The Bell family settled on their plot in Oklahoma when the farming was good. Annie and Samuel arrived with nothing but the supplies in their covered wagon, but they manage to make themselves a home and a successful farm. Life isn't easy for Annie Bell. She's a practical woman who is used to hard work and harsh realities, but deep inside she can't help but long for a different sort of life. Then the couple watch helplessly as their fertile soil blows away and their crops die in the terrible drought that brings on the Dust Bowl. The town around them falls apart, and every week brings news of another farm that has been abandoned, another family that has pulled up stakes and moved west in search of new opportunities. The Bells face more problems than just the lack of rain as Annie's young son falls ill with dust pneumonia and Annie struggles not only with the harsh life on the Oklahoma plains but also with her own inner demons as her husband edges toward madness with dreams of rain and the certainty that God has asked him to build an ark. Annie seeks solace with another man, furthering a rift between her and her husband that started to form years earlier when their infant daughter died.
Told in alternating points of view that bounce between members of the Bell family, this book highlights what is likely only the beginning of the struggles the Bell family -- and other farming families -- come to endure during the Dust Bowl.
Reviewed by ba, 10/16. Other reviews by ba.