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“As I read I Will Send Rain, I was transported to the West of the 1930s as the Dust Bowl storms began. Annie Bell is struggling to keep her home, body, and family free of the layers of dust that reappear as fast as they are wiped clean. Her husband has constant dreams of rain; her teenage daughter is blinded by love; her young son suffers from dust pneumonia; and now an admirer is forcing Annie to question her own ethics and being. I was moved by the characters, the historical background, the heartache, and the simultaneous longing and complacency that make this a beautiful and powerful story.”
— Lori Fazio, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
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.
"A powerful rendering of human resilience."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A book about Oklahoma in the 1930s demands a spare . . .style to match the landscape. "I Will Send Rain" obliges . . . .evocative. . . timeless . . . These characters learn to practice kindness, even without knowing one another fully."
—New York Times Book Review
"Rae Meadows' I Will Send Rain is as lush and powerful as the novel's Dust Bowl setting is dry and cracked--Meadows paints the Bell family's desperation with compassion and warmth, and her precise language turns grit into gold."
"I Will Send Rain is meticulously researched, deeply felt, and beautifully written, and I loved immersing myself in its harsh and elegant world."
"In I Will Send Rain you'll find compassion, heartbreak, and not a word out of place. Meadows shares with John Steinbeck not just a gigantic empathy but a gigantic storytelling gift. This is a novel where love and laughter abide."
"Lyrical, devastating… With echoes of Faulkner and Steinbeck, each character chases after a meager form of comfort and stability in this harsh, unforgiving landscape, where ‘every direction was the same. Flat, colorless, known.’ Annie's efforts to save herself and her family end in sadness, but her refusal to submit to hopelessness shines through the dust and the tears.”
—Oprah.com "Books to Read if You Love Fierce, Smart Women"
"With deft and lyrical prose, Rae Meadows weaves a tale of love, hope and survival . . . wrapped up in lovely, evocative and powerful prose, making I Will Send Rain a book that will captivate you, and remain with you long after you have closed the cover."
"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...A vibrant, absorbing novel that stays with the reader."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"An exceptional talent for creating vivid imagery and a tender regard for her characters mark Meadows’ new novel. . .Similar to John Steinbeck’s haunting portrait of tenant farmers in The Grapes of Wrath, but also with the gritty, bittersweet elements in Rilla Askew’s Harpsong (2007) and the poignant lyricism of Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust (1997)."
-Booklist, starred review
“[I Will Send Rain] make[s] the past feel modern and create[s] an easy kinship between the reader and Meadows’s pitch-perfect characters. Alternately delicate and elegiac, glowing and ferocious, this slow dance through the devastation of history leaves readers with a glimpse of the cost to those who stayed to brave the hard times.”
“I Will Send Rain is delightfully vivid, both in the setting and the windows into the characters. The reader can taste the dust, and the longing in the characters' mouths. I didn't feel that I was reading as much as watching, and that kind of dive into prose always speaks highly for a novel. I Will Send Rain is an impressive showing from Meadows, well worth checking out.”