Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury
In 1913, a powerful and dangerous storm descends on the Great Lakes — and three sisters find their lives transformed amid the chaos in this "superb, character-driven adventure" (Publishers Weekly).
Great Lakes galley cook Sunny Colvin has her hands full feeding a freighter crew seven days a week, nine months a year. She also has a dream—to open a restaurant back home—but knows she'd never convince her husband, the steward, to leave the seafaring life he loves.
In Sunny's Lake Huron hometown, her sister, Agnes Inby, mourns her husband, a U.S. Life-Saving Serviceman who died in an accident she believes she could have prevented. Burdened with regret and longing for more than her job at the dry goods store, she looks for comfort in a secret infatuation.
Two hundred miles away in Cleveland, the youngest sister, Cordelia Blythe, has pinned her hopes for adventure on her marriage to a lake freighter captain. Finding herself alone and restless in her new town, she joins him on the season's last trip up the lakes.
On November 8, 1913, a powerful storm descends on the Great Lakes, bringing hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos all three women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.
Kinley Bryan's debut, a Historical Novels Review Editors' Choice, is inspired by actual events during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, as well as her own family history. "This is historical fiction at its best" (Molly Gartland, author of The Girl from the Hermitage).
Bryan debuts with a superb character-driven adventure following three sisters who are caught up in a historic storm on the Great Lakes in November 1913. The eldest sister, widowed Agnes Inby, cares for her cantankerous mother, who is trying to marry her off to Elzie Duncan, keeper of a life-saving station. Middle sister Sunny Colvin and her husband, Herb, work as cook and steward aboard the freighter Titus Brown on Lake Erie, where Sunny dreams of leaving the sailing life and opening her own restaurant. Youngest sister Cordelia Blythe is taking a honeymoon cruise on The Marguerite on Lake Huron, also known as "The Sweetwater Sea," with the ship's captain, whom she's eloped with and hardly knows. An exceptionally warm November makes the captains of both ships uneasy, as do signs portending danger. As the weather rapidly turns to freezing and a blizzard erupts, a series of destructive swells converge to produce harrowing conditions known among sailors as the "three sisters." Bryan writes with vigor and verve, whether relaying the characters' knowledge of sailing or digging into the sisters' personal dramas. Readers will eagerly follow Bryan through the rough and thrilling waters. (Self-published)