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Check It Out: Go as a River: A Novel by Shelley Read

This is Leah Erdmann with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I’m recommending Go as a River by Shelley Read: a beautifully written, atmospheric novel about the power of human connection and the choices that we make.

It is the late 1940s in rural Colorado, and, after the death of her mother, Victoria Nash has inherited all her responsibilities as the only woman left on the peach farm run by her family for generations. From the age of 12, she caters to every domestic need of the men of the house: her emotionally distant father, her uncle, a disabled war veteran, and her brother, Seth, whose erratic temperament and penchant for cruelty has always made the Nashes uneasy.

From years of watching her mother remain silent, subdued, and unfaltering in the midst of flaring tempers and unrest, Victoria had learned that a woman’s role was to do what was expected of her without protest, be the pillar of strength each situation required her to be, and not to make waves– Seth made enough for both of them. In this manner, the early years of Victoria’s life crept by, unchanging. Victoria was a background, supporting role in the lives of the male protagonists surrounding her.

That is, until one afternoon, when a chance encounter with a young man passing through town changes the trajectory of Victoria’s life, and, eventually, disproves everything she once believed about herself. As she navigates heartbreak, grief, motherhood, regret, and longing, the timid young girl readers met at the beginning of the novel gradually becomes unrecognizable to the heroine they're rallied behind as it closes.

This novel was one of my most memorable reads of 2023, and has rightfully topped many bestselling historical fiction lists.

Check out Go as a River and other great books at the Sioux City Public Library!

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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