Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows

Title: I Will Send Rain
Author: Rae Meadows 
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date: August 9, 2016
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's in her hair, covering the windowsills, coating the animals in the barn, in the corners of her children's dry, cracked lips. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. All around them the wheat harvests are drying out and people are packing up their belongings as storms lay waste to the Great Plains. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions. Annie's fragile young son, Fred, suffers from dust pneumonia; her headstrong daughter, Birdie, flush with first love, is choosing a dangerous path out of Mulehead; and Samuel, her husband, is plagued by disturbing dreams of rain.

As Annie, desperate for an escape of her own, flirts with the affections of an unlikely admirer, she must choose who she is going to become. With her warm storytelling and beautiful prose, Rae Meadows brings to life an unforgettable family that faces hardship with rare grit and determination. Rich in detail and epic in scope, I Will Send Rain is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, filled with hope, morality, and love."

My Two Cents:

"I Will Send Rain" is the story of the Bell family set against the beginning of the Dust Bowl years. Annie is bored with her marriage and wants more out of life. After a surprise flirtation with the mayor, she finds herself in a situation that she never could have expected. Birdie, Annie's daughter, has fallen head over heels with Cy, a farmer's son. She believes it to be true love and won't listen to her parents' reasoning but she gets into her own situation that will change her life as well as the lives of her family. Filled with great historical detail and bold characters, this is a read that I will be thinking about long after I read the last few words.

I haven't read a lot of historical fiction set during the 1930s, especially during the Dust Bowl years. It makes for a great setting. There is so much drama caused by the dust that consumed everything around it that automatically makes for an interesting read. I loved how the author was able to weave in the historical events of the time into the drama in the story. It is so hard for to imagine just how difficult these years were for so many in the center of the United States. People's lives and livelihoods were crushed. The juxtaposition between the chaos caused by the dust and the chaos caused by the decisions that the characters make in the book.

The characters are great! Annie is a strong woman but she wants to be loved and to feel the spark that she once had with her husband. I loved getting to know her through this book. I loved the juxtaposition between her and Birdie. Annie is a full-fledged adult and knows exactly what she is doing when she gets involved with the mayor. Birdie is blinded by first love and doesn't stop to think of the consequences. Even in the end, she seems to pull her "youthful ignorance" card and isn't willing to step up to the proverbial plate to take responsibility for her actions.

Overall, this is a great book! The writing is good and had a nice flow. The ending seemed a little abrupt but in a way where there did not really seem to be room for a sequel, which is unfortunate. I would have liked more closure but that took very little away from my enjoyment of the book. I really enjoyed the family secrets at the center of the book!



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