Two Rivers

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Overview

T. Greenwood's new novel is a powerful, haunting tale of enduring love, destructive secrets, and opportunities that arrive in disguise . . .

In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and ...

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Two Rivers

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Overview

T. Greenwood's new novel is a powerful, haunting tale of enduring love, destructive secrets, and opportunities that arrive in disguise . . .

In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.

Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn't long before he begins to suspect that Maggie's appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

"TWO RIVERS is a dark and lovely elegy, filled with heartbreak that turns itself into hope and forgiveness. I felt so moved by this luminous novel." —Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

"Two Rivers is a convergence of tales, a reminder that the past never washes away, and yet, in T. Greenwood's delicate handling of time gone and time to come, love and forgiveness wait on the other side of what life does to us and what we do to it. This novel is a sensitive and suspenseful portrayal of family and the ties that bind." —Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever and River of Heaven

"The premise of TWO RIVERS is alluring: the very morning a deadly train derailment upsets the balance of a sleepy Vermont town, a mysterious girl show up on Harper Montgomery's doorstep, forcing him to dredge up a lifetime of memories—from his blissful, indelible childhood to his lonely, contemporary existence. Most of all, he must look long and hard at that terrible night twelve years ago, when everything he held dear was taken from him, and he, in turn, took back. T. Greenwood's novel is full of love, betrayal, lost hopes, and a burning question: is it ever too late to find redemption?" - Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, author of The Effects of Light and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize-winning Set Me Free

"From the moment the train derails in the town of Two Rivers, I was hooked. Who is this mysterious young stranger named Maggie, and what is she running from? In Two Rivers, T. Greenwood weaves a haunting story in which the sins of the past threaten to destroy the fragile equilibrium of the present. Ripe with surprising twists and heart-breakingly real characters, Two Rivers is a remarkable and complex look at race and forgiveness in small-town America." —Michelle Richmond, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Year of Fog and No One You Know

"Two Rivers is a stark, haunting story of redemption and salvation. T. Greenwood portrays a world of beauty and peace that, once disturbed, reverberates with searing pain and inescapable consequences; this is a story of a man who struggles with the deepest, darkest parts of his soul, and is able to fight his way to the surface to breathe again. But also—maybe more so—it is the story of a man who learns the true meaning of family: When I am with you, I am home. A memorable, powerful work." —Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Praise for T. Greenwood's Novels

Undressing The Moon

"This beautiful story, eloquently told, demands attention. Highly recommended." -Library Journal (starred review)

"Greenwood has skillfully managed to create a novel with unforgettable characters, finely honed descriptions, and beautiful imagery." -Book Street USA

"A lyrical, delicately affecting tale." -Publishers Weekly

Nearer Than The Sky

"Greenwood is an assured guide through this strange territory; she has a lush, evocative style." -The New York Times Book Review

"Greenwood writes with grace and compassion about loyalty and betrayal, love and redemption in this totally absorbing novel about daughters and mothers." -Ursula Hegi, author of Stones from the River

"A complicated story of love and abuse told with a directness and intensity that packs a lightning charge." -Booklist

Breathing Water

"A vivid, somberly engaging first book." -Larry McMurtry, author of Lonesome Dove

"A poignant, clear-eyed first novel. . .filled with careful poetic description. . .the story woven skillfully." -The New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this evocative novel of redemption, Greenwood (Undressing the Moon) finds humanity and redemption in the life of a smalltown widower and his legacy of guilt. In 1980, 12 years after his involvement in the murder of a black man, railroad worker Harper Montgomery is still living under a cloud of guilt. Alternating between past and present, Harper's narrative reveals bit by bit the circumstances of the crime, as well as the long-devoted lover Harper was, and the caring father he's become. Harper's narrative makes a mystery of much: we know he participated in the murder, but not why. We know his wife died, but not how. Already struggling to raise his daughter, Shelly, further questions surround his decision to take in pregnant teen Maggie. As the past catches up the present, however, Harper's grave fears give way to unexpected and poignant developments. Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength, evoking smalltown life beautifully while spreading out the map of Harper's life, finding light in the darkest of stories. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Harper Montgomery, a young widower raising his daughter, Shelley, in the small Vermont town of Two Rivers in 1980, is still mourning the loss of his beloved wife, Betsy, in an accident 12 years before, when Shelley was just a baby. A train derailment leads Harper, who is a railroad worker, to rescuing a pregnant black teenager from the water. This sets in motion a complex tale of guilt, remorse, revenge, and forgiveness. Greenwood (Undressing the Moon; Nearer the Sky) holds our attention by alternating the train wreck in 1980 with flashbacks from 1968 that set the scene for the following events. For an author too young to remember the 1960s, Greenwood is convincing in her portrayal of that turbulent decade, from the civil rights marches to the Vietnam War protests. By the conclusion of this interesting novel, she has deftly tied up all the loose ends. Recommended for most public libraries.
—Leslie Patterson

