Friday, February 11, 2011

Three Rivers Rising - Jame Richards

Three Rivers Rising
By: Jame Richards
Published: 2010
Audiobook Read by: multiple readers
My rating: AMAZING

In an effort to broaden my horizons, I took the plunge into verse novels with this one. I didn't go in blind though, my friend Valerie over at Something To Write About, reviewed this one and piqued my interest. Despite my aversion to poetry I decided to give it a try and let me tell you, I was blown away!

Celestia is a young lady of the upper class in the late 1800s. Her family vacations at the elite South Fork Fishing And Hunting Club, where her father enjoys a good round of sport with his fellow businessmen, and her mother gossips with the ladies. A quiet girl, Celestia spends much of her time by herself reading, seeking out the peaceful out of the way places to get away from the smothering atmosphere of the social elite.

When love finds her in one of these secluded spots, little does she know how drastically her life will change. It seems that her world begins to slowly crumble around her as first her sister, and then herself, fall from the good graces of their father. Unfortunately, those petty concerns pale in comparison to the tragedy that is poised to take place.

As the heavy rains continue, the lake rises until the poorly maintained South Fork Dam can no longer contain it. The raging flood takes no mercy on the towns and villages below, as it cuts a swath of destruction across the Pennsylvania countryside. As the full impact of the tragedy unfolds, each player in this tragic drama must re-examine themselves and their relationships to those around them.

Jame has integrated this fictional drama seamlessly into the true story of the Johnstown flood of 1889. Using historical figures for the basis of some of her characters and filling the rest in from her amazing imagination, she has crafted a story that is heartbreaking on one had and beautiful on the other. The tragedy of the Johnstown flood is brought to life through these verses in vivid color. I found tears in my eyes many times as I felt the heartache and agony of those many victims. I was also appalled at the image of social bias and the way families of class and distinction could act like inhumane savages.

I was leery of the fact that it was a verse novel but I very much enjoyed the rhythm of the verses. It didn't feel like poetry at all and by the end, I had pretty much lost myself in the story not even remembering that it was in verse form!

I listened to the audiobook read by Eileen Stevens, Joshua Swanson, Kevin Pariseau, Elizabeth Rodgers, Suzy Jackson and Joe Barrett. Their performance was beautiful and added another layer of life to this already vivid story.

Overall I was absolutely AMAZED by this book! I was left with a deep sorrow for the loss of life sustained in the Johnstown tragedy, but also held entranced by the fictional part of the story. Jame has created a masterpiece here and I strongly urge you to get this book and experience it for yourself!


  1. I have found through the years that a really good book is a wonderful thing! Well worth the read. You did a great job,with the review. Thanks for sharing. Blessings jane

  2. Thank you Jane! Very few books have really blown me away like this one did. You are so right, it is wonderful to find them!

  3. Oh I'm so very glad you enjoyed it!! :)

  4. I must try it. I don't read much verse, but this sounds good.

  5. I really don't think you'll be disappointed, Susan. The nice thing is, it will take you a lot less time than that George Washington biography! :)

  6. You are certainly readding and listening to many types of books. This one sounds interesting, but I'm still working on getting that cute cat book.

  7. Back when I was only reading a few books a year, I had to be very picky about finding ones I thought I would like. Now that I have started with the audiobooks and can go through so many, I have the luxury of being adventurous! It is so much fun discovering new authors, genres, and characters!

    Have fun with Jim and Koko!