The Deepest Waters is another book I won in a promotional giveaway and truly enjoyed.
At first I thought the cover showed a ship sailing off the edge of the world, but what I thought was falling water on closer inspection turned out to be grasses on a shore. I think the picture is a symbolic of the story.
The story begins with the deep grief of the many widows on a ship that has managed to rescue a couple hundred women and children from a sinking ship that was carrying California gold to New York. But only six of the hundreds of men were rescued before the ship sank.
The crew on the rescuing ship divvies up their food amongst the widows. During the struggle through the storm and then becalming, the ship runs out of food. Laura discovers that her husband has never told his cold family in New York that he is married. She has never met them, and considering his description of them in his final letter to her, she does not want to meet them. But where is she to go? She has left her small family behind in California during the Gold Rush, and has no idea how she will pay to get back, or even if she will reach land after this disastrous honeymoon cruise.
There is a bit of Shakespearean feel to multiple reunions and feel good endings. There is only one really bad guy in the whole book, though there are people who view things through different lenses than Laura does. The captain of the rescuing ship is a Christian and a slave-owner. The slave, who is glad to finally have an owner who treats him well, is kind to Laura and shows her how to have gratitude during trying times. He had lost his children years before when a prior master sold them. There is another captain who thinks that a bird hitting him in the head is a sign from God. There are steamship company owners who try to sneak away from liability. And there are speculators who lost everything in the sinking of the ship with its cargo of gold and men. And there is a silly mother who faints a lot. Sorry, I have trouble abiding such a person.
I enjoyed reading the adventure and the history and the bumping of people against one another's needs and assumptions. I think most people would enjoy this book.