Shelley Read

Shelley Read

Go as a River

Spiegel & Grau

An unforgettable and deeply moving story of a young woman who follows her heart.

Seventeen-year-old Victoria runs the household on her family’s peach farm in the small ranch town—the sole surviving female in a family of troubled men. Wilson is a drifter with a mysterious past, displaced from his tribal land but determined to live as he chooses.


Victoria meets Wil by chance on a street corner, altering both of their young lives, igniting as much passion as danger. When tragedy strikes, Victoria leaves the only life she has ever known. Taking shelter in a hut, she struggles to survive in the wilderness, with no clear notion of what her future will bring. As the seasons change, she also charts the changes in herself.


Inspired by true events surrounding the destruction of the town of Iola in the 1960s, Go as a River is a story of deeply held love in the midst of hardship and loss, but also of finding courage, resilience, friendship, and, finally, home—where least expected. This stunning debut explores what it means to lead your life as if it were a river—gathering and flowing, finding a way forward even when a river is dammed.

“Completely unforgettable.”
—Bonnie Garmus, New York Times bestselling author