Flood: A Novel
Laura Brooks has done what she believed she’d never do: return to her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain. Laura’s life in Hannibal has always been stifling and unpleasant, full of unhappy memories and constant struggle–economic, personal, and environmental. During a terrible flood one fourth of July, her boyfriend, Sammy, committed a crime Laura simply can’t forgive, and she fled. She went to college and became a nursing assistant in Florida. But when things in Florida fall apart, Laura comes back home, claiming it’s only temporary. Laura isn’t surprised to find Hannibal exactly how she remembers it. Her best friend, Rose, is battling her ex, Josh; Josh is threatening to reveal Laura’s past transgressions; and Sammy is still angling for a second chance. As the Mississippi rises and another fourth of July approaches, Laura must decide if she’s willing to change her view of Hannibal–and her idea of how, and where, her life should be.
Flood reflects the author’s deep love for Hannibal, and her interest in the town shines through in the interwoven history of Mark Twain’s life. Young avoids sentimentalizing the rough locals, and Laura’s changing perception of them makes the story as textured and sharp-edged as most rural hometowns tend to be.
Melissa Scholes Young