If It Rains, a review by Di

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Jennifer L Wright

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Tyndale House Publishing
July 6, 2021
400 pages

This is one of the saddest and most depressing books I have read in a long time. At the same time, it is very well written. As I’m reading it I feel like I am living the life of the characters along with them.

The subject of the book is the drought and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s in the American Midwest. The central characters of the story are the Baile family.

The story is told in alternating voices of the two daughters. Kathryn at age 14 is the younger daughter. She was born with a club foot and her mother died in childbirth. She is forced to leave the only home she knows, accompanying her father and despised stepmother to Indianapolis, in search of a better life out of the Dust Bowl. She is full of anger at the world and herself. Kathryn’s journey is a tough one.

Melissa is the older daughter who raised her younger sister. Melissa marries into a wealthy and stays back with her husband while she misses her sister. We soon find out that her marriage is not a happy one.

The descriptive passages in the book are vividly written. The dust and grit and dirt blowing around during this horrible time made my nose itchy and my eyes water.

The disparity between the rich and the desperately poor is troubling. The strength of the characters is amazing.

This would not be classified as a Christian or religious novel but both girls have very strong beliefs in God. Their life experiences have them seriously reconsidering their faith when such bad things are happening. And they fall back on their belief when things get especially tough.

It’s unusual that there are two new books published so close together about the Dust Bowl. While the general subject matter is the same as The Four Winds, the storylines are each unique. It would be hard not to compare them. They both have the theme of strong and tenacious women. And, both books end on a strong theme of hope for the future.

Ms. Wright, the author did a tremendous amount of research to keep the historical facts in the novel accurate.

Strangely, I loved the fact that The Wizard of Oz was present throughout the book. It was like a comfort feature between the two sisters in childhood and then throughout their hard separation.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it is a very sad and troubling story but because of the writing and character development, I couldn’t help but keep reading, wishing them a good outcome.

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