April 16, 2015

On Shifting Sand

“Once I’m back upstairs, having stolen my way into the bathroom, I wash my hands, tap a drop of Ariel eau de toilette on my fingertips, and run them through my hair, ready to slip back into bed beside my slumbering husband, all evidence of my secret erased.”

On Shifting Sand, by Allison Pittman, is a beautifully written historical romance, taking place during the 1930s Dust Bowl. It grips the reader’s heartstrings and pulls them through a myriad of emotions.

Just like windblown Oklahoma during the years of the Dust Bowl, Nola Merrill’s life is dry and empty. She is a self destructive, emotionally damaged young preacher’s wife who yearns for something more. When a handsome friend of her husband’s stays with them (against her wishes) an affair ensues and her problems and self-loathing increases. With her betrayal hidden inside, she feels horrid and it seems her life has no purpose.

Nola asks God for forgiveness – but will she feel fully cleansed without seeking her husband forgiveness and love?

This book is such an emotional read. I like that it is told in first person, from Nola’s point of view. This allows the reader to seep into Nola’s psyche and shows why she feels and does the things she does. It’s easy to sink into this character and difficult to put her story down. On Shifting Sand is an emotional, memorable, satisfying read.

Q&A with author, Allison Pittman

Question: The story is written from the perspective of Nola Merrill, who finds herself in an adulterous relationship. Why did you decide to write the story from the perspective of an unreliable narrator?

Answer: I think we are all unreliable narrators in our own lives, especially when it comes to facing our sin. We justify our sin, proclaim ourselves victims, assign blame and downplay responsibility. We can bury ourselves so deeply in guilt, we’re blind to the idea of redemption, so we ignore what God tells us about confession and grace and mercy. We lie to ourselves the same way Nola lies to herself—and, thereby, to the readers. I have no doubt this character will make readers uncomfortable. She made me uncomfortable. They are going to be frustrated with her choices, disappointed by her actions, but I’m OK with that. I think Nola is the realest character I’ve ever created.

Cover: Love it
Title: Love it
Publisher: Tyndale Publishers, Inc.
Pages: 416
First Lines: The bath water was hot when I first got in. Hot enough to steam the mirror and turn my skin an angry red, with white finger-shaped dots where I poked it. Punishing hot, Ma would have said, and that first sting getting in felt a lot like the touch of Pa’s belt against my legs when I was little.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy from Tyndale House. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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