in their community and extended family.

A well-known musician with connections to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York has taken time to give Estela singing lessons and believes in her talents. Brave and determined, she is to embark with Jojo on the long journey to New York and take a position at the Metropolitan Opera as a seamstress while Jojo is hoping to study art in the city. They both know, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them.

At the cusp of their journey, Estela was entrusted with a secret about Jojo by his mother and it will change their journey profoundly. Upon arriving on Ellis Island, the two of them split ways - Estella is going to NJ to her father's house and Jojo is heading into NYC.

At this point, the foundation of the two main characters has been laid and from here on out we get to experience a richer, closer look at their complex struggles and motivations with the story unfolding. Estella is an enduring character and bravely starts as a seamstress all the while suppressing her need to sing. Days in and out, she works behind the curtains to make artists shine on stage. Torn between staying at her father's home in NJ, across the river and the little boarding house in the city, her journey and experiences are humbling and vivid.

When Estela finally meets Jojo again in the city, things become very interesting. His path began seemingly easy in comparison to Estela's and in the shadows of his artistry, he is sponsored by the bootlegging trade during the prohibition. Not only does he do shady jobs, but he is also making use of his skills on the river, trafficking booze.

Estela becomes entangled in his world and troubles. In the meantime, things at her father's home fall apart and she is torn in three directions. When a break comes her way, it is almost too good to be true and the ending of this novel shifts everything around to commence profoundly beautiful albeit not without hurt.

My experience reading this novel was that it went straight to the heart. As a former dancer, a history fan, and an avid reader, I was engrossed and touched by the artistic addition in this trilogy, the characters, as well as the time period captured. There haven't been a lot of character-driven books I read set during the prohibition, not to mention in the back alleys of NYC in the 1920' and it was fascinatingly tangible. I remember loving the series Boardwalk Empire a few years back, and this novel just reminded me of that.

I do love a balance of good and bad characters or situations. Though Estela was always good in this novel, her path was tough and uphill. Jojo just did what he had to do to make anything happen and fell in the wrong hands. However, I did like him a lot and his relationship with Estela. There was a gent in him, even though his heritage and upbringing was on the Amazon, he embodied at times the classic manners we see in old movies of the upper class in the 1920s. A role he played very well and fed to his true nature, I believe.

This trilogy is really fascinating. Two Irish immigrants started it all when they went on the fateful journey of rubber tapping on the Amazon. This alone is such a unique premise and part of history, many have never even heard about. Reading about the tycoons in the rubber industry and the Lipton Tea Company, learning about the doc work in NJ at the harbors, and diving into the complexity of immigration and later emancipation of women in book 2, this trilogy is a treasure trove for historical fiction lovers. Each of these novels is uniquely striking and I loved this third novel especially. Lot's of struggle, love, friendship, and a mix of misfortunes as well as good deeds.

The writing in this novel was incredible. Flawless. Among the best. I feel indebted to authors when they can do such magical things with words that touch and stir my emotions. It is the reason I read. So, for that, thank you Joan Schweighardt.

Fellow readers, if you find yourself with a bit of room in your tbr, perhaps give this a try. This trilogy is amazing.

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Top reviews from other countries

Gabrielle Author
5.0 out of 5 stars River Aria sings
Reviewed in Germany on November 21, 2020
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