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Three Rivers Rising

Cover of Three Rivers Rising

Three Rivers Rising

A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
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Sixteen-Year-Old Celstia spends every summer 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 society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel's hired boy. It's a friendship she must keep secret, 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 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance--and a tragic event in U. S. history.

From the Hardcover edition.

Sixteen-Year-Old Celstia spends every summer 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 society crowd, Celestia prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel's hired boy. It's a friendship she must keep secret, 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 20 million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below. The town where Peter lives with his father. The town where Celestia has just arrived to join him. This searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance--and a tragic event in U. S. history.

From the Hardcover edition.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.9
  • Lexile:
    780
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Reading Level:
    3 - 4

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Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    South Fork Fishing and Hunting ClubLake Conemaugh

    Celestia

    Father says he comes for the fishing,
    but in truth he comes to keep an eye
    on other businessmen.
    I have never seen him hook
    a worm or tie a fly.
    I cannot imagine him gutting a fish
    or scraping scales.
    The only scales he knows
    are for banking and shipping.
    But his partners and rivals decided
    it was time for fresh air,
    exercise,
    peace and quiet,
    away from the filth and crowds of the city.
    So, even at this pastoral lakeside resort,
    my father will not miss
    the glimmer of a business deal
    spoken over rifles or fishing reels.

    Mother likes the sociability of the other ladies
    though they cut her with their tongues.
    She does not always follow their jokes
    but laughs along.
    The gentlemen come to hunt animals;
    the ladies come to hunt other ladies
    of a weaker sort.

    Estrella shines--
    glossy dark eyelashes
    and smooth pink cheeks.
    My parents' favorite,
    and, at nineteen, my senior by three years.
    She starts each day in a steamer chair
    with plaid blankets and a book.
    She plays the part of the lovesick sweetheart--
    her beau, Charles, learns the family business
    back home in Pittsburgh--
    but her natural buoyancy is not long repressed.
    Fun always knows where to find her.
    Just now, an errant croquet ball rolls under her chair.
    She laughs and runs to the game,
    the dappled sunlight,
    and the jovial golden boys.
    Handsome Frederick
    meets her halfway,
    extending his arm.
    Frederick with his shock of blond hair,
    broad shoulders,
    and skin glowing with health . . .
    Poor old Charles
    with his consumptive cough
    better arrive soon
    if he wants to find his intended still betrothed.
    He cannot compete with the gaiety
    and romance of our sparkling little lake in the mountains.

    Now about me--
    if I am not the fun-loving beauty,
    then I must be the serious one,
    the one who would toss the croquet ball back,
    wave and sigh,
    but be infinitely more fascinated
    with my book
    than with the superficial cheer
    of the society crowd.
    The one who gets the joke
    but does not tolerate it.
    The one who baits the hook
    and guts the fish
    with Peter,
    the hired boy.

    Peter

    Papa says, "It's unnatural--
    lakes weren't meant to be
    so high in the mountains,
    up over all our heads.
    Rich folks think
    they know better than God
    where a lake oughta be."

    He's talking about South Fork Reservoir,
    miles of icy creek water
    held in place above our valley
    by a seventy-foot earthen dam.

    The owners call it Lake Conemaugh.
    They raised it up from a puddle,
    built fancy-trim houses all in a row
    and a big clubhouse on the shore,
    stocked it with fish,
    and now they bring their families in from Pittsburgh
    every summer season.
    Most of them stay in the clubhouse,
    like an oversized hotel
    with wide hallways,
    a huge dining room,
    and a long front porch
    across the whole thing.
    Dozens of windows, too,
    so every room has a view
    of the reservoir--
    I mean, the lake.

    Papa says, "They can't stack up enough money
    against all that water."

    "Oh, Papa." I wave off the idea.
    Everybody in Johnstown
    kids each other about the dam breaking.
    We laugh because it always holds.
    Papa says we're laughing off our fear.
    Folks think he's something of a crank
    for always bringing it up.

    I don't say anything more--
    at least until I can think how to...

About the Author-
  • Jame Richards lives in Monroe, Connecticut. This is her first novel.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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