Three Rivers Rising
A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
Publication Date: April 2011
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Sixteen-year-old Celestia vacations 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 superficial cheer and sly judgments of the society crowd, she much prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel s hired boy. It s a friendship she must keep secret her parents would never approve 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 twenty million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below the town where Peter lives with his father. Told by multiple narrators, Jame Richards s searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance, the random hand of disaster, and a tragic and indelible event in American history."