Ten years after the end of the Civil War, the people of tiny Blair Creek Tennessee are rebuilding their lives. Stelly Stronmeyer, a nineteen year old teacher from Massachusetts, arrives, bringing with her lots of zeal for reform and a ton of misconceptions. She attracts the eye of Bryan Callahan, who longs to make his fortune elsewhere, ad also of Gordon Carmichael, a maimed and widowed soldier. At the same time, Edward Granger, a double traitor who disappeared at the war’s end, is spotted in Nashville. This throws his wife, Kathleen, into confusion. Olivia and Ethan Bromwell work tirelessly on behalf of their African American community, but with partial success. Retribution against Olivia sends her son, Sam, to Texas, where so many Tennesseans, white and black, have fled in search of a new start. If anyone remains firmly planted in the soil of Blair Creek, it is Ellen Blair. Along with her husband, Jonathan, she forms a stable nucleus around whom many lives revolve.
In keeping with the times, the people of Blair Creek place their hope in various places. Some rest in their faith. Some believe that the developing philosophy of capitalism is the answer, and they expect that money will buy a better world. Others look to politics to save Tennessee and the U.S.; still others, to the taming of the west. Their many stories unfold in By Streams of Water.
While this is a sequel to A Tree Firmly Planted, it is an enjoyable stand-alone read.
War is at the doorstep! Two sisters, Kathleen and Ellen, along with their maid, Sara, come of age just as their home state, Tennessee, secedes from the Union. Their peaceful home in Maury County is ripped apart by the horrors of slavery, the questions of states’ rights, economic strife, and religious dissension. The young women cope with the heights and depths of new love, marriage, parenthood, and work, all the while living on a battlefield. They encounter soldiers from both armies, spies, and marauders. Ellen’s suffering makes her thirst for God, while Kathleen seeks escape. Sara both longs to see and fears the army that is marching to liberate her people.
Will these three Tennessee women find peace? Will their love for each other and for the men in their lives survive the conflict? A Tree Firmly Planted explores these questions. Though it is fiction, it is interwoven with true stories of Maury County during the Civil War.