Cover Image: If It Rains

If It Rains

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The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl is the setting of this story. Learned so much about this time period and the hard times people went through. Their faith in the Lord to get them through-amazing. Enjoyed this book so much.
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If it rains by Jennifer Wright
Well written about the dust bowl and the Great Depression. A story about two sisters that were separated during the dust bowl.  Kathryn loved her father and sister, Melissa. She had to leave her home with her father, leaving her sister behind because she had married a wealthy resident of the town. Melissa couldn’t accept her life with her new husband, Henry because he didn’t care about the poor people of her town and treated Melissa with abuse. 
The adventures will keep you reading and is hard to put down.  
I received an ARC from the publisher and NetGallery. All opinions are my own.
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Don’t let the dust fool you about what’s inside!

Kathryn Baile, her older sister, and father have been working hard trying to survive the drought in Oklahoma during the great depression.  Aside from being born with a club foot, everything was going great until her father married an outsider from Indiana named Helen.  Then everything started going downhill when the drought began and the dust came.  Kathryn never like Helen, but at least she had her sister, Melissa; until the day came that Melissa married into the wealthiest family in the county.  Now Helen has managed to convince her father to travel back to Indianapolis to stay with her father, who is a doctor that can help Kathryn with her foot.  Kathryn reluctantly agrees to leave her beloved Oklahoma and soon disaster strikes against their travels.  Kathryn must rely on new unconventional travel companions and sheer will to complete her journey.

Melissa Baile just married into the wealthiest family in the county and hopes that she will be able to help her family as well as others.  But she discovers that the reason this family is so wealthy is due to their treatment of the other residents.  When she tries to help others, she is scathed by those she helps and punished by her own husband.  But her will to do good can’t be outdone and she goes behind to husband’s back to help those in need, even if it cost her life.

Although this novel is set in the dust bowl, there is so much more going on than just the historical aspect to the story.  Granted, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the historical accuracy played out across the pages from the dugouts to the dusters and the jackrabbit roundups to the government paying ranchers for their cattle and then doing what had to be done.  And to top it off is how Washington wanted to portray the dust bowl compared to what it was.

Outside of the historical perspective, the redemption story of both sisters played out beautifully.  Melissa had always had faith but had hers put firmly to the test.  Kathryn had trouble believing until she realized what unconditional love was.  Both stories were different yet intertwined.  I loved so many of the supporting characters throughout this novel as well.  Probably my two favorites were Mr. Hickory and Bert the photographer.  Both brought a different perspective to what we see in history as the Dust Bowl.  

I want to dive so much deeper, but then I feel that I would be giving a bit much away and want others to discover this wonderful book just like Dorothy discovered Oz.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
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If It Rains alternates between Kathryn and Melissa's point of view. These two sisters live very different lives, yet they both suffer from heartache and difficult situations.

"And what I remember is when the wind is angry and roaring and hell-bent on destroying you, there's a thin layer of quiet that covers you after you stop fighting and decide to let it. That was the kind of quiet filling my pa."

If It Rains is full of descriptive scenes. The writing is vivid and you can easily picture what is being described. The story portrays resilience in the midst of difficult circumstances. Both sisters have to show their strength in different ways and through trying situations, but they are both strong. The book appears to be well researched and true to the time period. In some ways this story is also about finding yourself and your faith.

"The whole world had gone mad. I had a beautiful home, fancy clothes, a full stomach...and still the rain refused to fall."

This book was difficult for me to read. I found it very slow and by halfway through I felt like nothing had happened. It was a very heavy read, which you expect from a story about the dust bowl, but there were no moments of humor and no lighter moments, everything was just heavy. This story was also heavy on descriptions, whereas I prefer a story to be heavy on dialogue and light on descriptions, or at least a balance between the two.

I would recommend this book to those who love historical fiction and don't mind a heavy read on an interesting topic.

Thank you to Net Galley and Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I started this book and couldn't put it down even though it was so sad at first. There's a beautiful parallel between the Wizard of Oz and the younger sister's story which I didn't pick up on right away. Set during the Dust Bowl the characters face all sorts of hardships, not just as "Okies" but also within their family. 
This addresses abuse, miscarriage, feelings of being alone. So many dark and hard things I set the book down and didn't pick it up for months because I needed to be in the right mindset for it. But I read it in those two sittings.  I will definitely recommend it because the writing is lovely. Just know it's not going to be your feel good happy romance novel that you might expect from the publisher. If you love the Wizard of Oz you'll love the tie ins.
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This was an amazing journey of two sisters who face the horrific Dust Bowl tragedy with courage and grace. Each sister is taken on a different journey as they do their best to navigate the storms. The story is told in first person through Katheryn and Melissa point of view (chapters clearly mark which sister is speaking). Melissa is whisked off to live with her new husband, young Kathryn Baile, who has had a few more challenges to overcome than the average bear, does her best to do life without her big sister.