Kirkus Reviews
Ghosts of his heartbreaking past visit a railroad worker in rural New England. A life marked by tragedy is the cornerstone of this Northern Gothic by Greenwood (Undressing the Moon, 2002, etc.). Narrator Harper Montgomery is a gloomy figure, beset by melancholy and struggling to raise his young daughter Shelly in a cracker-box apartment in the small town where he's lived most of his life. He's haunted, not only by the horrific wreck that killed his wife Betsy 12 years earlier, in 1968, but also by his involvement in a brutal crime referred to fleetingly in cryptic bridging segments. Harper's dismal life working at the freight office of the railroad station in Two Rivers, Vt., is interrupted by a terrible train crash. From the wreckage, Harper rescues a pregnant adolescent, "a girl with skin the color of blackberries," and takes her into his home against his better instincts. The terrified girl calls herself Marguerite Dufresne and claims to be fleeing to Canada after being raped in her Southern hometown. From this bleak starting point, Greenwood knits a densely woven sequence of events that finds Harper recounting his love affair with Betsy Parker throughout the '60s as well as the startling (and often implausible) misfortunes that befall their families, including the suicide of Betsy's mentally ill mother and a fire that devastates Harper's family. Along the way, he unravels the mystery of Marguerite's origins and begs forgiveness for the long-ago racial violation that spurred the suicide of one of Harper's childhood friends. Greenwood's novel features a satisfyingly complex romance and admirable storytelling momentum, but its fractured swing between passion and heartbreak make it atough read. By the time the syrupy finale rolls around, the woebegone plight of its pitiful narrator has grown tedious. Overwrought context obscures a sweetly told love story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758228772
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 261,206
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

T. Greenwood is the author of Breathing Water, Nearer Than the Sky, and Undressing the Moon, the latter two both Booksense 76 picks. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and, most recently, the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She lives with her husband and their two daughters in the D.C. area, where she is also an aspiring fine arts photographer.
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Read an Excerpt


Two Rivers


By T. Greenwood
KENSINGTON BOOKS
Copyright © 2009

T. Greenwood
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-0-7582-2877-2



Chapter One Two Rivers

There aren't really two rivers in Two Rivers, Vermont. There's the Connecticut, of course (single-minded with its rushing blue-gray water), but the other river is really just a wide and quiet creek. Where they intersect, now that's the real thing. Because the place where the creek meets the Connecticut, where the two strangely different moving bodies of water join, is the stillest place I've ever seen. And in that stillness, it almost seems possible that the creek could keep on going, minding its own business, that it might emerge on the other side and keep on traveling away from town. But nature doesn't work that way, doesn't allow for this kind of deviation. What must (and does) happen is that the small creek gets caught up in the big river's arms, convinced or coerced to join it on its more important journey.

The girl was shivering, her arms wrapped around her waist, her hands clutching her sides. Her teeth were chattering. They were small teeth in a tidy row, like a child's.

I peeled off my flannel shirt, which was the driest thing I had on me, and offered it to her. She accepted the shirt, awkwardly pulling it on. The sleeves hung over her hands; she almost disappeared inside it when she sat down.

"What's your name?" I asked softly. She was like a wounded animal, knees curled to her chest and trembling.

"Marguerite," she said, shaking her head.

"Your mother's dead?" I asked.

The girl looked down at her hands and nodded.

"Was she on the train?"

She kept looking at the ground.

"Where were you going?" I asked.

"Up north," she said.

"Canada?"

She looked up at me then, water beaded up and glistening on her eyelashes. She nodded. "Canada."

"Do you know somebody up there?"

She looked toward the woods, chattering. "I got an aunt," she said.

"Well, let's get back to my house and you can give her a call. Let her know you're okay," I offered. "It ain't like that," she said, shaking her head.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, she don't know I'm coming. My daddy ..." Her voice trailed off.

"Can we call him?"

"No!" she said loudly, shaking her head. And then she reached for my hand. "He sent me away. My mama's dead. I ain't got nobody."

"Okay, okay," I said, trying to sort everything out in my mind.

