Go as a River (Hardcover)
March 2023 Indie Next List
“Fast paced and descriptive, the words never felt wasted. Set in the harsh reality of 1940s life, a teenage girl’s forbidden love stirs a small Colorado town where loss, prejudice, and rage prevail. As beautiful as it is devastating.”
— Paula Frank, Balin Books, Nashua, NH
Set amid Colorado's wild beauty, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story of a resilient young woman whose life is changed forever by one chance encounter. A tragic and uplifting novel of love and loss, family and survival--and hope--for readers of Great Circle, The Four Winds, and Where the Crawdads Sing
"Shelley Read's lyrical voice is a force of nature.... Completely unforgettable." --Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry
"A splendid American Gothic tale of a young woman broken by circumstances who must find a way to forgive before she can love."--Adriana Trigiani, author of The Good Left Undone
Seventeen-year-old Victoria Nash runs the household on her family's peach farm in the small ranch town of Iola, Colorado--the sole surviving female in a family of troubled men. Wilson Moon is a young drifter with a mysterious past, displaced from his tribal land and determined to live as he chooses.
Victoria encounters Wil by chance on a street corner, a meeting that profoundly alters both of their young lives, unknowingly igniting as much passion as danger. When tragedy strikes, Victoria leaves the only life she has ever known. She flees into the surrounding mountains where she struggles to survive in the wilderness with no clear notion of what her future will bring. As the seasons change, she also charts the changes in herself, finding in the beautiful but harsh landscape the meaning and strength to move forward and rebuild all that she has lost, even as the Gunnison River threatens to submerge her homeland--its ranches, farms, and the beloved peach orchard that has been in her family for generations.
Inspired by true events surrounding the destruction of the town of Iola in the 1960s, Go as a River is a story of deeply held love in the face of hardship and loss, but also of finding courage, resilience, friendship, and, finally, home--where least expected. This stunning debut explores what it means to lead your life as if it were a river--gathering and flowing, finding a way forward even when a river is dammed.
About the Author
Shelley Read is a fifth generation Coloradoan who lives with her family in the Elk Mountains of the Western Slope. She was a Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University for nearly three decades, where she taught writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honors, and was a founder of the Environment & Sustainability major and a support program for first-generation and at-risk students. Shelley holds degrees in writing and literary studies from the University of Denver and Temple University's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She is a regular contributor to Crested Butte Magazine and Gunnison Valley Journal, and has written for the Denver Post and a variety of publications.