Title: A Cup of Dust (A Novel of the Dust Bowl)
Author: Susie Finkbeiner
My rating is 4 stars.
Like the author I really don’t remember being taught much about the Dust Bowl. As I have gotten older and through various mediums I keep learning more and finding works of fiction that share more of what happened. I cannot imagine having a dust storm that literally turns the day to night and dirt getting into everything no matter how hard one tries to keep it out of the house.
Here we meet a family of four that has been surviving the dust storms and sharing what they have with anyone who has need. Besides most businesses in town being shut down and families moving on, there seems to be a constant and changing influx of hobos. The one that terrorizes the Spence family is a man named Eddie, and he specifically focus’s all his attention and intentions on Pearl the youngest daughter in the family.
Mary is the mother who takes care of the home and two daughters, the oldest is named Violet Jean. Mary cares for her mother in-law who lives with them and has a wonderful relationship with the Lord, spending her days helping in the house. Thomas is the father of the family, the local sheriff and cares for any remaining people in the town of Red River. There is a mystery as to why Eddie focuses on Pearl and seems bent on terrorizing her and a woman of the night called Winnie.
The pastor of this town seems to constantly be preaching that the reason for the lack of rain is due to the congregation’s sins. He preaches about hell and damnation, but not about God’s love, forgiveness and grace. The pastor’s wife is said to be mad though no one knows why; however, there is little tidbit about her past and that she used to practice witchcraft. Out of all the characters in the novel, he is one I liked the least. He seemed the least caring of the town folk too. Of course, his past occupation was working as a ringmaster in a circus, so maybe that carries on into his new occupation as a pastor.
Some of the novel will really show sacrificial love, protection of loved ones from evil or harm, restoration and redemption. I love how Violet Jean, though considered a simpleton, seems to at times grasp what is happening around her and then acts in a very loving way. I hope you make time to read about this fictional family and are reminded of the historical event of the Dust Bowl looking into what else occurred to towns and people. I would love to get the photography books the author mentions, which I think would really make an impact on who ever looks through them. Perhaps we all might be more thankful and less self-centered. I know I want to be more concerned about others not when it is easy, but when it is harder…more like Jesus.
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