This is my first book by Ann Howard Creel that details the historical culture of Galveston Texas. If you love historical fiction then this book would be of interest to you. It is a character-driven story set in the 1900s and is centred on 3 women. In this book I learnt that everybody comes to our lives for a reason, some come for the specific reason of teaching lessons. I found the book interesting in providing the historical context of the hurricane that took place in Galveston Texas in the 1900s, similar to the hurricanes currently happening the USA today. The author brought out the historical aspect and the culture of people. I especially loved the aesthetic descriptions of buildings, works of art and the style of dressing. The lifestyle of the rich and the poor was clearly distinct with a big gap between the rich and the poor and how they spent their lives.
Some of the themes that were brought out in the storyline include mental illness, trust in relationships and motherhood. These themes stood out for me in how the characters tried their best tackling them. Mental illness was strongly reflected towards the end of the book. How the society then viewed mental illness and how they dealt with people who suffered from it is typical of what many of us would do when encountered with a relative who has a mental illness. I particularly agreed with how the author described how families keep secret, issues to do with mental illness for fear of stigmatization as this happens to date.
Motherhood and a mothers love in trying to protect her child from the cruelty of the world. I especially loved how Bernadette tried her best to protect Grace from rumours, and gossip. The racial separation was also mentioned but was not brought out a major theme. However, we see how people are separated because of their race. The book tackles themes well. I for one learnt that as a mother you look at the bigger picture and have the best interests of the family as opposed to your personal comfort.
Grace’s character stood out for me. She came across as someone I would love to emulate. Her attitude towards everything that was happening to her was always positive. However, at the same time, I felt the author developed her character as someone who was too perfect especially in her attitude and approach to issues that affected her life. I also didn’t find it realistic in how the author decided to have Grace as an overly positive character.
The characters were well developed, I felt like part of the gang that used to hang out with Grace. The narrative is however to slow, the story develops so slowly at some point you ask yourself why it takes too long to move. The author left out certain encounters of the major characters, perhaps there will be a second book that precedes this one to tie up the loose ends. The author left me with so many unanswered questions but isn’t that what life is all about? Trying to figure out the unanswered questions that befall us.