Dec. 18, 19, and 20
Nearly everything important in twelve-year-old Gabriella's life that summer of 1957 can be traced to the river. On the North Carolina military base where she lives, she meets the African-American Marine Hawkins by the river's brown-green water. Hawkins, a servant in the kitchen of her father's quarters, becomes her swim coach and a person she can talk with--even about the tragedy of the youth Emmett Till. The fourteen-year-old was lynched two years earlier, his body thrown into Mississippi's Tallahatchie river. But this river, her river, isn't a place of death. Emmett's spirit is alive in its waters. It's a place of magic.
At the river Hawkins helps her find her strength and her place in the world. Emmett helps her find her heart.
Emmett had been murdered for whistling at a white woman. Could her friendship with Hawkins endanger the tough Marine? It doesn't seem possible. Until a sudden storm on the river changes Gabriella's life--forever.
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