I am a sucker for historical fiction. So when I read a few reviews about Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards, I knew I had to get my hands on it. This book is set during the Johnstown Flood of 1889, but keep in mind that it is a novel OF the Johnstown Flood, not a novel ABOUT the Johnstown Flood. This differentiation is what made it an enjoyable read. Well, that and the author’s ability to write in verse from the perspective of many different characters, making each one a distinct character.
Three character sets are brought together as they are all affected by the flood of the South Fork Dam. Each character set is introduced way before the flood occurs, which makes their stories and situations believable. We meet up with a young girl torn between her well-off-in-society family and her first love, a young mother of three whose husband has well surpassed her in years, and a nurse who has lost the love of her life and is trying to endure life one day at a time.
While it seems to be a difficult task to write believable and dynamic characters in a verse novel, Jame Richards has done it beautifully. She has given each person a distinct voice and a believable story line for that time period. A quick but intense read, Three Rivers Rising is not one to miss.
Three Rivers Rising
by Jame Richards
Published by Knopf 2010