Monday, June 25, 2012

Through Rushing Water.

First of all, I just have to say: gorgeous cover. I know what they say about judging a book by its cover and all that, but I confess that pretty book covers can draw me in. Much like I'm drawn to the clearance fabric at craft stores or the Sinatra song crooning from the Christmas music station that magically appears in Target in October.

{Yes, I just somehow brought fabric and Sinatra into a book review.}

Thankfully, Through Rushing Water, by Catherine Richmond, lives up to its lovely cover. :) The story focuses on Sophia Makinoff, a Russian-born young woman who is teaching at a women's college in America in 1876. She expects her next position to be the wife of a young Congressman, but her plans fall apart when he unexpectedly proposes to her roommate and fellow teacher instead. Sophia impulsively signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions, but this escape doesn't go as planned, either. Instead of being sent to China or somewhere else in the east, she is assigned to be a teacher to the Ponca Indians in the Dakota territory. Once there, she quickly falls in love with the peaceful people and their fight to remain on their land. Oh, and there might be a kind, selfless carpenter named Will mixed in there somewhere, too. :)

I really enjoyed this book. It's the first historical novel that I've read in years that includes the plight of the Native Americans as an important part of the plot. I couldn't get over the average citizen's apathy towards the people, based solely on stereotypes. I loved reading about Sophia and Will standing up for the Poncas and trying to inform people about their poor living conditions. I also loved that Will had learned their language and culture and tried to teach them his trade.

The characters were well-written and likable (except the ones that aren't meant to be likable, of course :). I did have a problem keeping Henry and James straight at first, for some reason. It should have been fairly simple, considering one was a pastor (though a pessimistic, misguided one) and the other was the slightly alcoholic agent.

I liked the pace and the writing style. Sophia and Will's romance is part of the story, but there's much more to the book than that. There were a few spots of unexpected humor. I had to laugh at the part where the Ponca schoolchildren are reenacting scenes they've experienced with the shopkeepers. I was a little surprised by the turn the story took when the Poncas were forced to leave their land. I guess I expected Sophia and Will and the others to go with them or something? It threw me off a bit at first but I ended up liking how the rest of the book turned out.

Anyway, I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. Through Rushing Water was a very enjoyable piece of historical fiction, filled with memorable characters and set during an interesting, though disturbing, time in our country's history.

Until next time,

{I received this book free from Booksneeze, in exchange for a review. My review is only required to be honest and expressing my true opinions, not necessarily positive.}


  1. I love that you brought Sinatra into this review! :) Also, that is a gorgeous cover!

  2. Sounds interesting! Will put it on my to-read list.


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