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Two Rivers

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  2,815 ratings  ·  422 reviews
Tammy Greenwood's haunting new novel is the beautifully evoked story of a good man who has done a terrible thing, the events leading up to it, and the demons born from it. It is at once a love story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and civil rights movement and an examination of the power of grief and the importance of forgiveness.
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,815 ratings  ·  422 reviews


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Jaline
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
Harper Montgomery harbors a terrible, tragic secret. He longs for love, for forgiveness, for someone – anyone – to give him permission to move on with his life and to find happiness. This novel is about his journey, the people who become part of his life, whether he finds what he’s looking for, and how it either happens or doesn’t happen for him and why.

The story unfolds in two parts. It moves between present time in the book (1980-81) and his past, particularly the year 1968. Even when he was a
...more
Crystal Craig
Beautiful -- everything about this book is beautiful. What first pulled me towards this book was the cover. It felt like a warm, summer day. It reminded me of sitting on the tail-gate of an old pickup truck just watching the summer grass blow in the wind. I read the back of the book and the plot was something I felt would be interesting. I’d never heard of the author, T. Greenwood, but, I gave it a try anyway.

The writing was amazing. The story jumps back and forth between the 1950's to 1980’s
...more
TL
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, T. Greenwood's style is lovely but in this one I kept gonig back and forth with. I was intrigued from the beginning, the prologue was promising and haunting... I was eager to see what would happens and how the guilt would affect his life.

The story itself was a good idea but lost it's way sometimes. The flashes between Harper's past and the present sometimes felt jarring and a few times I was reading one part before realizing it was a flash back to the past and not the present (then
...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
I had the honor of hearing T. Greenwood speak at the Flagstaff Book Festival this year, and her readings were phenomenal.

Her novel TWO RIVERS is told by male protagonist, Harper Montgomery, through alternating childhood and adulthood chapters. The majority of the story actually takes place in the past. It tackles some of the very difficult events woven into the fabric of America’s history: the Vietnam War, racism, women’s and civil rights. Ultimately, it is a love story with messages of
...more
Pamela Pickering
3.25 Stars. Gosh, another hard one to review. If you read the synopsis of the book it is somewhat misleading, it leads the reader to expect most of the book to be about the relationship between Harper and Maggie (the girl from the train wreck) but it's really not. The book lends most of its time to Harper's relationship with the love of his life, Betsy. Many times I sighed that "Here we go again" noise when reading this. It's stated in the book that Harper was living in the shadows of his ...more
Cathy
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
when I got my Kindle, I was pleased to find out that free books were offered for it .... then I got a look at the free books. I'm not really interested in evangelical Christian novels, romance, conspiracy-theory ranting, sexy vampires, or thriller series, so there was little that tempted me there.

Two Rivers is an exception (it was only free for about four hours, sadly). I downloaded it on the strength of the reviews already on the site and really enjoyed it. It's an atmospheric little novel that
...more
Alexandra
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is another one that my librarian recommended to me last week. And I have to say, I think this is my favorite of 2012 thus far.
I could not put it down, I was so engrossed in the story. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
It's hard to say why I loved it so much. Because thinking it over, it's actually a reallyreally sad story. The main character Harper is kind of one of those sad sack people that everything goes wrong for and nothing is ever easy. It all started when he
...more
M
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The word I would use to describe this book is juvenile. It's a slightly better Nicholas Sparks sort of tale of true love such as never exists in real life happening to/at a couple of sixth graders, ending in tragedy, leading to angst, then a sudden visitor turns it all around.
Aside from the simplistic tale, the telling of it is trite as well. Alternating between past and present every other chapter is rarely anything but a gimmick and does not do much except align story lines so that chapter
...more
Jeanette
This almost got a 2 star for my experience as reader here, but the writing ability (it is easy to read) and the human emotive quality made it just ok- 3 star.

This placement, order of the telling (way, way too circular surrounding a terrible train derailment and of course, Betsy) was loss of an entire star. It not only sunk the tension but put this entire plot/tale into rather a flat line to all the gushing over his life and soul mate love for his wife Betsy on top of it.

