Dark Water Rising
by Marian Hale
(YP FIC HALE)
Set during the Hurricane of 1900, which completely devestated Galveston, Dark Water Rising presents a coming of age story amidst horrifying circumstances. Seth is not happy when his father decides that their family will move to Galveston. His father wants Seth to go on to college and become a doctor. Seth already knows that he wants to become a carpenter. After arriving in Galveston, a night's stay at his uncle's home provides him both with the chance to work as a carpenter and his first glimpse of Ella Rose Montgomery. Seth quickly settles in to his new job as a carpenter working with Josiah, the grandson of his uncle's servant. When the storm sets in, people come to the beach near where Seth works to watch the turbulent water. Finally the water gets too high, and Seth and Josiah must cross flooded streets and flying debris to make it to his uncle's house.
The historical details seem acurate. There are mentions of many of the more well known details about the storm, such as the the wall of debris that scraped away everything in its path. The variety of dangers people faced, such as a man dying, not from drowning, but rather from climbing a tree that was already full of snakes. And the things that lingered in memories long afterwards: the stench of mud and decaying bodies and the bodies that washed up on the beach for days afterwards.
Seth's desire to chose his own destiny and prove himself to his father very much become part of Seth's expereience. The author keeps the story from becoming too dark by alotting some of the worst horrors to the people around Seth. Even so, as a capable young man, Seth sees enough of the devestation to convey the tragedy and misery of the disaster that changed Texas forever. The author touches on racial inequalities as well as the role of women during that time. An author's note at the end of the book explains the author's interest in the events and also gives more detailed information.
For further reading on the Hurricane of 1900, visit our local history collection. Moore Memorial Library has several books about the hurricane, including Isaac's Storm, (976.4139 LARSON) which provides an interesting account of the representative of the National Weather Bureau, Isaac Cline, who was working in Galveston at the time of the storm.