When You Live By a River is the fictional story of a Catskill Mountains valley community soon to be flooded to create a reservoir for New York City. The drama centers on a farmer whose wife dies in childbirth and on the farmer's 15-year-old niece who comes to take care of the baby in exchange for the promise of college tuition. Set in 1931, and based in part on actual circumstances involving water rights and eminent domain, this historical novel of rural lives in upstate New York unfolds a natural love story set against a background of moral conflicts and the eroding force of modernity. Mermer Blakeslee's love of place and of her characters brings listeners an eloquent testament to the persistence and courage of the heart.
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