Praise for Swift River

“Told with great empathy, wit and compassion, Swift River will sweep you away. Never forget the healing power of history and family, Diamond’s awakening of her past catapults her into hope for her future. What a gorgeous reading experience.”


Swift River is a beautifully layered novel that touches on many aspects of society. Reading Essie Chambers’s prose feels like watching an artist weave delicate threads together slowly and methodically, bringing the full picture together in front of you. Melancholy but filled with an underlying hope…. This is a summer read you will want to get lost in.”


“Both heartbreaking and hopeful. Diamond, a biracial teen, Is finding her way. As she learns about her sundown town’s racist past, as well as her father’s lost but not forgotten family, she reconciles the two. She leans into the love, hope, grief, and abandonment, and she realizes how she has to move forward. Diamond is a character who won’t be forgotten.”


Swift River is one of the most engrossing books I’ve read this year; readers will immediately find themselves rooting for sixteen-year-old Diamond Newberry. Weaving together themes of loss, change, hope, and the legacy of family through a powerful mix of historical fiction, coming-of-age, and mystery, Essie Chambers has crafted a stunning debut for readers of all genres. A must-read story!”


“I loved this debut novel’s main character, Diamond, and the unexpected turn her life rakes in the summer of 1987. Swift River weaves Diamond’s openhearted voice with letters from Auntie Lena and her great-aunt Clara, creating a wonderfully layered story of how a girl who felt adrift gained friendship, family, and a sense of possibility?”


Swift River touches on issues that are universal and unique, and gently forces us to ask questions that are both uncomfortable and necessary. In the end I unexpectedly burst into tears. This is a story to not be missed.”


“The writing is Toni Morrison exceptional with passages you read aloud and try to commit to memory.”