In the present day, Kansas University geography professor Katie Robbins’visit to Carnahan Creek-Garrison Cemetery atop the Tuttle Creek Reservoir—to find her third-cousin’s gravesite—is interrupted when, without warning, she finds herself transported to 1937. There, dressed in mid-calf vintage dresses and ferried about in Model A Fords, Katie becomes caught up in a local fight against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed immense dam on the Big Blue River—a project whose consequent reservoir would cover the entirety of the pre-existent Blue River Valley and the homes within it. Her boyfriend, Jason Cowley, also becomes embroiled in the conflict, having followed her via the abandoned house through which most time travel in the novel takes place. (Curiously, Katie’s initial temporal jump appears to occur spontaneously.) So, too, does Mark Kaplan, a conscientious surveyor who, alongside Katie, collaborates with a large, revolving cast of characters to develop a viable alternate “watershed solution” to bring before the U.S. Congress. In fierce opposition to Katie, Jason, and Mark are local activist Penny Swenson and Doug Blackwell, a Fowler Engineering employee from Kansas City determined to push the dam through. As the narrative flits between the perspectives of Katie, Jason, Katie’s cousin Marcia, and a whole host of other Blue Valley residents, it occasionally reads as overly peripatetic. Also, because many of the shifts in time are so subtle—a year or two, say, or a matter of months—it makes the overall structure of the narrative feel clunky; as a result, some readers may find it be difficult to trace the more convoluted inner workings of Reynolds’ plot. Even so, the novel retains an earnestness and strength of conviction which ultimately proves redemptive.

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