"A powerful rendering of human resilience."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A book about Oklahoma in the 1930s demands a spare . . .style to match the landscape. "I Will Send Rain" obliges . . . .evocative. . . timeless . . . These characters learn to practice kindness, even without knowing one another fully."
New York Times Book Review
"Rae Meadows' I Will Send Rain is as lush and powerful as the novel's Dust Bowl setting is dry and crackedMeadows paints the Bell family's desperation with compassion and warmth, and her precise language turns grit into gold."
"I Will Send Rain is meticulously researched, deeply felt, and beautifully written, and I loved immersing myself in its harsh and elegant world."
"In I Will Send Rain you'll find compassion, heartbreak, and not a word out of place. Meadows shares with John Steinbeck not just a gigantic empathy but a gigantic storytelling gift. This is a novel where love and laughter abide."
"Lyrical, devastating… With echoes of Faulkner and Steinbeck, each character chases after a meager form of comfort and stability in this harsh, unforgiving landscape, where ‘every direction was the same. Flat, colorless, known.’ Annie's efforts to save herself and her family end in sadness, but her refusal to submit to hopelessness shines through the dust and the tears.”
Oprah.com "Books to Read if You Love Fierce, Smart Women"
"With deft and lyrical prose, Rae Meadows weaves a tale of love, hope and survival . . . wrapped up in lovely, evocative and powerful prose, making I Will Send Rain a book that will captivate you, and remain with you long after you have closed the cover."
"Meadows’s strength lies in letting her story be guided by the shadow and light of her well-rendered characters. When tragedy strikes or hope emerges, it makes sense and comes to fruition organically...A vibrant, absorbing novel that stays with the reader."
Publishers Weekly, starred review
"An exceptional talent for creating vivid imagery and a tender regard for her characters mark Meadows’ new novel. . .Similar to John Steinbeck’s haunting portrait of tenant farmers in The Grapes of Wrath, but also with the gritty, bittersweet elements in Rilla Askew’s Harpsong (2007) and the poignant lyricism of Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust (1997)."
-Booklist, starred review
“[I Will Send Rain] make[s] the past feel modern and create[s] an easy kinship between the reader and Meadows’s pitch-perfect characters. Alternately delicate and elegiac, glowing and ferocious, this slow dance through the devastation of history leaves readers with a glimpse of the cost to those who stayed to brave the hard times.”
“I Will Send Rain is delightfully vivid, both in the setting and the windows into the characters. The reader can taste the dust, and the longing in the characters' mouths. I didn't feel that I was reading as much as watching, and that kind of dive into prose always speaks highly for a novel. I Will Send Rain is an impressive showing from Meadows, well worth checking out.”
Meadows’s (Calling Out) dark, moving novel chronicles a turning point in the lives of the Bells, a farming family in 1930s Oklahoma. After severe droughts and several dust storms, families are known to pack up and suddenly disappear from the once populous town of Mulehead. Annie Bell recognizes the restlessness in her teen daughter, Birdie, and hopes that Birdie gives herself a shot at a better life elsewhere rather than marrying local boy Cy Mack. Annie feels particularly unmoored herself; her attraction to Mayor Jack Lily—formerly a Chicago newspaper reporter—grows as her husband, Samuel, becomes increasingly religious. Annie and Samuel’s bond has been tenuous since their second child, Eleanor, died as an infant. It doesn’t help that Samuel regards the drought as a test from God and thinks of his nightmares of an upcoming flood as prophecy. Meadows writes the youngest Bell, sweet eight-year-old Fred, especially well. Fred, who has been mute since birth and besieged with chronic breathing problems, has a love of animals and an endearing, thoughtful nature. Annie and John begin an affair around the time Samuel begins constructing an ark with Fred’s help, and Birdie soon finds herself with a secret. Sinister imagery is restrained but has impact: a town rabbit hunt that turns into a bloodthirsty killing spree ends with Fred trying to cry out while protecting the last trembling animal in his lap. Meadows’s strength lies in letting her story be guided by the shadow and light of her well-rendered characters. When tragedy strikes or hope emerges, it makes sense and comes to fruition organically. This makes for a vibrant, absorbing novel that stays with the reader. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, the Book Group. (Aug.)
Set in Dust Bowl Oklahoma in the early 1930s, this is the harrowing story of a farm family struggling to survive a seemingly endless drought and the privations it brings.Drawing her title from a verse in Deuteronomy, author Meadows (Mercy Train, 2012) focuses on the Bell family, Annie and Samuel, who have migrated from Kansas in search of a better life, and their children Birdie and Fred. The book begins slowly, as the author introduces her resolute characters, who are trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life, and describes, in vivid detail, the parched, unforgiving landscape where dust storms destroy fields and crops. Then the pace picks up: Birdie, a headstrong 15-year-old, has been carrying on with Cy, the son of a local farmer; now Annie, a devoted farm wife who hasn't completely lost her youthful spark, is tempted by the advances of the slick town mayor. Dreamy 8-year-old Fred, who doesn't speak, communicating via a small chalkboard he carries with him, develops a lung ailment, and the God-fearing Samuel, perhaps the most overwhelmed member of the family, starts building a boat—convinced, somehow, that flooding rains are on the way and he will need to shelter his family with his own version of Noah's Ark. The writing is richly evocative throughout, precise in its depiction of the harsh natural world and tender in its renderings of the complicated emotional lives of the main characters. The author has an abundance of feeling for the Bells, and the reader comes to care deeply about them as they deal with unimaginable loss. There's a relentless quality to the novel, and it can almost seem too grim, especially at the end. But there are saving graces in the form of powerful writing and memorable characters who are hard to shake off even after you've read the last page.