The Storm After

Gina Hooten

When the Great Hurricane of 1900 sweeps over Galveston Island, lives are lost and lives are changed. Told from the perspectives of four people:  John, a hard drinking, hardworking dockworker; Sarah Michelle, who loses a husband and son; Dean, a daring gambler with an unexpected past; and Sean, a boy with a secret, the only thing the four have in common is one storm that drives them together and the connections they make while trying to rebuild. As time passes, the four discover truths about themselves and each other and must learn to survive the real storm that follows.

An excellent work of historical fiction, Popp shows both the storm and its aftermath in a way that sucks in the reader. The hurricane doesn’t just destroy buildings, it leaves the characters shaken badly, and the family unit they form to survive becomes much more in time as they pull each other up and set out to rebuild their lives. While of the four, only Dean and Sean have a lot of depth to their characters, the interactions between the group and the others around them really make the reader feel connected to the suffering the people of Galveston must have felt during the hurricane. The use of the ghost in the tale adds a layer of omniscience to the story that makes it easier to follow the different plot threads and occasionally a bit of humor. One of the more interesting historical fiction works lately, Ms. Popp's tale is definitely worth the read!


Sarah Bradley