"We need to go to the station, let them know you're alive. Then they can get in touch with your aunt and we'll get you on the next train. And if she can't take you, we'll go to the police. They'll talk to your daddy. He's your father. He has obligations."

"No!" she cried again, squeezing my hand hard. "Please. Maybe I can just stay a little while. I can't go back there. I can't." Her eyes were wild and scared. One was the same color as river water, blue-gray and moving. The other was almost black. Determined. Like stone. "Let them think I drowned."

"You can't just pretend you're dead."

"Why not?" she asked, both of her eyes growing dark.

I flinched. "Two Rivers is a small town. People are going to wonder where you came from."

"Maybe I'm your cousin," she said, her eyes brightening. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. "Your cousin from Louisiana."

I raised my eyebrow. "I don't have any cousins from Louisiana."

"From Alabama then. I don't know. Mississippi," she persisted, clearly irritated.

"Listen," I said. "I'm not sure folks are going to buy the idea that you and I are family."

The girl looked square at me, studying my face, as if contemplating the possibility herself.

"I've got a little girl," I said. "I can't just bring a stranger into my house."

At the mention of Shelly, the girl reached out and grabbed my wrist, pressed my hand hard against her pregnant belly. When I pulled my hand back, she held onto my wrist, and she moved toward me. She was so close to my face I could smell the bubble gum smell of her breath. Her eyes were frantic, and she quickly pressed her lips against my forehead. It was such a tender gesture, it made me suck in my breath.

"I won't be any trouble. I promise," she said.

She looked at me again, and I willed myself to look into those disconcerting eyes. I concentrated on the blue one, the one the color of the river, waiting for her to speak. But she didn't say anything else; she simply took my hand and waited for me to take her home.

"You can stay for a little while, just until we get everything straightened out." And then, because she looked as if she might cry, "I promise, everything will be okay."

* * *

"Thank you," the girl whispered, though it could have just been the wind rushing in my ears. She was riding on the back of my bicycle as I pedaled away from the accident at the river, through the woods, and back toward town. She held on to my waist tightly, her heartbeat hard and steady against my back. I was careful to avoid anything that might jar her or send us tumbling. We didn't speak; the only sound was of bicycle tires crushing leaves. I worried about what would happen when I stopped pedaling, when the journey out of the woods inevitably ended, and so I concentrated on finding a clear and unobstructed path through the forest, taking great care to slow down when the terrain grew rough. Too quickly, the woods opened up to the high school parking lot.

I stopped. "If it's okay with you, I should probably leave you here and have you meet me at the apartment," I said. "Not the best idea for people to see us riding through town together."

She climbed carefully down from the seat. She set the small suitcase she had with her onto the pavement, straightened her skirt, and touched her wet hair self-consciously. When she took off my shirt and handed it to me, I thought for a moment that she was going to let me go. I imagined pedaling away as fast as I could. I imagined forgetting all about her, about the wreck, about the river. But instead, I stayed on the bicycle, unsure of what to do next. I gripped the handlebars tightly, ready to go, but immobilized.

The lot was full of cars but empty of students and teachers. We were bound to be discovered by some kid ditching class or sneaking a smoke.

"This a high school?" she asked, looking at the low brick building in front of us. At the football field in the distance.

"Yeah," I said. It was my high school, unchanged in all the years since I'd graduated. I knew every brick in this building's walls. Every vine of ivy clinging to them. I knew the smell of the cafeteria vent on a cold autumn afternoon, the sound of the bell announcing the beginning of the day.

"No one will think nothin' of it if they see me here then?" she asked.

I shook my head, though I wasn't sure what someone would make of this girl, this dark-skinned girl, dripping wet and pregnant in the high school parking lot. While it had its share of matriculated expectant mothers, Two Rivers High had seen all of two black students in the last two decades.

"Walk that way," I said, motioning toward the road that would wind behind the school and ultimately down into the village where I lived. "I live on Depot Street. Upstairs, above Sunset Lanes Bowling Alley. Number two. I'll be waiting. I'll make you some soup or something. Then we'll figure out what to do."

I stood up on the pedals and pushed off, looking over my shoulder at her briefly, and then rode away as fast as my tired legs would allow. I should have gone home. It wouldn't take her long to walk from the high school into the village. I knew the apartment was in no condition for company, and that the folks at work were probably wondering where I'd gone. But my bike seemed to have a will of its own, carrying me away from the high school, down the winding road toward town, and then onto the little dead-end street I hadn't visited in more than twelve years. As if Betsy would simply be waiting there, ready to help me figure out what to do next.

