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
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.)
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Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . Great read, couldn't put it down
Posted April 22, 2010 by Chris , Edmonton, AlbertaWas also one of the lucky readers who got this one when it was online for free, and extremely glad I did, definitely a buy for anyone. Great characters, and there was no way you were going to be able to guess how this one ended.
2 . Great from the start and just kept getting better!
Posted February 16, 2010 by Nicky , NYCI thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was free for a few days, and I guess I was one of the lucky few that downloaded it.
This book was not only worth the free read, but worth whatever is being charged for it right now. The story was great and kept getting better as the characters grew and the plot was developed.
The author was brilliant in how he brought the whole story line together. LOVED IT!
3 . ONE OF THE BEST
Posted February 03, 2010 by Junie Moon , Dunedin, FLI have read many books in my day, and this is one of the best! It is very well-written with vivid characters and surprising plot twists. It is a beautiful love story in many ways, taking the reader through an adolescent crush to learning how to love and forgive oneself. Want to feel hopeful and up-lifted? Get this book! I promise you a wonderful read!
Kensington Publishing Corporation
December 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Two Rivers by T. Greenwood
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.
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."