Monday, October 5, 2009

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin - MY REVIEW

“When we don’t get our way, and when our life doesn’t turn out the way it should, we face a choice. We can let bitterness grow or let the love of God grow.” (p.166)

Lynn Austin can layer a story better than anyone I know, and her latest novel, Though Waters Roar, tells a beautiful story of four generations of women who find themselves in less than desirable circumstances. Rather than give in to the bitterness that threatens and turn away from their commitments and the people they love, these women learn to face their circumstances with God as their strength, and over time they are able to contribute to the lives of those around them in ways more meaningful than they could have ever dreamed.

Most of this story is told through the eyes of Grandma Bebe as she shares the stories of family struggles with her granddaughter Harriet. See, the story opens with Harriet in jail contemplating all of the circumstances leading up to the decision that brought her to this moment. Her memories wander back to the enormous amounts of time spent at her grandmother’s “knee,” as it were, learning about the ways God used members of her family. Spanning time from the Underground Railroad, through the Civil War, into prohibition and on into the women’s suffrage movement, Allison’s family has found meaning in serving others. Their service, however, never began willingly, because the women of Allison’s family were strong-willed, rather self-centered ladies who thought the plans they had for themselves were the best plans.

In each generation, these strong women had to come to a place of turning from bitterness and hurt into the loving arms of the Savior before they were able to surrender their hearts to something greater and more meaningful than their small sphere of existence. The story is layered with broken relationships, damaging addictions, social differences and the stigmas that often accompany them – an amazing myriad of circumstances all woven together to tell the beautiful story of redemption and surrender. Truly, each circumstance in this story is as relevant and timely today as it was in the century prior – the setting of most of the story. The characters are realistically and richly created with strengths and weaknesses that all readers will recognize.

Everyone should have a Grandma Bebe in their lives! She was my absolute favorite character, and she was central to most of the events in the story. Her wisdom and strength are timeless, and her faith grew into something all of us can strive for. There will always be “causes” to drive us forward, and there will always be difficulties to drive us backward. But when we turn to God and seek His guidance, then and only then will our life become meaningful and filled with purpose to sustain us…Though Waters Roar.


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

1 comment:

adge said...

I agree. Lynn Austin can layer a book better than anyone I know too.