Thayer Library 's Reviews > Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
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May 07, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction

On May 31, 1889 the South Fork Dam in Western Pennsylvania failed causing a torrent of water from Lake Conemaugh (4.8 billion gallons) to rush out in a huge rushing wave flooding the towns located below the dam, including the populated city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where there was a huge loss of life. It took only 40 minutes for the entire lake to empty, and the disaster captured national attention as rescuers worked together to provide support for the victims.

I didn't know very much about this famous disaster until I read Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood by Jame Richards. Three Rivers Rising tells the story of the flood from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Celstia who spends summers with her wealthy family at the resort at Lake Conemaugh.

When Celestia becomes tired of the rich people at the resort, she strikes up an unlikely and dangerous friendship with Peter, a boy from Johnstown who works in the hotel. When the friendship becomes something more, Celestia has to choose between her family and love. But there are rumors about the dam failing and Celestia finds herself in Johnstown on the day of the famous flood, caught up in the rush of water.

This book explores the time preceding the flood and provides a glimpse into moments of heroic bravery after the dam broke that helped save many lives.

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