A review: Dark Water Rising by Marian Hale

Dark Water Rising is a well written work of historical fiction which deals with the devastation caused in Galveston, Texas by a massive storm in 1900.

Sixteen-year-old Seth Braeden is not happy when his family moves from Lampasas to Galveston, but his father is drawn by the promise of a brighter future for his sons in this bustling new city, and doesn’t want to hear any complaints. Thomas Braeden dreams of sending all of his boys to college, but Seth desperately wants to become a carpenter, just like his dad.

Seth’s uncle finds him a job building houses near the beach, but the work will only last until school starts. Seth’s spirits are lifted by this chance to prove himself. He makes friends with the other boys on the building site, and even meets a pretty girl who promises to join him for a swim on the weekend. Everything is going well for Seth and his family, and he begins to think the move to Galveston was not such a bad thing after all.

When a storm warning is issued one hot afternoon, many of the Galveston Island residents flock to the beach to enjoy the spectacle, but as the storm strengthens and the Gulf surges, excitement turns to fear.

Seth watches in horror as the ocean rises up to reclaim the land. Streets flood, buildings are destroyed and soon Seth finds himself in a battle to survive, to find his family and friends and to somehow make sense of the destruction.

Marian Hale puts the reader right into the action and Seth’s struggles become our struggles.

Prior to reading Dark Water Rising I had heard vaguely of the terrible storm which swept away Galveston, but this book makes it all so very real.

My only worry is that it may be too dark, containing too much death and sorrow for a middle school reading assignment. The descriptions of the dead bodies are quite vivid!