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Go as a River Bets On...

Go as a River

March 2023

GO AS A RIVER by Shelley Read is set in a place that is very special to me --- the Gunnison Valley of Colorado. I have spent a lot of time there, and it’s where I met my husband, who, like me, hails from New Jersey.

In 1948, Torie is a lonely teenage girl caring for her father, uncle and brother following a car accident that killed her mother, favorite aunt and cousin. They live in the town of Iola. School already is behind her, though she normally would be of high school age. With her father and brother, she tends the family’s peach farm when she is not cooking and running the household. And yes, we can stop here for a second, as I never knew that peaches grew in Colorado. In an interview with Shelley, she said that she had not known about Georgia peaches!

The book opens with Torie having a brief conversation with a young man named Wilson Moon, who asks her for directions to a boarding house. She gives them, but at the same time she feels a flirting connection to him, something spontaneous that she has not experienced before. Her brother, father and uncle immediately dismiss him as indigenous, and they do not want him to be involved in any of their lives. But as a teenager is wont to do, Victoria, as she now calls herself, slips away to meet up with Wilson high in the mountains behind her home. Tragedy then ensues, and Victoria is left a very different person in its wake. I am not going to share more here as I do not want to give away too much of the story.

At the same time, Iola, as well as two neighboring towns, is slated to be submerged to allow for the creation of the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Victoria must make a decision about what to do with the family land and the peach trees. She begins to build a new life for herself while still haunted by some choices she made when she was in the mountains.

What I am sharing here is a very topline look at a book that I could talk about for hours. But I want you to discover the story for yourselves. Shelley is a fifth-generation Coloradan, and her storytelling reflects her love of the land and the great outdoors. This book would be great for a book group discussion.

Go as a River
by Shelley Read

  • Publication Date: February 28, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
  • ISBN-10: 1954118236
  • ISBN-13: 9781954118232