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I Will Send Rain
by Rae Meadows


Overview -

A luminous, tenderly rendered novel of a woman fighting for her family's survival in the early years of the Dust Bowl; from the acclaimed and award-winning Rae Meadows.

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.  Read more...


 
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More About I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows
 
 
 
Overview

A luminous, tenderly rendered novel of a woman fighting for her family's survival in the early years of the Dust Bowl; from the acclaimed and award-winning Rae Meadows.

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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781627794268
  • ISBN-10: 1627794263
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: August 2016
  • Page Count: 272


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-06-06
  • Reviewer: Staff

Meadows’s (Calling Out) dark, moving novel chronicles a turning point in the lives of the Bells, a farming family in 1930s Oklahoma. After severe droughts and several dust storms, families are known to pack up and suddenly disappear from the once populous town of Mulehead. Annie Bell recognizes the restlessness in her teen daughter, Birdie, and hopes that Birdie gives herself a shot at a better life elsewhere rather than marrying local boy Cy Mack. Annie feels particularly unmoored herself; her attraction to Mayor Jack Lily—formerly a Chicago newspaper reporter—grows as her husband, Samuel, becomes increasingly religious. Annie and Samuel’s bond has been tenuous since their second child, Eleanor, died as an infant. It doesn’t help that Samuel regards the drought as a test from God and thinks of his nightmares of an upcoming flood as prophecy. Meadows writes the youngest Bell, sweet eight-year-old Fred, especially well. Fred, who has been mute since birth and besieged with chronic breathing problems, has a love of animals and an endearing, thoughtful nature. Annie and John begin an affair around the time Samuel begins constructing an ark with Fred’s help, and Birdie soon finds herself with a secret. Sinister imagery is restrained but has impact: a town rabbit hunt that turns into a bloodthirsty killing spree ends with Fred trying to cry out while protecting the last trembling animal in his lap. Meadows’s strength lies in letting her story be guided by the shadow and light of her well-rendered characters. When tragedy strikes or hope emerges, it makes sense and comes to fruition organically. This makes for a vibrant, absorbing novel that stays with the reader. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, the Book Group. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Down in the dust

Rae Meadows’ latest novel, I Will Send Rain, plunges her readers into Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl from the very first pages: The Bell family is hunkered down in the two-room dugout Samuel carved out of the earth when he and Annie arrived 19 years earlier. It’s 1934, and Mulehead, Oklahoma, is being hit with its first dust storm—with many to follow. When Samuel and Annie and their children, Birdie, 15, and Fred, 8, emerge, they see the garden, the house, the wheat in the fields buried under feet of dust.

As the drought rolls on, families begin to disappear, defeated by both the lack of rain and the increasingly frequent dust storms. Samuel turns to religion. Convinced that God has a plan, he decides to build a boat—an ark that, like Noah’s, will bring them to safety when the deluge finally arrives. Annie, on the other hand, has given up on God. Irritated by Samuel’s obsession with his boat, she drifts into a flirtatious relationship with the town mayor.

The strength of Meadows’ novel lies with these sympathetic and carefully drawn characters, each one confronting this harsh reality in his or her own way. Regardless of how much readers know about the Dust Bowl, reading this thoroughly engaging and meticulously researched novel will make them feel as if they have experienced it themselves.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews