Six years after leaving Galveston, Brent Murphy finds himself on a train bound for the Texas island. He doesn’t understand what draws him home, but he knows he cannot avoid a confrontation with his father, who considers his son a failure. While Brent delays this meeting, the hurricane of the century strikes Galveston on 8 September 1900, killing 6000 people and destroying most of the island. In the ensuing struggle to survive, Brent faces his past, and in so doing, finds his life inextricably linked with the island and its people.
Hurricane is also a story of courage and the will to survive in spite of overwhelming death and devastation. Intertwined with Brent’s story are those of Sister Henrietta Mullins and the orphans in her care, Everett Maxwell and his yearning for a story that will sell newspapers, and Emma Sanders on her first day as a hospital nurse.
On my first visit to Galveston in 2003, I saw a film entitled The Great Storm. The pictures of the devastation wrought were awesome and haunting, made even more so when interspersed with personal remembrances and historical details. Janice Thompson has taken the facts and recollections and woven them into a powerful inspirational novel. This montage of glimpses into characters’ lives and thoughts, unveiled in a sequential timeline from four days before the hurricane to one year later, refuses to let the reader sit on the sidelines. Hurricane evokes tears, prayers, sorrow, and rejoicing as the reader endures the storm just as the islanders did more than a century ago.