This novel is gritty (in parts), and heart-wrenching, yet hopeful as this family goes through unbearable circumstances. The main and minor characters tug at your heart strings and give the reader a well-rounded grasp of how different, desperate people handled the dust bowl. Kathryn’s favorite book is The Wizard of Oz. She quickly learns that the world was meaner and scarier than Oz. This is a gripping, and insightful novel I could not stop reading. I was drawn into each of these sisters lives by their circumstances, the choices they make, and by their courage to keep fighting the good fight. All the while trying to make sense of it all as they question their faith and search for God, where was he in all of this. I liked how each girl learns what true love is all about.

This would make a memorable summer read and one that would work well for your next book club pick. It is rich in character, situation and will stay with you long after you close the book. This is the author’s incredible debut novel. Jennifer L. Wright is an author to watch.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
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Set in Oklahoma during the dust bowl era, this novel is a heartbreaking story of survival. Kathryn, born with a club foot felt the cruel eyes of many. Melissa, married to a wealthy man soon felt his cruelty. There were so many despicable characters in this story. I admired Kathryn's determination and Melissa's heart for others. Hard story but a worthy read. Recommended!
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Told in alternative voices between Kathryn and Melissa this book tells of the Dust Bowl years and the many changes it caused.
A journey that was filled with hope, family and learning to adapt to changes that life may throw their way.
At times, I thought they did rather well. 
Was life easy back then? No, just as life isn't easy for some even in modern times.
I think in my opinion Kathryn's part of the story I could relate to more on the family side of changes.
I didn't like my step mother either. I felt she was "forced" into my life whether I wanted her or not.
For Melissa I felt sorry for her. She had no idea what she was " getting" into. For people do show their true colors after a time.
This was a new author and story for me to try. 
I liked this book for the most part. It was a different view of the Dust Bowl. 
The author paints such vivid scenes that I could really hear the wind from the dust storms. Those must have been really scary! It made me shiver that much is for sure!
I highly recommend.
My thanks for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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One of the most moving lines in the book (to me) was in the Note From the Author at the end of the book, where she described watching a dust storm coming and that you could see the wall of dust coming for miles.  

The story line of If It Rains alternates between sisters.  One sister is married to a very well to do family; and the other sister (who has a club foot) goes towards Indianapolis when the family sells the farm (as a result of the Dust Bowl in the 1930's).  

I felt physically parched when reading this book (either a testament to the authors writing or due to listening via Siri while working outside in June).  It was interesting to read about this time in history; I hadn't previously read about the Dust Bowl.  

Probably rounding up from a 3.5 to 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher (Tryndale House Publishers) and the author Jennifer L. Wright for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.  Publication date is 06 Jul 2021.
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Told in alternate voices, the story is emotional and the reader can empathize with each character’s hard choices. Even the stepmother’s choices although at first glance were rather cruel, were emotional and hard. Kathryn’s search for home propels the story and keeps the reader turning the pages to hopefully find a satisfying ending.
Following Kathryn and her struggles, this reader was found herself rooting for a happy ending. The trials each character were real and the story developed where readers can imagine the difficulties that many people had in this time. This historical read was well researched and written. Recommended for those who like gripping historical fiction reads.
 I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and the publisher, Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.
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This is one of the saddest and most depressing books I have read in a long time. At the same time, it is very well written. As I’m reading it I feel like I am living the life of the characters along with them.

The subject of the book is the drought and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s in the American Midwest. The central characters of the story are the Baile family. 

The story is told in alternating voices of the two daughters. Kathryn at age 14 is the younger daughter. She was born with a club foot and her mother died in childbirth. She is forced to leave the only home she knows, accompanying her father and despised stepmother to Indianapolis, in search of a better life out of the Dust Bowl. She is full of anger at the world and herself. Kathryn's journey is a tough one.

Melissa is the older daughter who raised her younger sister. Melissa marries into a wealthy and stays back with her husband while she misses her sister. We soon find out that her marriage is not a happy one.

The descriptive passages in the book are vividly written. The dust and grit and dirt blowing around during this horrible time made my nose itchy and my eyes water. 

The disparity between the rich and the desperately poor is troubling. The strength of the characters is amazing.

This would not be classified as a Christian or religious novel but both girls have very strong beliefs in God. Their life experiences have them seriously reconsidering their faith when such bad things are happening. And they fall back on their belief when things get especially tough.

