Go as a River by Shelley Read

Read Time:3 Minute, 19 Second

Go as a River is a gripping debut novel that draws inspiration from true events and explores the themes of love, resilience, and home in the face of adversity. In the small town of Iola, Colorado, Victoria Nash runs her family’s peach farm and navigates life with troubled men. A chance encounter with drifter Wilson Moon sets off a chain of events that leads to tragedy, causing Victoria to flee into the mountains and find strength in the wilderness.

Book review of Go as a River

Go as a River by Shelley Read is a beautifully written debut novel that captivates the reader from the very first page. The story is set in a small Colorado town in 1948 and centers around Victoria Nash, a 17-year-old girl who has already faced more tragedy and hardship than most people experience in a lifetime. Despite her young age, Victoria has been running her family’s peach farm for the past five years following her mother’s death.

The novel explores themes of loss, love, and resilience, as Victoria navigates the challenges of life on the farm and falls in love with a man named Wilson Moon, who is deemed an outcast by others due to the color of his skin. Victoria’s strength and determination in the face of adversity make her a character that readers will root for and admire.

The novel also touches on themes of racism and prejudice, which are depicted as harsh and unforgiving as the wilderness that surrounds Victoria’s home. Despite the challenges that she faces, Victoria remains resilient and brave, and her memory of Wilson’s words to “go as a river” serves as a constant reminder to always move forward in life and find a better way.

What sets Go as a River apart from other historical fiction novels is the author’s vivid and evocative descriptions of the Colorado landscape and the pace of ranch life. Shelley Read’s writing transports the reader to the rugged terrain of the mountains, allowing them to feel the heat of the sun and smell the ripeness of the warm peaches that Victoria tends to with such care.

Final verdict:

Overall, Go as a River is a powerful and moving debut novel that will appeal to readers of historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy stories with strong female characters and a unique setting. While the novel may not be for everyone, particularly those who don’t enjoy books that are emotionally challenging, it is a must-read for anyone looking for a beautifully written and unforgettable story of love, loss, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Our Score


  • Beautifully written: The author’s writing style is picturesque, descriptive, and emotive, making it easy for readers to visualize the rugged terrain of the mountains, feel the heat of the sun, and smell the ripeness of the warm peaches.
  • Strong female lead: Victoria Nash, the protagonist of the story, is a character that readers can both admire and adore. She is tough, yet vulnerable, selfless, yet willing to fight when she’s able, and remarkably resilient.
  • Unique story: The historical fiction story has a different feel to it. The four decades of the 20th century it’s set in, the small rural Colorado community and location, the tedious and arduous pace of ranch-life are all aspects that make this story stand out.


  • Slow pace: The pacing of the story can be slow at times, especially in the beginning chapters.
  • Cliché themes: While the story is unique in many aspects, there are certain themes like racism and prejudice that are depicted in a way that can feel cliche or predictable.
  • Somber tone: This book deals with heavy topics and has a somber tone throughout. It may not be the best fit for readers who prefer lighter, uplifting stories.
Go as a RiverPublisher ‏ : ‎ Spiegel & Grau (February 28, 2023)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1954118236
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1954118232
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.05 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.75 x 1 x 8.25 inches

About Article Author

Rachel Parker

Rachel Parker is an inveterate romantic. An author of romance books and stories for the past 10 years, she combines her writing life with her love of literary criticism, waiting for her prince charming to appear at any moment.
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