My mother is a voracious reader, and she often says, "You'll want to read this one" to me. I usually don't read them because she reads a lot of what I consider to be badly written Christian novels. Don't get me wrong—I think there are a few, or a maybe a couple, of excellent contemporary novelists who are writing Christian fiction: Francine Rivers and Jamie Langston Turner.
But somehow my mother seemed different about her promotion of Lynn Austin, so I read Though Waters Roar. This was a pretty good story of one woman's struggles in the early 20th century to deal with her alcoholic husband and his snooty, pampering mother. Austin tackles a few major issues in the novel: slavery, Prohibition, women's suffrage, and class inequality. Maybe that was part of my problem with the book—there was just too much going on. I was irritated with the two stories going on (Beatrice and her granddaughter, Harriet) and the abrupt switching between "present" (which was about 1920) to past (which was about 1900). Harriet's story was so unimportant to the novel that it stood out painfully as an ill-used literary device. Austin is actually a pretty good writer for her genre. Her writing style didn't want to make me pull my hair out and yell "no one would really SAY that!"
Yesterday I was at my parents' house, and my Dad was reading a Lynn Austin novel. He proclaimed it to be excellent and said that Though Waters Roar was not anywhere up to par with the other Austin novels he has been reading.
I might read another Austin novel and give her another chance, but I'm not rushing to the library.