Harriet is in jail and how she got there is what this story is all about. Her grandmother Beatrice, Bebe for short, has a huge influence on Harriet's life, and much of the book is made up of the stories of her life that she relates to Harriet as Harriet grows up. The book jumps around with Bebe sometimes a child and the lessons she learned from her mother in fighting slavery and helping the Underground Railroad, then back to Harriet as a child and her determination to not end up like her silly mother or sister and most definitely, to not get married. Most of it centers on Bebe as a married woman and the difficulties she faces with her husband and mother-in-law. She ends up working for Prohibition and the Suffrage Movement with her daughter Lucy also getting involved, which causes Harriet to question what her purpose and achievement will be. Three generations of women before her all have accomplished amazing things and she has big shoes to fill.
Bebe's mother tries to instill in her the importance of trusting in God and doing what He wants her to do. She struggles when she's young with fear and wanting to go her own way, but as she starts to trust God more, she's able to make the right choices and endure difficult circumstances because she turns to God and depends on Him instead of a person or circumstances to make her happy. The book's title is taken from Psalm 46:1-3: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Water plays an important part in Bebe's life, from the river near her house as a child, to an important event in her married life that changes everything.
This book wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I thought it would be more about Harriet and not her grandmother. Bebe's life was interesting, but also frustrating and sad. I liked learning more about Prohibition and the Suffrage movements. I loved Harriet and wish we would have gotten more of her story. I really liked the book's message and Lynn's writing is amazing. I've read a few of her books and plan to read them all. This was a good book and I would recommend it.