I Will Send Rain

Written by Rae Meadows
Review by Janice Derr

Mulehead, Oklahoma is in the midst of the longest dry spell that anyone can remember. Wheat crops are failing, cattle are dying, and the hot, dry, wind is blowing dust over everything in sight. The Bell family farm is engulfed in dust, and each sweltering day without rain only increases their anxiety. How much longer will they be able to keep their family together?

Both mother and daughter, Annie and Birdie, dream of escape. Teenage Birdie is in love for the first time and pins her hopes on marrying her boyfriend, Cy. If he would only ask her to marry him, perhaps they could depart this wasteland and start a new life out west. Annie starts a secret flirtation. If she gives in to her desires it would mean abandoning her family, but it might also offer the opportunity to leave farming behind and go off to Chicago. Meanwhile, the men in the family are resolved to stay. Samuel believes God will see them through this drought but fears when the rain begins again, there will be a flood of biblical proportions. His young son, Fred, mute from birth and suffering from dust pneumonia, isn’t sure what to do other than to stoically support his father. He helps him build a boat even though everyone in town ridicules them.

Meadows masterfully re-creates the desolate landscape of the Dust Bowl, and her story is rich with historical detail. The Bells are complex and engrossing characters. This is a story you aren’t likely to forget.