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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wish List 5: The Johnstown Flood

Once a month I am planning on sharing with you all 5 of my biggest wish list books broken up by theme. I know that you all need more on your TBR!!! This month's theme focuses on the natural disaster event, the Johnstown Flood.  I have read 2 books about this event previously, one fiction (In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden by Kathleen Cambor) and one non-fiction (The Johnstown Flood by David McCullouch) and have been fascinated by the event.  There is so much opportunity for potential drama here and it is an oft forgotten event that I would love to see how other fiction authors treat it.  There is even a YA novel on this list purely because I was surprised by it!

Summer of Gold and Water by Kathleen Danielcyzk

'Its gone, the dam is gone, I can't believe it. It just broke, and all that water...' Michael sat down heavily on the steps and started to cry. Sarah Green knows her place. She's a hard worker born of hard-working parents and married to an honest, blue-collar man who loves her. It is no surprise to those who know her when she is hired by one of Philadelphia's richest--and most eccentric--families as their first maid. Sarah has complete confidence she can sew, cook, and clean, but can she handle the other responsibilities her new employers, Wesley and Eloise Danvers, request of her? Confidant. Counselor. Friend. Whenever Eloise gains an inch, earning a bit more of Sarah's trust and friendship, she takes a mile. Before Sarah has fully acclimated to being friends with her employer, she and her family are spending summers at an exclusive club as members with the Danverses! The summers are uncomfortable for Sarah as she struggles to make nice with Philadelphia's richest matrons and watches her only daughter interact with their daughters and sons. The Danverses brush off her worries, insisting that they love the Greens and their friends do too. Not until an act of man and nature strikes do the Greens and Danverses see the social divide for what it is and are faced with the challenge of breaching it in the Summer of Gold and Water.

Wade in the Water by Michael Stephen Oates

It is spring in the year 1889, and Americans are enjoying the spoils of an industrial revolution, but in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the wheels of industry are brought to a grinding halt when the River Fork dam bursts. Bennett Marsh, a nineteen-year-old kitchen-hand, wants nothing more than to leave his home town of River Fork and attend the Julliard School of Music in New York. Bennett's father, Percival, a steel-mill worker lured by the glamour of high society, is trapped in a dead-end job, and struggles to find his place as parent and provider. John Parke, the resident engineer at the River Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, questions the integrity of the dam while his gadabout wife and upper crust club members wine and dine around him in ignorant bliss. When a storm out of Kansas inundates the valley with torrential rain, Parke's greatest fear comes true. Twenty million tons of water spill into the Allegheny Valley, devastating the lives of the 30,000 people living below it. When the dam breaks, Bennett and Percival must count on each other to survive the flood, realizing the bond between them and the strength they take from each other, but it may have come too late."

The Wedding Quilt Bride by Colleen Coble

The Wedding Quilt Bride is one of Coble’s early novellas. Faith Cole makes a visit to her great-grandmother to Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889. Convinced her disability will keep her from ever marrying, Faith shuns the hope in her mother’s wedding trunk. But the threat from a dangerous dam brings her out of her shyness, and she finds God has other plans.

Waterproof by Judith Redline Coopey

Fifty years after an earthen dam collapsed sending a thirty foot wall of raging destruction down on the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Pamela McRae looks back on the tragedy. The flood wiped out Pam's fondest hopes: her brother and her fiance were killed. Her mother is locked in catatonic hysteria. Her father, torn apart by the flood's affect on his family, just walks away, leaving Pam poverty stricken and alone, to care for a mother who may never recover. Then Davy Hughes, Pam's dead fiance, reappears and, instead of being the answer to her prayers, further complicates her life. Someone is seeking revenge on the owners of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, the Pittsburgh millionaires who owned the failed dam, and Pam thinks Davy might have something to do with it. Waterproof, set in Johnstown two years after the flood, examines how people react to tragedy. Do they recover from physical injury only to succumb to the psychological affects? Or do they run away? Do they rise to the challenge and become better people or give in to their rage and seek revenge? For the people of Johnstown, survivors of the flood, it became the measure of their character. Determined to get past the tragedy and get on with her life, Pam spurns self-pity. She will not be defined by the flood. In this decades-deep story of loss and struggle against loss, we find a heroine to respect and a path to recovery.

The Terrible Wave by Marden Dahlstedt

During the disastrous flood of 1889 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a spoiled teenage girl learns to accept responsibility as she and her companions search for their families and friends.
Have you read any of these? Any other novels about the Johnstown Flood you would add to this list?


Looking for some books I have read on the Johnstown Flood?   Give these a try!

In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden               The Johnstown Flood            
          ★★★½☆☆                          ★★★★☆  

 Here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month:

Copyright © 2016 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Ooo, I'm going to have to look at some of these. I just read The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan, which is also about the Johnstown Flood. I actually did not realize that David McCullough had a book on it!

    1. Oh I don't think I knew about that one!! The McCullough is so good.


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