This book by Allison Pittman takes place in the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma. As drought overtakes Russ and Nola’s small town, discontentment overtakes Nola’s heart. Russ does his best to care for the few people who have remained at his church. Nola bitterly performs her motherly and pastor’s wife responsibilities. She continuously compares herself to her perfect husband and finds herself lacking and feels neglected. She also has a strained relationship with her overly critical father. A stranger comes to town and Russ invites him to live in their home. Nola immediately has an attraction that she tries to resist but she finds the temptation too strong. Nola and the stranger start to build a relationship that eventually leads to a physical encounter. Nola and Russ come to a place of acknowledging what took place and they head down the road of reconciliation, forgiveness, and grace.
This is the first book I have read by this author. The Dust Bowl was a perfect setting for this story. The dry, dusty, dirty, empty town was a metaphor for Nola’s heart and body. The theme of adulterous sin within marriage is a difficult one to undertake and often taboo to talk about. Unfortunately, it happens more than people care to admit… even in Christian marriages. I applaud the author for the way she detailed the thought process that came with the emotional attachment which lead to the physical encounter. Jesus said that if a man lusts for a woman that is not his wife, he has committed adultery in his heart. While the Nola only had a physical affair once, her heart had strayed emotionally long before the physical ever took place. I think that often this is a typical cycle of events for women since we easily attach ourselves emotionally to those who love, care, and pay attention to us. I definitely recommend this book, however, if someone has experienced the affects of sin within marriage, this book may be difficult to read. It most likely will bring up emotions related to that experience (no matter which side of the story: adulterer or spouse) but it may also enforce the hope that comes with wanting a marriage to survive even the worst of circumstances.
In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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On Shifting Sand
By Allison Pittman / Tyndale House
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