Go As A River is a story of feminine strength, resilience, and ultimately triumph.

The story centres around Victoria Nash, a young woman in a small farming community who falls in love with a stranger. The drifter is the wrong type of person for this small town and is shunned by the community. But he shows Victoria how to see the world differently and how to truly appreciate the ebb and flow of nature.

When the stranger mysteriously disappears, Victoria’s life takes an unexpected turn, and she is left to raise her child alone.

While I appreciated the themes of redemption, hope, and love of the land, and its emphasis on feminine strength and resilience, unfortunately this novel seemed to have too many plot lines lumped into one story. The pace felt cramped and some plot lines felt underdeveloped. The plot lines I identified, included:

  • A stranger comes to town and is the victim of racial violence;
  • A woman searching for peace on her peach orchard;
  • Motherhood and loss;
  • Women constrained by societal expectations of domesticity; and
  • The drowning of a town.

In my view, the novel could have been better structured to explore these themes in a less frenetic way, and I appreciate that many other readers may find this a perfect weekend read.

But the writing was smooth and lyrical in many places, and I enjoyed the wisdom of the stranger’s perspective.

While I felt this book wasn’t served well by its structure, I believe parts of it could be adapted for screen and it has the potential to be made into a sensitive and heartfelt film.

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

For fans of WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, GREAT CIRCLE: lush, immersive, soaring tale of a young woman’s journey to becoming, of love and loss, home and resilience, and finding those where least expected, and a breathtaking exploration of our connection to nature

‘Shelley Read’s lyrical voice is a force of nature and when she lends it to a woman leading a hardscrabble life in rural Colorado, the result is tragic, uplifting and completely unforgettable’ BONNIE GARMUS, author of LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY

‘A compelling tale of love and a heroine fighting back’ PATRICK GALE

On a cool autumn day in 1948, Victoria Nash delivers late-season peaches from her family’s farm set amid the wild beauty of Colorado, then heads into the village. As she nears an intersection, a dishevelled stranger stops to ask her the way. How she chooses to answer will unknowingly alter the course of both their young lives.

So begins the mesmerising story of split-second choices and courageous acts that propel Victoria away from the only home she has ever known and towards a reckoning with loss, hope and her own untapped strength.

Gathering all the pieces of her small and extraordinary existence, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, she will arrive at a single rocky decision that will change her life for ever.

GO AS A RIVER is a heart-wrenching coming-of-age story and a drama of enthralling power. Combining unforgettable characters and a breathtaking natural setting, it is a sweeping story of survival and becoming, of the deepest mysteries of love, truth and fate.

‘A lush, beautiful, strong book. It took me on such a transformative life journey. I could not put it down’ CLOVER STROUD

‘Completely spellbinding, vivid, and luminous’ JANE GREEN

Go As a River delivers so very much: the tenderness and curiosity of young love, the eternal pangs of loss, the brutality of racism, the sustaining power of nature and the miracle of a mother’s love. Suffused with wisdom and compassion, this shattering testimony to life must be savored, treasured, shared’ MEG WAITE CLAYTON, author of The Postmistress of Paris

Many thanks to Penguin-Random House for sending me a copy to review.