Betsy

The neighborhood in Two Rivers where Betsy and I grew up was made up of row after row of crooked Victorians-crumbling monstrosities sinking in upon themselves. Each house on Charles Street had its own peculiar tendencies. The one next-door to ours had a widow's walk whose railing had, unprovoked by either natural or unnatural disaster, collapsed into a pile of pick-up sticks on the lawn below one afternoon. The family who lived at the end of the street had the misfortune of owning a house that wouldn't stay painted. No matter what pastel color they chose each summer, by the following spring it would have shrugged off the pink or yellow or lavender, the paint peeling and curling like old skin. My own family's house was tilted at a noticeable angle; if you put a ball on the kitchen floor and let go, it would roll straight into the dining room (through the legs of the heavy wooden table), past my mother's study, and finally into the living room where the pile of my father's failed inventions inevitably stopped the ball's trajectory. Most of the homeowners in our neighborhood had at some point given up, resigning themselves to sinking foundations and roofs. To the inevitable decay. There simply wasn't the time or the money or the love required to keep the places up. This was a street of sad houses. Except for the Parkers' place.

Though it was one of the oldest homes in the neighborhood, the Parkers' house was meticulously maintained. Its paint was fresh: white with green shutters and trim. Its chimney was straight. The cupola sat like an elaborate cake decoration on top of the house. A clean white fence enclosed the front yard, which looked exactly as the town barber's yard should. Rosebushes bordered the uncracked walkway, and other flowers littered the periphery of the yard in meditated disarray. A swing hung still and straight on the front porch, and the porch light came on without fail or flicker each night at dusk. On a street of forlorn houses, the Parkers' made the other houses look like neglected children.

Of course, I knew Betsy Parker long before I loved her. We had lived on the same street since we were born. Our fathers nodded at each other as they went off to work each morning. Our mothers made polite small talk when they saw each other at the market. Betsy and I had knocked heads once during a game of street hockey, the result of which were two identical blue goose eggs on our respective foreheads. In the sixth grade, we had been the last two standing in a spelling bee (though I'd ultimately won with the word lucid). But in the summer of 1958, when we were twelve, our relationship changed from one necessitated by mere proximity into a full-blown crush-on my part anyway; she didn't love me then. In fact, she didn't love me for a long, long time. But that summer the seed was planted, and my unrequited passion, like all the other untamed weeds in our yard, grew to epic and tangled proportions by summer's end.

When school let out in June, I'd taken up fishing, drawn by a local legend that, on a good day, the spot where the two rivers meet was teaming with rainbow trout. But by July I'd spent entire days with my line in the water, and I still had yet to catch a single trout (or any other kind of fish for that matter). The day I found myself smitten by Betsy, I'd also spent fishing, and, once again, I hadn't caught anything but a cold. I'd meant to go home. I thought I might take a snooze in the hammock in our backyard. But instead of walking down the shady side of Depot Street to the tracks and then heading up the hill toward home, I crossed the street, into the sun. Once there, I stood in front of her, rendered mute.

Orange Crush and skinned knees. This was Betsy at twelve. I'd walked past Betsy Parker a thousand times before. A thousand bottles of Orange Crush. A thousand Band-aids. But that day, as I strolled past her daddy's barbershop, there she was, with fresh scabs on both golden knees, and it felt like I was seeing her for the very first time. I'm not sure which made me dizzier-the twirling red, white and blue barber pole or Betsy. Can I remember the way I saw her then? You'd think it would be hard after all these years, but it isn't. Perhaps I was memorizing her before I even knew I should. Here's the way she looked to me in June when we were twelve: her fingers were long, her legs longer, stretched out on the steps of her daddy's shop where she sipped her soda through a straw. Her tongue was stained orange, and her hair was like syrup running down her back. (I remember touching my tongue to my lips when I saw her.)

Betsy sipped long and thoughtfully. Then she leaned toward me and looked into my empty bucket. "Whadja catch?"

I felt heat rising to my ears. "Not much today."

"Yesterday?"

"Not much yesterday either."

"Why do you bother?" she asked. "If you don't ever catch anything?"

I shrugged.

"You're probably the kind who sees the glass half full." She sighed and sipped the last of her soda pop loudly. "Not me, I'm a half-empty kind of girl."

I didn't know what she meant, only that she thought we were somehow fundamentally different, and this made my heart ache.

"You live on my street," I said stupidly.

