17 November 2016

Review #555: I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.”

----Chuck Palahniuk

Rae Meadows, an award winning author, pens a heart wrenching story about a farm family in her new novel, I Will Send Rain that centers around the Bell family who have migrated to Oklahoma but gradually they get caught up in the fierce dust storms that disrupted their farm harvest, their health, their dreams and also their relationship among one another, but the woman of the family tries to hold her family together even if she needs to sacrifice her own happiness. A story of survival of a family and of the times of Dust Bowl and their struggle to hold up together.


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.

The Bells have migrated from Kansas to Mulehead in Oklahoma for a sustainable lifestyle with a farm producing harvest every year. Annie Bell, the woman of the family and mother of one young and mute son, Freddie, and a teenage and a bit rebellious daughter, Birdie, along with her husband, Samuel, is soon caught up in the ferocious Dust Bowl that hampered their lives. Firstly, the youngest member, Freddie becomes the victim of this dust storms as pneumonia claims his lung, yet the family doesn't move away from their farm and from the town, although all their neighbors are packing their bags and leaving to someplace safer than Mulehead. The onset of dust storms sets the teenage girl, Birdie onto a dangerous track of young love and escaping the town with an elder farm boy, whom she plans to marry sooner behind the backs of her parents. Samuel is pretty sure that a flood is coming through and that he must build a boat to protect his family, like his dreams asked him to follow that blindly. Annie and Samuel's marriage has already become sour and with the dust storms and Samuel's obsession of building a boat has made Annie seek for warmth and comfort in someone else's arm, but Annie must choose on whether she needs to protect herself or her family above everything else.

The story depicts a family's survival through hard times, as a natural calamity claims their bond of trust and love by questioning its strength. Among this four member family, only one stands strong against all odds, despite all her weaknesses. The story enlightens the readers with the character's plight through the difficult times that they face, as the author emotionally binds her story that will make the readers lose themselves in the deep sentiments offered by the story. The story is one hell of an addictive read, the moment I started reading about the Bells family, I felt myself getting gradually attached to this unusual family. And not to mention, the author has also vividly captured the timeline in this story line.

The author's writing style is evocative and extremely coherent hence the readers will find it easy to comprehend with the tale that is also laced with some deep hard core emotions, thereby turning it into an absorbing and emotional story with pain, loss and grief. The narrative is free flowing, articulate and often thought provoking, as a result, the readers can see to the core of the story line through their own perspectives. The pacing of the book is smooth like a silent brook with its layers unraveling gradually through the folds of the story.

The characters are extremely well developed and reflect enough realism in their down-to-earth demeanor. Moreover, the author has managed to bring out the complexity underlying the inner crust of the characters quite strikingly. The central character, Annie, is exceptionally honest human being, whose flaws, weaknesses, sacrifices and her selfishness, everything simply makes her thoroughly intriguing. Her ordeal with herself as well as with the nature is something truly astounding to read about. The readers are bound to feel that emotional despair for Annie and will connect with her mannerism very easily.

The climax is though heart breaking yet richly satisfying enough to give a proper justice to the central story line. In a nutshell, this captivating novel will keep the readers glued to its pages till the very end and will feel their pain deeply.

Verdict: A poignant yet engrossing tale of family love and loss.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Rae Meadows, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

Author Info:
Rae Meadows is the author of Calling Out, which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction, No One Tells Everything, a Poets & Writers Notable Novel, and most recently the widely praised novel, Mercy Train (in hardcover as Mothers and Daughters). Her fourth novel, I Will Send Rain, is forthcoming August 2016 from Henry Holt. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Visit her here

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1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait to read this one. Was refused approval for ARC, but will definitely be getting it to read. Great review as ever...so envious you got a copy to preview.


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