When Water Was Everywhere
Barbara Crane, author
Once upon a time in Los Angeles, water was everywhere—in rivers that rendered the vast plain marsh and woodland; in underground streams that provided an abundance of water for people, cattle, orchards and vineyards. The American Henry Scott encounters this fertile landscape in When Water Was Everywhere. Arriving in the Mexican pueblo of Los Angeles in 1842, he meets Don Rodrigo Tilman (based on the historical John Temple). Scott becomes the foreman of Tilman’s newly-purchased cattle ranch along the Los Angeles River, the present day Rancho Los Cerritos. As Scott learns about ranchos and cattle, vaqueros and Indians, Mexican California and Tongva Indian village life come alive under Barbara Crane’s deft grasp of narrative and history. Tilman, Scott, Big Headed Girl (a young Tongva Indian woman) and Padre José’s (a Franciscan friar) unfolding stories assure the novel’s themes of loss, hope and redemption resonate from every page.