Julie Wallace, an eighteen year old, is a young lady going into her senior year in high school, is with her family in their car going towards their new home. Within the first five pages, she is covered in mud. The reason Julie is in the mud? A young British man named Randolph "Rand" Wilkinson. Like a typical teenage girl, Julie is giggly and clumsy in front of a cute guy.
The Wallace family is heading to Alderton, where Mr. Wallace (formerly Rev.) has decided he wants to run Alderton's paper, The Sentinel. In another typical fashion, the Wallace family is mostly ill received after proving to be a "stuck together, hard working family" who always, always, seems to do the right thing. One of these "right things" is taking a great stand on the Yoder Steel/McKeevers issue.
The McKeevers are a very important family in Alderton. They control almost every store, company, and house. They also control the Yoder Steel plant, where they treat their workers like dirt. After several members of the Alderton community try to help this by wanting to have it be a Union company, Mr. McKeever, Sr., just turns downright nasty. The Wallaces run pieces in The Sentinel criticizing the conditions of the dam and, in a very unlikely fashion, Mr. McKeever pays people to go in and destroy The Sentinel press, office, and workers.
One day, however, it starts to rain. Alderton has suffered many terrible floods before, but this one is simply devastation. The huge dam breaks, sending thousands and thousands of gallons of water crashing into Alderton and its surrounding counties.
The flood is Catherine Marshall's strong point. While during the rest of the book writing is somewhat weak and young, her ability to so accurately describe the flood of 1937 is incredible.
This report prepared by Julie Ellard