3 out of 4 stars
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American River:Tributaries by Mallory M. O’Connor tells the story of three immigrant families who came to America in the 1800’s. This book is offered as the first of a trilogy that will follow the lives and experiences of these three families.
The book opens with a brief history of the first generation of immigrants. The story quickly advances to the 1960’s and the second generation of each family. The McPhalan family is of Irish descent and settles in California. This family has many troubles. Marian, leaves her husband, Owen, and moves to Boston. Alex, the youngest daughter, accompanies her to study music. Kate falls in love with the hired hand’s son. Julian is gay and goes down the wormhole of prostitution and drugs.
The second family is Japanese-American. We hear some historical information about this family’s experiences in the Japanese internment camps during the war. Their son, Tommy, was born in this camp. He is Kate McPhalan’s boyfriend.
The Morales family is of Mexican descent. Jorge and Rosita have three children, Carl, Silvio and Ali. Carl has musical talents and becomes quite well-known as a symphony conductor.
As the story unfolds, we see how the lives of these three families intertwine. Several of the characters are musically talented. This allows the reader to recall many songs of the time period. The story is told in the third person giving the reader access to the character’s feelings and motives for their actions. The setting changes from the west coast, mainly California, to Boston on the east coast.
I chose this book because it was listed as historical fiction. There are some historical references at the beginning when the author is describing the first generation of immigrants. From there, the story quickly degenerates into the sexual escapades of the characters. Marian, Julian, and Carl engage in relationships that would have been considered socially scandalous for the time period. A large portion of the book is dedicated to these affairs. Events that were of great importance to our nation in this time period are not mentioned. The Bay of Pigs, lunar exploration, and the assassination of a president are not referenced!
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story line is interesting and the reader is immersed into the lives of the characters. The conversations are well done. However, I felt deceived about the listed genre of this book. The historical facts in the beginning chapters were promising but then dropped off. I would consider this to be a fictional/romance book. The text also needs further editing. People who enjoy stories that follow families through different generations will enjoy this book.
American River: Tributaries
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