Nola Merrill has never felt settled in her small Oklahoma town and after the death of her mother; she is left to be raised by her detached and often cruel father. The escape she thought she found in her marriage to the new local pastor has now turned into the anchor that holds her there.
Even with two beautiful children and a happy loving marriage, she can’t seem to shake the feeling of discontentment. As the drought and dust storms of the 30’s drift endlessly into their town, so does a former friend of her husband, a man she is inexplicably drawn to.
Their encounters increase and escalade into the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. The following months are a battle with guilt and shame as Nola tries to hold together the image of wife and mother she wants so desperately to be.
While On Shifting Sands was a very well written book, it was not always a comfortable read. Allison Pittman brings to life the grime and desperate thirst of the dirty thirties, and uses the same grittiness to describe the struggles within Nola.
It is often difficult to like the main character, especially when she seems to gather strength only to fall again so easily. The author captures the frustration of most struggles, when what seems easy and straightforward just isn’t. The beauty of the novel is found in the reality of forgiveness and grace, which Nola must learn to accept for herself.