Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Review of Through Rushing Water

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 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."

My Rating


My Review

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.*


The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I liked the relationships a lot in this book but I wanted a bit more about the Native American story because it was so emotionally powerful to me.

Amber Holcomb said...


I can understand that! Since the story mainly follows Sophia and Will, we're limited in our knowledge of the Native Americans' plight and in our view of the things they suffered... It would have been interesting to see the POV of at least one of the Native Americans.

But at the same time, as this is historical romance, I understand why the emphasis would be on the two main characters and their personal growth. It's their story - but their story is being used to also indirectly share the Poncas' story.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I'm glad to hear that Through Rushing Water was still emotionally powerful to you in its presentation!