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On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman
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On Shifting Sand

by Allison Pittman

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Title: On Shifting Sand
Author: Allison Pittman
Pages: 416
Year: 2015
Publisher: Tyndale
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
The story is told from the main female character named Nola who lives in Oklahoma with her husband Russ and two young children. As I began reading I remembered a movie I watched which depicted quite realistically the Dust Bowl conditions of the land many years ago. The Dust Bowl is used as a setting by the author to depict both a physical as well as spiritual realities of what life is like without care, watering, proper stewardship and more. Nola is struggling as a ministers wife feeling like she is always second to the needs of those in the church. After each storm the people of the small town would gather at the church to pray as well as count heads to see if any people were missing.
As time goes on not only does the town population diminish but so does the heart of Nola. When she is at her lowest point she rationalizes her choice to commit a sin which leads her despair all the while it seems her husband never notices. The hurt feelings Nola experiences and loneliness for time with Russ her husband brings to drive a wedge into her marriage and makes her blind to the rationalization she uses when she chooses not to flee from temptation.
Later in the story it was really awesome in the way the author uses descriptions to help readers visualize the depth of need for God in our hearts. There is hope in the novel by the ending and depicts that while marriage is not all roses there is always a choice to draw near to God during the times of thorns, or hardship. Forgiveness can be easily spoken even requested but when Nola really sees with new eyes the depth of her sin, she finally faces the hard task of bearing it all to her husband.
Unlike other novels the authors doesn’t rap the tale up in a pretty bow, but leaves the ending open for reasons which she shares in the author’s notes section. Any person who has been married for a time knows that times of drought come and they are no picnic, nor are they pain free. Yet, there is always a choice before both the husband and the wife to completely honest with the Lord and each other. In the novel we see Nola had to honest about her reoccurring affair and her choice to participate in the sin. Russ has a part of his soul that needs forgiveness and healing too but I will let you discover that as you read this very captivating book.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Aug 13, 2015 |
Long before the Dust Bowl hit their small town in Oklahoma, Nola Merrill feels like she's been drying up bit by bit ever since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by her stern father. A hasty to marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn't bring her the escape she desired, and twelve years later, with two children to raise, dissatisfaction with her life takes hold of her once again.

When Jim, a mysterious drifter and a long loss friend of her husband's takes refuge in their home during a dust storm, Nola slowly springs to life under his attention, until a single, reckless encounter causes her to commit the ultimate betrayal to Russ. For months afterwards, guilt and shame consume Nola, until an opportunity arises that will take her family far from the drought and the dust of Oklahoma, but she can never get far enough away to forget the past, and she considers confessing to Russ, but if she does, will his love be strong enough to forgive?

I really enjoyed this story, and the author does a great job of bringing what it must have felt like to live with the drought and the dirt vividly to life, and also what brings Nola to make the decisions that she makes. Although the plot lines are different, this story definitely had a "Grapes of Wrath" feel to it. ( )
  mom2acat | Jun 23, 2015 |
Dust, sand, grit everywhere. When there is a door to a different form of life's satisfaction will Nola take it?

Nola has married Russ Merrill to escape the harsh hand of her father. But now she feels trapped and is withering away. When an unexpected guest comes to stay, she blossoms. But will this lead her down a path that she shouldn't go?

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this book. Allison Pittman did a wonderful job capturing the feel of the Dust Bowl life. I loved the style of writing that she used. Very elegant and easy to read. However, I had a hard time with the story line. There few things in life that I cannot stand more than infidelity. If I had read the book description more closely, I would have realized that this is the basis for this story. And from the very beginning you know what is going to happen, which made me dread picking up the book. It is a good book. Well written and very captivating. However, I was unable to complete it due to my own standards in life.

I received a free copy of On Shifting Sand from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
( )
  BookwormMama14 | Jun 15, 2015 |
This was one of the first books I have ever read about the Oklahoma dust bowl during the 1930's. It was more devastating than I ever thought. It was bad enough to be in a depression but to also have no rain for months on end would have been horrible. I am surprised that anyone would have stayed in those towns. During this time Nola and Russ meet and get married. Russ is a minister of their small church and the run a store which soon makes little money because most people in the town begin to give up and leave. Nola and Russ go through many hardships including one with an old friend named Jim. Can they survive? I think many people will enjoy this but it can be very sad because of the many deprivations they go through. I received this from Tyndale Blog for a fair and honest opinion. ( )
  Virginia51 | May 17, 2015 |
Thursday, May 7, 2015
On Shifting Sand by Allison Pittman, © 2015

I crane my neck, looking for any kind of a familiar landmark, but there are none. No furrowed fields, rippling grass, no head of cattle wandered far from the gate. All the time growing up here, what I liked best was that our family house sat in the deepest part of a shallow valley. Coming in on the road, you might think there was nothing to be found, but then one, two more turns of the tire, and there it was––spread out like the preface art in a storybook. Our little stone house, surrounded by a picket fence, with Mother's well-tended garden along one side. A red barn with a gray shingled roof, a chicken coop, Pa's hay wagon and blue truck––yes, it was most definitely blue––parked side by side, waiting to be proclaimed the favorite.
--On Shifting Sand, 76-77

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:25-26

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
--My Hope is Built, Edward Mote, lyrics; cir­ca 1834

Review:
I have long appreciated the writings of this author who speaks to the heart. We live in an every day world. Sin that has touched lives, either personally or ancestral in family lines, renders self-blame incapable of freeing ourselves. Provision has been made for us ~ only by the Blood of Christ can we rise above our earthly perils of humanity.

Each generation could point to a time of despair. Nola Merrill and her husband, Russ, live during the long drought of the 1930s with the wind erosion of top soil and dust storms. No rain. No crops. No income. An opportunist comes to town. Not by accident, but planned. He has seen a photo of Russ' wife and he knows why he has come to town; to destroy a foundation of trust by representing who he isn't.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire, Nola has married to leave home. I want her husband Russ to protect her. I want her safe. We walk alongside each other. We cannot fill the longing of another heart turned away or unaware. Storms begin inside and fester, seeking a remedy. I am reminded of the Book of Hosea in the Bible and unconditional love drawing a return beyond what could ever be imagined able to be given. I want wholeness for Nola, for her marriage, for her realization of how much she is loved and the forgiveness that is available. A true gathering of hearts in unison with the One who loves us most.

I have rated On Shifting Sand four-star on the solidness of the author's writings. Through adultery, the pain caused families goes beyond the people involved. Sin separates ~ from each other, from our relationship with God, from ourselves. Whatever the offense it is damaging. Sin is sin, whatever name it has. We have a Redeemer. Redemption releasing captivity and bondage, by choosing forgiveness and His grace.

For from His fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace.
--John 1:16

Award-winning author Allison Pittman has penned more than twelve novels, including her series set in the Roaring Twenties—All for a Song, All For a Story, and All for a Sister. I can't leave out my very favorite: Lilies in Moonlight.
Allison resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella. For more information, visit her website.

***I received a copy of Allison Pittman's On Shifting Sand from Tyndale Blog Network for review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.*** ( )
  lanehillhouse | May 7, 2015 |
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Life has been scorching Nola Merrill's skin and soul more than the 'Dust Bowl' ever could. Bitter with her divorce and aware that life lost meaning when her mother died and left her with an unaffectionate father, Nola commits a shameful sin by sleeping with a drifter and long-lost friend. Only by confessing her sin can Nola lead her family into a quenching future free from Oklahoma's dry and dusty air.… (more)

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