River Girl is a novel written for the people of Happy Camp, California, especially for the young people of this town.It is about two children who moved to the Klamath River Valley from Antioch, a town in the San Francisco Bay Area, back in the 1920s. The Klamath River Valley town of Happy Camp is remote and isolated, surrounded by many miles of forest. This novel is about people isolated in the forest long ago, before there were cars, and before Highway 96 was created and paved.
If you live in Happy Camp, you’ll know exactly where the river girl lived – south of the river on China Grade Road, in a cabin.
If you’re not from Happy Camp you’ll learn about a primitive lifestyle that is still lived by many in this area today – off the grid, isolated, and surrounded by trees.
The first chapter of River Girl starts in the town of Antioch. Antioch is in the San Francisco East Bay Area, right next to the Sacramento River. At that point the Sacramento is huge, and a few miles further downstream, empties into the San Pablo Bay. The San Pablo Bay is at the far-northern end of the San Francisco Bay, and ships travel through there and up the river to Antioch.
In the novel, Clarie and Toby are happy with their life in Antioch, but their father receives a letter that tells him he’s inherited a cabin near Happy Camp in the Klamath River Valley. He decides to sell his Antioch home and move his family to Happy Camp. Claire is traumatized at having to leave Antioch and her best friend, so she’s not a willing passenger when the family boards a ship on their journey to Eureka.
Their stay in Eureka is difficult, and by the time they leave there, Claire is ready to move on to Happy Camp. Her life in Happy Camp turns out to be full of loneliness and hardship. It is the people she meets there who will help her adjust.
Though this book was written for children and teenagers, it has been read and loved by adults as well, during the writing and revision process.
River Girl was published on June 2, 2012. The book is available at the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce office, at the Marble Mountain Gift Co., and online at Amazon.