By Gini Rainey
“Oleanders in June: A Novel” by Whitney Vandiver
If you haven’t picked up and read a copy of this book – and you live in the Galveston area – what are you waiting for? Even if you don’t live in the Galveston area, this book has enough romance, human interest, and historical data to satisfy just about anyone who loves to read. Filled with an amazing amount of historical information about Galveston leading up to the Great Storm of 1900 – also known as the largest natural disaster in US history, this book by Vandiver will have you intrigued and page-turning to the very end.
With character-building skills that are enviable, Ms. Vandiver has not only created some very interesting characters to inhabit her pages, but has also woven their lives into interactions with some of the characters whose names are among Galveston’s turn-of-the-century notoriety. Drawing on the incredible wealth of historical knowledge available through the Galveston Historical Foundation, the Moody Foundation, the Rosenberg Library, and the Mitchell Historic Properties, Vandiver has re-created the life and times of 1900 Galveston.
Using the U.S Weather Bureau’s actual Dr. Isaac Cline, who went down in history as a highly intellectual man who held his duty above all things, as one of the main characters, along with his brother Joseph and the fictitious Alfred Ridgeway, Vandiver shares the weather occurrences which led up to the loss of nearly 6,000 lives in such an engrossing manner, that this book was definitely very difficult to put down. Add all of that to Alfred’s courtship of his true love and throw in some of the scoundrels of Galveston’s underbelly, you wind up with one attention-grabbing read.
While the nearly 600 pages of this book might appear to be a bit daunting, I have to say that every moment spent reading it was well spent as this is one of the most enjoyable and informative books that I have had the opportunity to read in quite a long time.
5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Northern Pines Press