Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: Through Rushing Water

When I read the description of Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond, I knew I had to read it.  The end of the first sentence nearly had me -- Dakota Territory, it said.  The next sentence sealed it, as it placed this story in 1876.

Without going and looking this stuff up to get exact dates, what I do know is that my dad's family came to Dakota Territory -- the north-eastern South Dakota part -- in the late 1870s, or maybe the early 1880s. I always forget.  Regardless, I tend to be interested in historical fiction set in the area in roughly that time period. This story is set south of where my family settled, occurring fairly close to the Nebraska border.

From the publisher:
Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.
Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.
With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.
It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.
What did I think?

This was a pretty light and easy read.  I don't think the above description really does that great of a job of describing the actual plot though.  The basics are there.  Sophia is jilted and she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions believing she'll be posted to China, which puts her closer to Russia, her home.  Instead she ends up in the Dakota Territory, where she falls in love with the Ponca people. 

At the end of the book, there is information given about the historical basis for this story.  Obviously, much of it is fiction, but it was nice to know which portions were based in reality.

The title comes from something Will says to Sophia in the middle of the book, "Ignore the rushing water.....Ignore everything that tries to pull you under or knock your feet out, or obscures your view. Plant your feet on the solid rock."  Sophia clings to that thought at a few points from there on out, focusing on the goal and not the distractions.

I appreciated that the plot was more about the events occurring on the reservation, and not just centered on the romantic aspects of Will and Sophia's relationship.

Disclaimer: As a Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this ebook for free from Thomas Nelson. All opinions are my own.  No other compensation was received. For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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