loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #06: The Angry Earth: A Story of the New Madrid Earthquakes by Sally Watson
After a long break, I will try to do some catching-up.
This is one of the newer books from one of my favourite authors, Sally Watson. Sally is well-known for her juvenile fiction published through 1954-1971 (my favourite, Jade, among them), but she began self-publishing new books in 2006 – present .
The Angry Earth is one of Sally’s more recent adult-level books, but it is still without the explicit violence or sex that you find so often in other historical fiction. I much prefer Sally’s style.
I read this a few months ago, coincidentally just past the bicentennial of the main event inspiring this story - the start of the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811. The New Madrid Seismic Zone is in the U.S.A. along the Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee border, but also goes into Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. (more info. on Wikipedia: New Madrid Seismic Zone ) Even though these were massive earthquakes, and they could happen again, very few of my American friends seem to have heard about it! Certainly when we think of earthquakes in the U.S.A., we think of the west coast, not the south/mid-west.
The Angry Earth follows the immigration of a privileged family from France, who due to a change in circumstance end up in a small frontier town in the U.S.A. of French and English. Their poor, twelve year old maidservant, Fleur, is left with most of the responsibility of getting them started in this new place, becoming one of the strong and independent heroine’s that are Sally’s specialty. In this already challenging setting, the family and town then all face the total upheaval of their lives and homes when the earthquakes begin.