Beatrice Monroe was taken from her life as a quiet farm worker when she met and married Horatio Garner. Her world is forever altered when he takes her away to his home and his mother attempts the transform Bebe from the farm worker she was into the socialite Mrs. Garner is. Through it all, Bebe found a purpose for her life when she discovered that her new husband was taken to drinking-to aid the Prohibition cause by shutting down saloons and appealing to the politicians. Her daughter, Lucy, did not share these views at first and allowed herself to be raised by her father's mother. How Lucy has two daughters of her own-Alice and Harriet. Now Harriet sits in a jail cell because of the very thing her grandmother tried to prevent. While she is in jail, she reflects on the stories she has heard about her mother and grandmother and tries to find a purpose for her life as they did. But things are complicated when one is in a jail cell...
As you can see by my scattered summary of the plot, Though Waters Roar is an epic covering the lives of three generations of the same family, as told by Harriet. Through good characters and original plot elements, Lynn Austin crafts an interesting read that is only kept from the five star rating because she is too long-winded with her book.
Bebe, Lucy, and Harriet are all good, imperfect leads with personalities, even though they are all similar. Other characters are also well-developed, such as Horatio. The good thing about most epics is that there isn't usually a villain because their is no need for one. Yet an epic needs good characters just the same, and as usual, Lynn Austin delivered in the character department.
Bebe's life is the most realistic and interesting portion of the book. It seems as though Lynn tried the hardest on this section, because it shows. Lucy's life is runner-up, not because of lack of original plot elements, but because not as much thought was put into it as there was in Bebe's. Harriet's account is the worst, mostly because Lynn took the liberty in this portion to begin doing typical things she avoided doing in the other two portions. A cheesy romantic subplot is introduced, despite previous opposition to the notion; it turns out that Harriet didn't deserve to be in jail at all; and this portion is generally not needed except to recount the other two portions, which can be done in an alternate fashion. What I'm saying is, the fact itself that this book is nearly 500 pages long does not keep in from being five stars. The fact that keeps it from being five stars is that Lynn did not want to end her book where it needed to end. The eternal progression of the book caused a natural entropy in quality. However, there are many original plot elements to enjoy in Bebe's and Lucy's tales, which keep the book from being any worse.
Lynn Austin has proved that she is better than the other authors she is often grouped with because she is willing to devote time and energy to developing her characters and her plots rather than led them slide by borrowing overused ideas. If she continues this trend, she'll have a five star book in no time.