Joan Schweighardt’s historical fiction novel, Before We Died: Rivers Book 1 examines the rubber boom and rubber tree tapping that took place in the South American rainforest primarily in the year 1908. This is the first in a planned three book series that focuses on two brothers from Hoboken, New Jersey who decide to make the trip to South America to find their fortune in the rubber trade. What they don’t anticipate is the grueling work that this will involve and the other dangers that lie within the rainforest.
In 1908 the mother of Bax and Jack informs them that her psychic, after the death of her father she has been visiting this women in the hopes of still communicating with him, has told her that they must go on a grand adventure. Bax, who is the more outgoing and forceful of the brothers, informs her and his brother that he has met a man who has promised them work in South America and he convinces Jack to come with him. The two think that everything will be taken care of and that they will earn a great deal of money, but the rubber trade was anything, but truthful. Initially the brothers are shown the opulence of the man they will be working for, but soon they learn that they will be living a far different life. Once they join their company the true terrors begin. Sickness, deadly animals, and even the threat of mysterious beings that will destroy them if they make eye contact.
Bax and Jack both find themselves contending with frequent sickness and lack of food, but there are moments of brightness within the despair and death that continuously follows them. They find themselves in the care of a native tribe and build a connection that will impact their plans going forward. Each brother finds himself in a situation that changes their lives completely and going forward they will have to deal with the impact their decision to go to South America has had on them. Schweighardt presents a very detailed and vivid description of the dangerous work that many men found themselves doing under the promise of tremendous wealth. This first book establishes a tremendous amount of character development for both brothers, both through their current situations and through various flashbacks. For those who are interested in historical fiction this is the perfect book for you. You can find Before We Died: Rivers Book 1 on sale now.
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