I read this because it
...more
JudiAnne
It is in the early 1980s Two Rivers, Vermont, that the story opens. Harper lives a simple life with his 12 year old daughter Shelly. He lost his wife to a violent crime shortly after his daughter was born and has never been the same since the horrendous tragedy. Nonetheless, he raises his daughter to his best ability but their lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired; for example, supper is given very little thought since it usually comes from a can. This is how they live, dreary day after day until ...more
Judy Collins
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner and page-turner by T. Greenwood! Once again, this talented author knows how to tell a powerful, and beautifully written heartwarming story! Looking forward to reading her remaining three books which I have not read (each is as good as the previous one).

Two Rivers is a bittersweet story of a man living in Two Rivers, Vermont, who is suffering daily from guilt after his role in a brutal crime which still haunts him daily. His sins of the past threatens to destroy his present, as
...more
Lesley
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story took a while for me to be invested into it but once I figured this all was happening for a reason, I kept reading and in the end--this is a powerful slow story of race, secrets, love, and what is family!
Becky
A solid 3.5 stars but I always round up with 1/2 stars....T. Greenwood has become one of my current favorite authors. She has a lovely writing style that makes even uncomfortable situations sound less so.

This particular story took me a little more time to get into than some of her other books, but I stuck with it & I am glad I did.

There are a few different time frames within this book- the 60's ( think civil rights, Vietnam War, etc) & also the early 80's. We meet Harper as a young boy
...more
Ana Mckee
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a man named Harper Montgomery who loses his love and the center of his world, his very being, in a matter of a few minutes. After Betsy's death, Harper is a broken man. He has been left with a baby daughter, that was born the night Betsy died,and the haunting memories a man with "skin the color of late summer blackberries" begging for his life. The story is set during the years of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam war. Few people are unaffected from the violence and ...more
Denise MacDonald
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Denise by: Crystal Craig
Shelves: favorites
This was a beautifully crafted story of love, loss, forgiveness and trying to move under very trying circumstances. It brought to the forefront how little we may really know about those people we call friends, family, enemies, or lovers. And how we may allow certain moments to define us and shape us. Small towns, rumors, secrets, mistakes, this novel had it all and mixed into that so many emotions- love, loss, revenge, fear, hopelessness. Most of all I think it was about how people will ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
Dec 30, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tattered Cover by: IndieNext list
This is a beautifully written novel with a complex tapestry of family, racism, sociology, cultural matters,love, hate, past and present. The story bounces effortlessly back and forth between the mid 1950's to 1980, building the story much like you would put together a jigsaw puzzle. It's fiction, but it certainly appealed to the mystery lover in me as those bits and pieces began to fit together. Ultimately it is about understanding and forgiveness, though on it's surface it seems to be about a ...more
Roxanne
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting story of love, race and discovery with a touch of redemption. I didn't think I would like it all that much, but I was sucked in from the first chapter. I did have a problem with a couple of things and some just seemed unbelievable.
Amy Hatvany
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A moving, lyrical portrait of redemption and the forgiveness to be found in the most unexpected places. I loved every word.
Rindi Trainer
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book set in Vermont, during the 1960s. Part of the story is about race relations during that time period, but the story is mostly about love and perseverance. I will definitely read this author again!
Matthew Williams
Jul 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had registered for a course in writing one's first novel by instructor T. Greenwood when I decided it might be a worthwhile endeavor to read one of her books before meeting her. I chose "Two Rivers" simply based on the jacket description of a man who encounters a young, pregnant victim of a derailed train in his fictional hometown of Two Rivers, Vermont, and takes her in. Nice inciting incident, and Greenwood did a fantastic job of weaving two stories from two different times together. Harper ...more
Jennifer
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my 4th book I've read by T. Greenwood, and I've loved them all. She is an outstanding writer and her stories are always captivating, real, and exciting. This one did not disappoint!

Harper is a single dad raising his daughter in the small Vermont town where he grew up and spent his whole childhood/life in love with his daughter's mom, Betsy. He has never gotten over losing Betsy and has been pretty much an empty shell of a man ever since. Add to that the fact that he did something
...more
Michael
Harper Montgomery works at a local railroad station and lives conservatively with his daughter, Shelly.

