One thing I really appreciate is when authors take the hard topics head on. While it doesn’t always make for an easy read, I don’t think we can ignore them. Our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our church going friends…these are things that happen and I’m thankful for authors who want to bring that to light.
Long before anyone would christen it “The Dust Bowl,” Nola Merrill senses the destruction. She’s been drying up bit by bit since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by a father who withholds his affection the way God keeps a grip on the Oklahoma rain. A hasty marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn’t bring the escape she desired. Now, twelve years later with two children to raise, new seeds of dissatisfaction take root.
When Jim, a mysterious drifter and long-lost friend from her husband’s past, takes refuge in their home, Nola slowly springs to life under his attentions until a single, reckless encounter brings her to commit the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. For months Nola withers in the wake of the sin she so desperately tries to bury. Guilt and shame consume her physically and spiritually, until an opportunity arises that will bring the family far from the drought and dust of Oklahoma. Or so she thinks. As the storms follow, she is consumed with the burden of her sin and confesses all, hoping to find Russ’s love strong enough to stand the test.
As I’ve said, I really appreciated the topic because it’s one never really spoken about in church circles from this point of view. Is adultery the end of a marriage? How could a Christian do something like that? What makes a person break their vows? I think Pittman did an excellent job delving into this topic.
She also did an excellent job in research and describing what living through the Dust Bowl was like; from the emotions, from the feelings (I felt the dust), to how towns became deserted. You really become part of the story in that way.
It got a bit slow for me in the middle and that took away from my overall enjoyment. I didn’t expect it to be rushed, because that would have lost its impact and believability, but it stretched to a point where I almost lost interest, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I appreciated the ending – it was real and there were important lessons from all those involved.
Life is hard and life can be messy, and sometimes it’s all our fault, but there’s grace and there’s mercy ready to free us.
Have y’all read this book?