"You live on my street." She smiled, setting the amber-colored bottle on the pavement between us. She stuck one bare foot out in front of her and spun the bottle with her toe. It clanked and spun and stopped, its neck pointing right at me.

I didn't know what to say, so I bent over and picked the bottle up. The glass was still cold. I dropped it into my empty bucket, as if that could make up somehow for my failure as a fisherman. "That's worth two cents."

"Coulda been worth a lot more than that," she said, smiling.

I walked home that day with Betsy Parker's Orange Crush bottle clanging against the inside of my bucket. From my bedroom window I could see the pristine facade of the Parkers' house, their immaculate lawn. I felt like an idiot. First, because I'd missed what I quickly realized was a chance at kissing Betsy. And second, because twelve whole years had already passed before I realized that she'd been there all along. Right across the street. I took the bottle out and held it to my lips. The glass was sticky, sweet. I tipped the empty bottle, leaning my head back, waiting for the last sweet drops to fall into my throat.

After that day, I gave up my fishing trips in favor of a new futile endeavor, one that would last longer than most boys my age would have had patience for. But Betsy was right, I was a "half-full" kind of person, and I had high hopes. I knew I'd get a second chance; it was just a matter of time.

The Girl

I only stood in front of the Parkers' house long enough to know I shouldn't be there. The house had recently been painted, and the lawn was trimmed, the hedges clipped. There was a new family living here. A child was peering out at me through the bay window. Soon, the child's mother opened the curtains and, seeing me, quickly drew the curtains shut. I got back on the bike and pedaled quickly home.

By the time I'd climbed the stairs to my apartment, I wondered if I'd only dreamed the girl at the river, a hallucination brought on by too many nights without sleep. I changed out of my wet clothes, made a pot of coffee, and called the freight office to say I'd been at the wreck all morning-that I'd come by the office in a few hours. Only Lenny Herman, the station agent, was there. Everyone else was still down by the river. When almost an hour had passed and she still hadn't appeared, I was fairly certain that I'd only imagined her. I started to gather my things to head back to work, when there was a weak knock on my door.

She stood in the kitchen holding her wet shoes in one hand and the dripping suitcase in the other. I motioned for her to sit down at the kitchen table, but she shook her head.

"Oh, I'm sorry, would you like to dry off?" I asked. "There are some clean towels in the bathroom. I can get some dry clothes."

She nodded and set her wet shoes down by the door. I figured I could find something of Shelly's that would fit her. She followed behind me slowly down the short hallway, stopping to look at the pictures hanging on the wall. Shelly's class pictures. Our wedding photo. She touched the top of the frame, gently straightening it. I grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt from Shelly's drawer and handed them to her. She took them and disappeared into the bathroom.

I quickly assessed the state of my house, untidy still from the morning's chaos. There were dirty dishes on the table (cereal bowls with colored milk, glasses rimmed with orange pulp). Shelly's shoes were scattered all over the floor, which needed to be swept. I'd splattered chocolate batter on the backsplash when I made Shelly's cupcakes, but I hadn't noticed until now. I grabbed a dishrag and wiped at the mess in a useless attempt to make the kitchen less of a disaster. I was wringing it out in the sink when she came out of the bathroom.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from Two Rivers by T. Greenwood Copyright © 2009 by T. Greenwood. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book - Reads very quickly

    This was a good book. Read it in one sitting. The characters were interesting and the back and forth in time made it just interesting enough giving just enough hints to keep you going. Only complaint was the setting of Vermont. Having lived here my whole life, I have to believe that the author never did. Nothing about the setting or language was familar. I would have like the book better it it had been set any where else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating story of someone trapt by his past of anguish and love.

    I really enjoyed this book. I though the way Greenwood wrote 'Two Rivers' really made the reader feel that you were right besides Harper, sharing his life, when everything was happening (which I think is something hard to find in a novel). I also liked Greenwoods way of narrating thes story through Harper's first person narrative along with the alternation of chapters between past and present. Overall, this was an easy, yet unique and captivating story. The bond between Harper and Betsy is so strong and you really stop to think that that is what true love is supposed to be like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    Young love moving to understanding

    I enjoyed this book. It pulled me in to read the story of Harper and Betsy intertwined with the current story of Harper and Shelly and Maggie. It was compassionate and fulfilling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Story wasn't what I expected.