He's a sad man and still grieves his wife's death which happened twelve years ago.

One day, he's informed of a train derailment in Two Rivers, Vermont with people still trapped in the train. He runs to the river, gets into the water and crawls through a window into the train car but is unable to help anyone. Back on the shore he sees a young girl, with skin the color of blackberries. She's
...more
Karly
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a used book store. The insert sounded really good, especially the promise of a redemptive story with the arrival of Maggie. The book was at times hauntingly beautiful and lyrical, yet frustratingly repetitive. Sometimes, the plot itself was circular, especially the events happening in the main narrative/diegesis. The book itself largely takes place in the past, and rather follows Betsy's life than Harper's. Betsy, Betsy, Betsy, Betsy, Betsy - this got a little annoying and ...more
Roxanne
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well-written book with a story that transitions back and forth from past and present with each chapter change. I liked the male narrative of the book, but a few times, I felt more of a female nature coming through. (Didn't realize until later that the author is female.)

This story takes place in Two Rivers, Vermont. A very small town where Harper Montgomery is raising his daughter. I don't want to discuss the book in too much detail because the joy of reading this book is to just
...more
Carol
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written novel except for the occasional error in grammar (using the pronoun "I" as the object of the preposition as in, "... going with Betsy and I...") which drives me crazy. The story jumps between the past and present with each chapter change but does it so easily that the reader is eager to read each chapter.

It takes place in a small town, Two Rivers, Vermont, and starts with a train wreck. Harper Montgomery is raising his young daughter alone after the death of her
...more
Janice
Very readable, with some lovely descriptions and an intriguing angle that has to do with white liberals involved in the Civil Rights movement in the south the 1960s. Deftly crafted - alternating chapters give us protagonist Harper 1) as a boy and teen in the 60s, falling in love with Betsy, the girl across the street, and 2) as a 32-year-old man, 12 years after Betsy's death, raising their 12-year-old daughter but emotionally dead himself. There are also occasional dreamlike flashes of something ...more
Sarah J. Belcher
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, reviewed
I'm not entirely sure what it was about this book that made me bring it home from the library...it's just not the kind of description that would typically draw me in. But wow. Wow.

Two Rivers has quickly become a new favorite. The story is broken into chapters that alternate between telling the story of Harper growing up in love with his neighbor Betsy from an early age, one night that changed everything, and his current life, up to the point where they all come together.
I'm always a sucker for
...more
Lisa
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might be a book you would enjoy if tales of love are what you like. It follows the life and deep love between many characters; husbands and wives, parents to their children. If you fear that you would be reading fluff then you would be wrong. Two Rivers is rich in both imagery and symbolism. It is also a fictional telling of life during the tumultuous era of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War. I was most touched by the way the story made me appreciate the depths of sorrow turning ...more
Ann
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought I knew what was coming as I read the story of a New England man reviewing and re-evaluating his life and his relationships with his parents, his friends, the love of his life and his daughter. Then comes the day of the train wreck in town and a black girl from the South comes into his life and changes everything.
This book captured the essence of New England, coming of age in the early 70's and carrying on when all seems pretty hopeless. One can escape a rut with a little help from
...more
Michelle
I debated between a 3 star and a 4 star here...I think a 3.5 would really have been perfect. I enjoyed this book well enough, but it just seemed lacking in something. Nuance? Most of the characters seemed kind of cliche to me, and it was a bit overly...melodramatic. And I saw the "plot twist" coming almost immediately - not sure if that was a lucky guess on my part or a too obvious clue from the author. But when the big reveal came, my only thought was, "Duh."

I don't know. I wouldn't NOT
...more
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T. Greenwood is the author of thirteen novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won four San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. BODIES OF WATER was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award. Her ...more
“... I'm a half-empty kind of girl.” 12 likes
“Sometimes I felt like the mundane details of our lives were the only things tethering me to the world. I could hold onto them - distractions necessitating action. They gave me a sense of purpose. If not for the leaky faucet, the sandwiches, the bills, I might not know what to do with my hands.” 6 likes
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