Here's a description of the book:
"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
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."
Catherine Richmond's debut, Spring for Susannah [you can read my review HERE], wowed me with its characters and its sweet portrayal of love surviving harsh trials. While Through Rushing Water didn't have quite the same personal impact for me, as far as depicting a horrific time in history with grace, understanding, and conviction, Richmond's sophomore novel does it all.
Sophia is an intriguing heroine who has experienced terrible events, lived in various countries, and tried to forge an "important" future for herself. But when her latest plans are embarrassingly crushed, she finds herself headed to the Ponca Indian Agency, a place that hardly seems like the launching point for anything great - until she gets to know the people who live there.
I loved seeing Sophia's character blossom as she uses her creativity and determination to bless the Ponca people. And I loved getting to know sweet Will, and seeing his love for Sophia help both him and Sophia grow in their faith.
Through Rushing Water is a gentle read, in one sense, as there is some simmering suspense but a lot more of a focus on the characterization. But in another sense it is far from gentle, as it is a book that tells a deeply tragic tale, and it is horribly sad to see the way the Native Americans were treated. It is certainly a worthwhile read, though, as it instills important lessons (and lessons on what is truly important), bravely and with heart. In this world there are great, terrifying floods of rushing water - but this story reminds us that those waters should not be allowed to capture our focus or sweep away our heart.
*With thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with an e-copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*