And so I went from a book written about a family experiencing a financial depression in the 2030s, to a novel set in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl. While I Will Send Rain does a decent job of setting up the background of the Great Depression, I agree with whoever else reviewed it on CBR (sorry, couldn’t find it!): there’s way too much focus on the family and not enough of the historical information that I wanted.
Set in 1934, I Will Send Rain begins with the first dust storm that the Bell family — farmers in Oklahoma — has ever seen. By the end of the novel, they will have witnessed many more, along with the destruction of their family, their home and their livelihood. The focus of this novel isn’t really the dust, though — it’s how they each deal with it. The mother has an affair. The father begins to believe God is speaking to him in his dreams. And their children try desperately to keep the family together while dealing with demons of their own.
The author does an incredible job describing the force and destruction of the dust, and the effects on the town. Unfortunately, the family drama which takes up most of the novel didn’t grab my attention in the way that the weather did.