It's unusual that there are two new books published so close together about the Dust Bowl. While the general subject matter is the same as The Four Winds, the storylines are each unique. It would be hard not to compare them. They both have the theme of strong and tenacious women. And, both books end on a strong theme of hope for the future. 

Ms. Wright, the author did a tremendous amount of research to keep the historical facts in the novel accurate. 

Strangely, I loved the fact that The Wizard of Oz was present throughout the book. It was like a comfort feature between the two sisters in childhood and then throughout their hard separation.

As I mentioned in the beginning, it is a very sad and troubling story but because of the writing and character development, I couldn't help but keep reading, wishing them a good outcome.
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Such a hard time in our country, the Great Depression, and on top of it bad farming practices that led to the Dust Bowl, I can't even imagine what these poor people dealt with.

Through the words of the author we put faces on these struggling people. We meet the Baile family, one marrying into the wealthiest local family and the other struggling so much they are going to leave and move to Indianapolis. We meet the Baile sister's, Melissa, and fourteen year old Kathryn, and walk in their shoes as they go about their struggles.

There are some warm and loving moments here, but there are also some gasping at what an individual is capable of doing. I loved the strong faith shown here, and those that live their walk with the Lord.

For me I really enjoyed this read and the pages flew, until there wasn't anymore.

I received this book through the Publisher Tyndale House, and was not required to give a positive review.
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For me, this book was most effective at bringing the struggles of the Dust Bowl to life. It frankly wasn’t my most favorite read—I didn’t really connect with the characters like I’d hoped, and the reader’s first introduction to two characters was on their wedding night—but I did appreciate the obvious research the author had done. The setting was not an easy one to live through, let alone read about.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. Al opinions are my own.
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If It Rains is set on one of the most troubling times in US history, the Dirty Thirties. Set in he heart of it, Oklahoma, two sisters, Kathryn and Melissa, are beset with ear own challenges. I liked Melissa's character and feared her every action. I couldn't bring myself to like Kathryn. I thought she was intentionally mean and was too pigheaded for her own good. I think readers will feel the gamut of emotions with each sister's tale. Family is important and when separated it seems like an eternity. I actually liked this book better than Kristin Hannah's Four Winds, which is about the same subject, the Dust Bowl.
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My one mistake was starting this book when I had other things that needed attention. I found If It Rains hard to put down and hard to get out of my head. It’s not a feel good story, the setting recounts a very difficult time in America’s history. The characters are gritty and real. I wouldn’t describe any of them as likable but they are well-developed and the story woven together so well that I was invested in what happened to them from the first page.  I really enjoyed this book. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review.
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I really enjoyed this story. Reading about the dust bowl in the mid 30’s is always very educational and this one was done very well. It combines great research on how the dust storms would roll in and the damage they would leave behind along with living in a dugout and a family that had struggled for their livelihood. 
The story pulled me in from the first chapter and following along with Kathryn and Melissa was a great storyline. I came to care for both of the girls. The ending was great. Well done. I highly recommend. 
I want to thank Tyndale House Publishers along with NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read an ARC. Comes in with 5 stars.
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This was such an enjoyable story.  The history was very interesting and the research seemed to be meticulous.  The characters had depth and the plot was unexpected but very engaging.
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If It Rains is a wonderful historical fiction book written by Jennifer Wright. I enjoyed how much research was placed into the book and how the characters seemed to jump out from the page. Jennifer Wright did an awesome job in writing this book. Overall, I would recommend this book.

*Note this is a review for I had gotten an advance copy of the book in order to review it for others on and also for my blog.
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Situated in Oklahoma, 1930’s during the dust bowl., we face this dire situation from two viewpoints. Sisters Melissa and Kathryn. Melissa is recently married to the wealthiest bachelor in town, but it isn’t all it seems. Kathryn was born with a cleft foot, her father has just sold the farm, her sister is now married and her stepmother is moving them across country. We see their grit and their pain as these sisters learn that life doesn’t always turn out how you think it will. They also learn God is there, even in the dark & ugly times. An interesting perspective on the Dust Bowl era.
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This book is a really tough book that dealt with the harsh realities of the era the plot was set.

The chapters were written in a way that each sister had a chapter to herself. I love the bond between Melissa and Kathryn. It shows that family is truly everything.

Kathryn is a strong character for a fourteen years old. I believe she is the character on the book cover.

This book is not about roses and flowers. It exposes how people struggled to survive in a place where dust is everywhere and they badly needed rain.

Other characters were introduced in this book and each had their role to play on the plot.

There are lots of themes to glean from this book. Your faith will be strengthened when you rejoice in the knowledge that God watches over you.

This is not a “churchy” or “preachy” book. Anybody can read it.

Jennifer Wright writes well.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are mine.
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