TMW Book Reviews

American River: Tributaries: Book One of the American River Trilogy by Mallory M. O’Connor

The struggle for racial equality in the United States during the 1960s was fierce. Different civil rights movements united people of all races and ethnicities in opposing racial discrimination. These movements caused an unstable community for the life of three immigrant families that underwent major obstacles with prejudice and life decisions.

American River: Tributaries by Mallory M. O'Connor is a historical book that originates from when three families of different racial descents emigrated to America; then crossed paths in Northern California on a settlement by the river. All three families, the McPhalans (Irish), the Ashidas (Japanese), and the Moraleses (Mexicans), embark on a familial journey, each as complex as the other. The book contains realistic themes of love, art, music, and family, written with an awestriking plot. The complexity of each theme, however, is what makes this book so enthralling and exciting, bringing a visual representation of individual struggles with discrimination, broken dreams, identity, and pain.

The highlight of this engaging book is its ability to keep its readers going page after page as each character’s story unravels with time. The author simply compels you, making you want to know more about this captivating plot. O’Connor displayed venerable skills with the beautifully involuted and well-rounded characters, taking on harsh realities as immigrants in the country. Every character’s innermost thoughts and feelings are depicted in vivid detail on each page, adding a layer of realism to the story. It’s like I was experiencing everything first hand!

Some things may not have come as each family thought they would be. For the McPhalans, Mockingbird might not be the same anymore; for the Ashidas, a new generation may be beginning; and for the Moraleses, who knows what might happen to them next. Things I couldn’t know about in this book left me wanting to learn more!

Some dreams fail to succeed for the love of those dear to us, passions we couldn’t keep for ourselves. But in a world filled with so much hope and anger, we ought to be someone who holds the former.

Ultimately, this book is the epitome of harsh realities and love. It was worth every minute I spent indulged into its pages.

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 2, 2023


About the Author

Mallory O’Connor is a writer, an art historian, and a musician. She holds degrees in art, art history, and American history from Ohio University. For twenty years she taught art history at the University of Florida and at Santa Fe College. During this time, she also wrote hundreds of magazie articles and critical essays, and curated numerous exhibitions for museums and galleries.

She is the author of two non-fiction books, Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast and Florida’s American Heritage River, both published by the University Press of Florida.

American River:Tributaries is her first novel and book one of the American River Trilogy. Book two, American River: Currents was released in March 2017. Book three, American River: Confluence, was released in September 2018.

Mallory’s new series of paranormal/eco-thrillers begins with Epiphany’s Gift, published in April 2019. The series follows follows psychic-medium Epiphany Mayall as she explores paranormal phenomena, investigate art crimes and fights for environmental justice.

Born in Illinois and raised on a ranch on the American River in Northern California, Mallory now resides with her husband, artist John O’Connor, in Gainesville, Florida.