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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Saltwater and Driftwood by Anna J. Walner is a historical fiction drama that follows a young girl and her family's ordeal during one of the worst natural disasters on US soil, The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. While rummaging through her grandmother Clara's stuff after her death, Andrea stumbles upon a journal she had written as a teenager. Sixteen-year-old Clara struggles to live up to her mother's expectations. She wants Clara to attend the Debutante Gala and navigate Galveston high society like a proper young lady. To her mother's chagrin, Clara covets freedom and wants to marry for love. Courted by an enterprising young man, Clara somehow manages to persuade her parents to respect her wishes. But then disaster strikes as The Great Storm tears Galveston apart. How will Clara cope?
A captivating tale of survival and human resilience, Saltwater and Driftwood hooks you in from the start and refuses to let go until the end. Author Anna J. Walner perfectly captures the sense of panic and dread in the face of calamity and draws an accurate portrayal of arguably the greatest natural catastrophe in recent American history. The characters are grounded and relatable, and the narrative exudes realism. It makes the stakes feel real and provides readers with a compelling plot filled with twists and turns. Clara is an independent thinker with a tenacious mind that longs to be free. You can't help but root for her as she fights for survival. Recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction or survival stories.