One thing I really liked about this book was simply that Sophia was Russian; I haven't come across very many books with a heroine of that heritage, and I quite liked her unusual, globe-trotting background.
So many of the things in this book made me so mad- the way the government was treating these Indians were just- ugh! I wanted to go in there and do something myself. Though the plot was not one that I am normally attracted to or would really want to read, I still ended up enjoying it. However, I felt like I didn't really get to "know" the characters as much as I'd have liked to. I also found that the last few chapters lagged a little bit, and it took me awhile to get used to the very new setting that they introduced the reader to. After being out in the wilderness for a year with Sophia, suddenly coming back to civilization with her was a little difficult!
If you're interested in the history of American Indians and the American West, I'm sure you'll really enjoy this this novel.
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.
Book Summary: Sophia has her life all planned outâ€”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 knownâ€”and never expectedâ€”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.
Review: I really enjoyed the vivid picture that Catherine Richmond paints with her words. The characters were well developed and the storyline was very engrossing. It was an adventure just getting to the reservation. I enjoyed the interplay between all of the characters. It was an extremely realistic plot and kept me turn the pages to the end. I was very interested in the Poncas and how they assimilated into the white man's world. It was a well flushed historic book and a treat to read.
I would like to thank Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Through Rushing Water is the first book by Catherine Richmond that I have read, but it won't be the last. Through Rushing Water is beautifully written. For the review, I had scheduled to read chucks of this book through out a week. To say the least, that schedule was an epic fail. I stayed up to nearly three a.m. on two different nights simply because I was so drawn into the story that I could not put it down. This is not something I do regularly, so that really tells you how much I enjoyed the story.
I was easily drawn to Sophia's character. The way she was spurned by the man she thought she was going to marry made her very sympathetic. Her decision to become a missionary seemed to go against what I saw her character being. It wasn't her becoming a missionary so much as that it was such a spur-of-the-moment decision, which I thought went against the traits we had come to know about her from earlier in the book. I saw Sophia as being more in control and even keeled. But that decision sets the course for the resplendent story to come. I relished watching Sophia's faith grow and how God took her spur-of-the-moment decision and molded it for His glory. Sophia's romance with Will is sweet and satisfying. I was enchanted by their sweet romance set against such a stark and tragic background.
While Sophia and Will were an integral part of the story, it was the Ponca people that kept me engaged. I became so invested in their fate that I simply could not put the book down. I was really struck by how much we take for granted today. The absolute poverty and the abysmal treatment of the Ponca Indians was disheartening. This treatment of the American Indians is a shameful chapter of our country's past.
Through Rushing Water is a well researched book and is broadly based on true events, which are explained in the Author's Note at the end of the book. I'm a history junkie and am drawn to books that are true to history and life. Nothing frustrates me more than reading an historical novel filled with inaccuracies. I didn't find that with this book. Richmond has done and admirable job with Through Rushing Water . She has woven a beautiful romantic tale, while still staying true to the tragic facts of the dismal treatment of the Ponca people. Richmond now has a new fan, and I look forward to reading more from her. I simply cannot recommend Through Rushing Water highly enough!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
When twenty-eight year old Sophia Makinoff doesn't receive the marriage proposal she expected, she volunteers as a teacher for the Board of Foreign Missions, expecting to be sent to China. Instead, she is assigned to the Ponca Agency in the Dakota Territory, where she finds extremely primitive conditions and her fellow workers: James Lawrence, the agent, Henry Granville, the minister, Nettie, Henry's mother, and Willoughby Dunn, the Agency carpenter.
Despite first impressions of Sophia as an educated lady and social climber, we gradually get to know her as the daughter of a Russian Army officer who escaped from Russia with nothing, and has lived in surroundings both palatial and extremely basic. She draws on her many experiences befriend the Ponco people, and works hard to help them as outside forces threaten the Ponco way of life.
Neither James nor Henry have positive feelings towards the local people, and the Army officers who occasionally visit are even less polite. Nettie is such a likeable and matter of fact character that it is hard to believe she is the mother of Henry, a self-righteous 'ninny' (as Sophia describes him). Will, a strong Christian even though not serving specifically as a missionary, has befriended the local people and teaches Sophia a lot about their culture.
Overall, this is an excellent novel. The characters are real, with real hopes, fears and dreams. They are placed in difficult circumstances, and lean on their Christian faith to get through. They make mistakes as they learn and change. And there is a lovely romance element.
Through Rushing Waters is broadly based on true events, and has been meticulously researched. There is a note at the end of the book in which the author explains which characters what aspects of the plot are based on fact, and this is enlightening. To modern readers, parts of the story (and aspects of the character's personalities) seem racist and repugnant: not only were the Ponco not American citizens, they were not even considered human in the eyes of the law. I really enjoy historical fiction where I feel I have actually learnt something of history.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneezeÂ® for providing a free ebook for review.