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Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Fifty years after an earthen dam collapsed sending a thirty foot wall of raging destruction down on the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Pamela McRae looks back on the tragedy. The flood wiped out Pam's fondest hopes: her brother and her fiance were killed. Her mother is locked in catatonic hysteria. Her father, torn apart by the flood's affect on his family, just walks aw ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Fox Hollow Press (first published April 4th 2012)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  213 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Dec 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
It wasn't bad. Being from the area it was on my reading list. It would appeal to anyone who is from the flood city. Only three complaints/suggestions. The "present day" sections are from 1939, three years after the city's second major flood. If the writer says the 1889 flood was so devastating to the psyche of the area, - a mention could have been made of the 36 flood. Secondly. Johnstown flooded all the time. Ppl didnt leave the city because the officials cried wolf so many other times. The oth ...more
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Generally I don't like books that jump around in time. This one did that in every chapter but I didn't get annoyed by it until near the end of the book. I enjoyed the story but was disappointed with the way she brought the book to an end. It was almost like she got tired of writing so she decided to pull it all together and have a happy ending for all (except for Davy).
Alice  Wallace
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like Judith Redline Coopey’s books. They aren’t the best I’ve ever read, but are consistently enjoyable, have a storyline that isn’t automatically predictable, and keep me reading. Since I live in the area of PA that she writes about, it has also been interesting to learn a bit about the history of the area as well as to recognize landmarks, towns, etc. as they are mentioned. This particular book told the story of the aftermath of the Johnstown Flood and how it affected various people. From a ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the 50th anniversary of the Johnstown flood approaches, ex-reporter Pamela McRae looks back on the tragedy and how it impacted the town. It changed her life. She had anticipated getting married. Instead the flood took her brother, her fiance, destroyed her mother, and devastated her father.

When her "dead" fiance shows back up at the same time someone is vandalizing the properties of the Pittsburgh millionaires who owned the dam. Is it Davy?

Judith Redline Coopey, author of The Redfield Farm,
Shari Larsen
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction based on a true event, the devastating flood that destroyed Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889.

50 years years later, Pamela McRae is looking backing on the period of time 2 years after the flood; she is still living in an "Oklahoma house", (kind of an early model of manufactured housing, meant to be temporary shelters for those that lost their homes to the flood). She lost her brother and fiancee in the flood, and her father just walks away leaving Pam alone to cope with the pove
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
This was the second book by JRC (the first being Redfield Farm, about the Underground Railroad). I grew up in this area, but only recently looked into some of the history. My boyfriend & I went to the National Flood Museum last year. The flood of 1889 was devastating to the city of Johnstown, and it is easy to see how the country club members who built and neglected a faulty dam in a very precarious location would be blamed by the victims. It's really unimaginable to visualize what that was ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I happen to enjoy historical fiction and this book was history with an unexpected twist. What happened to the survivors of the famous Johnston PA flood?
I've read a couple of novels that touched on the flood itself, but this novel explored how people in the town dealt with the aftermath.

For the heroine, Pamela, she believed that dealing with past meant honoring the dead, and moving forward. Although she too, has lost family, she copes and tries to create a life for herself.

Other characters are an
Ruth Ann
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Pam, the main character in this historical novel, reminisces about the Johnstown Flood and the effects on her family and friends. Excellent character development and narrative written by a Pennsylvania history buff who grew up in nearby Altoona. For a companion read try David McCullough's book simply named The Johnstown Flood. Written in the late 1960's it is a powerful, unforgettable account of the historical events leading up to and immediately after the collapse of the earthen dam in 1889 in ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was given this book as a Christmas present from my husband's aunt. my husband is a native of Johnstown and I love learning about the history of the Great Flood of 1889. I enjoyed this book very much and was actually sad to have it end, it could have went on for another hundred pages. the only downfall I discovered was sometimes Ms. Coopey doesn't really differentiate between flashbacks and present time but it wasn't hard to figure out. I truly loved the rebuilding of Pam's life and how such a ...more
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I was attracted to this book because of the Pennsylvania history. Due to the flashback style of narration, initially I struggled to follow whether the story was in the past or present, but eventually I caught on. The author did an excellent job of developing the characters and capturing the diverse ways people deal with devastating trauma. Though set in the context of a very specific historical event, the character study certainly has universal applications. I did some soul-searching myself. Cer ...more
A Holland Reads
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a great historical fiction book and like the other three books I have recently read by this author she has done a great job with her research so you feel as if you are right there reliving the experience of the flood with Pamela. This book is full of drama, mystery and romance so there is something for everyone. The characters are very well developed and done so well that they feel as if they are real people. I have not read nor heard about this flood before so it has me even more intere ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Yes, I'm becoming a Judith Redline Coopey fan. Though this book is based on the historical facts of the Johnstown Flood, the plot goes beyond the facts and natural suffering to explore the emotional reactions to the tragedy and how people handled it. And she does it in a thoroughly interesting yet believable way.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This author knows how to tell a good story; I couldn't put it down. Suspenseful. If you're looking for a book that will tell you about the Johnstown Flood, however, this isn't the book for you. It's a good story, a drama, a romance, a mystery. But it doesn't really tell the story of the Johnstown Flood. And some of the details don't quite hang together.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel based on the 1889 Johnstown Flood. Growing up in that area I never really thought of the perspective that was portrayed by the author. It was a good read that kept my interest. It did bounce from past to present, but did so in a clean manner that made it easy to follow. I would recommend it, especially for the $2.99 Kindle price.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The aftermath of a tragedy

I had read a book about the Johnstown flood years ago, this carried the story further and let you feel the sorrow, the anger, and the hope of the surviving residents.
Very easy to become completely immersed in.
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. I would have given it five stars but for the fact it just seemed to end with no real closure. It was almost as though the author intended to right a sequel to the book and changed her mind. Other than that, I felt it was well written
Kathleen Wells
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, which is one of our book club books. A nice love story, with much more about the flood's aftermath than the actual flood itself. Makes me want to go on a field trip to Johnstown!
Emily Eitniear
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very good historical fiction! This was such a great story line, I felt almost as if it was an autobiography rather than a fictional story. Great character base and nice transitions from historical to present.
Gina Huffman
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Agreed with a lot of others. The book ended abruptly and I was willing to read more. It was well written and I was invested in the characters but when we got to the point of finding out how their lives went where they did, the book ended awkwardly. I was disappointed.
Wendy Long
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I enjoyed the true history woven into the story and I loved the characters. it left me wanting more.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Great book.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book from Judith Redline Coopey. I love her characters and her ability to draw you into the story
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting first person view of the historic Johnstown Flood, not the greatest writing I have read, but I was interestedin the topic so I liked it.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this historical novel. Protagonist may have been a little too perfect, though.
Karen Sexton
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best written book, but a story about an event that I have heard about my whole life, but didn't really understand much about.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it

I truly enjoyed this book and the way it was written.
Sheri Jeschke
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully engaging story about the Johnstown flood of 1889
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Feb 28, 2013
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Judith Redline Coopey, born in Altoona, PA holds degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University. A passion for history inherited from her father drives her writing and a love for Pennsylvania sustains it. Her first book, Redfield Farm was the story of the Underground Railroad in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The second, Waterproof, tells how the 1889 Johnstown Flood ne ...more