    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 deceased wife (not giving anything away here) and the book certainly illustrates this--so much in fact, I almost abandoned it. Had I expected this I might be a little less critical. Although I found myself frequently frustrated I also found the story calling me back which may be attributed to the writing. There are also many other issues that lie beneath the surface of this story--some subtle, some not so subtle--which could illicit some excellent discussion: racism, forgiveness, the draft, hate, et al. Eventually it all works out into a tale of redemption, forgiveness, and understanding

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

    Good story, easy reading.....

    This book was given to me by a friend. It was her book club selection of the month. Got through it quickly. It was an easy read, good character build up. Good, but not great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    complex character driven drama

    In Two Rivers, Vermont, twelve years back in 1968 Harper Montgomery no longer considered himself a living human. That year his wife Betsy died and he was involved in a vicious murder of a black man. Harper goes through the motions of living, but has never moved past grief or his guilt. Filled with remorse, Harper knows if it was not for the fact his daughter needs him, he probably would have committed suicide just like a friend involved with the homicide did. Thus he still works for the railroad and does his best to raise his daughter Shelly as a single dad.<BR/>---<BR/>In 1980, a train derailment occurs. One of the survivors is a young pregnant black teen who needs a place to stay. Harper brings Marguerite ¿Maggie¿ Dufresne into his household as a form of repentance for what he and others did a dozen years ago. She tells him she is on her way to Canada having been raped. As he muses on his time with Betsy in the volatile 1960s, Harper begins to wonder if Maggie deliberately came to Two Rivers seeking closure just as Harper has struggles with too.<BR/>---<BR/>This complex character driven drama is well written, but not an easy read as metaphors like the name of the town and the confluence of its rivers at the town provide deep insight into the hidden internal battles between passion for the future and remorse for the past. The three prime characters seem fully developed with the adults each having a secret agenda fueling their relationship. Betsy and the murdered black male come alive through mostly Harper¿s memory tinted by his psychological defense mechanism lens; which in turn makes part of the story line a historical romance and part a suspense thriller that converge into a profound character study. Readers who relish a deep but complicated drama will want to read this strong New England tale.<BR/>---<BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A highly moving love story of redemption, racial tension, loss, love, and forgiveness.

    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 Harper seeks forgiveness to make amends for his involvement in the crime long ago.

    After his wife, Betsy died twelve years earlier, Harper is raising his daughter, Shelly and working at the railroad, until one day a train derails, he has a chance at redeeming himself when he encounters, Maggie, a pregnant 15 yr old girl who needs his help.

    Does the tragedy of losing Betsy justify Harper’s involvement in the scene at the river and the blackberry imagery? A very interesting take on motherhood of Mrs. Parker, Helen, and Betsy and how they embrace their role and are they victims of their time?

    A master of combining past with present, the intense feelings and emotions will warm and engage fans of Greenwood for a highly moving love story of redemption, racial tension, loss, love, and forgiveness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    mikaela stewarts review

    i have not read the book by mikaela stewrart

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Story Line, Very Good Writing Style!

    I liked Greenwood's writing style and I would recommend it. I was confused at first by Harper's involvement with the crime but as the story unfolded, that became clear. I enjoyed the alternating past and present style but I found it a bit more about Harper and Betsy than about Maggie. The story line about Maggie is what kept my interest most. Greenwood develops her characters quite well and keeps you coming back to find out what happens to them. She makes you care about them. There is a lot of symbolism throughout: two rivers, two life stories, past and present, guilt and forgiveness, comparing mothers, lots to talk about. Good for book clubs!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    enjoy this book very much

    I have never read anything by T,Greenwoods before this one. I would deffently recommend it. I have never written a review before . But this book compelled me to. Was different from most books I have read. Liked how it went back to before and the now. Never would have guessed the end. Was very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    A Good Read

    I enjoyed this book. Had a surprise twist in the story line. It was a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    Great Read!!!

    I have just recently started reading I have never been in to ready books unless I had to. Once I started reading this book I couldn't seem to put it down, truly a great story about life, love and just the simple things in life. I would recommend anyone read this book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    Unexpectedly wonderful

    I picked this book up and had no idea I was going to read one of the best books I've gotten in a long time! I loved the characters and the twisted love story, and it seemed like there was a surprise at every turn!

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  • Posted January 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    How one episode changes your whole life!

    I so enjoyed this story of a man who made a tragic and awful choice in his life and spent the rest of it trying to redeem himself. How this episode affected his family, child, friends, etc. This book has wonderful characters, a great story line that holds the reader until the end and is extremely redeeming. I honestly loved it and would recomend it highly. This is my first time reading T. Greenwood, but I will be reading more of her.

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