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1945 – New Mexico
Sixteen-year-old Olive Alexander has lived on a ranch in the Jornada del Muerto region of southern New Mexico her entire life. But when World War II begins, the government seizes her family’s land for the construction of a new, top secret Army post.
While her mother remains behind, Olive is forced to live in nearby Alamogordo with her grandmother and find a place in a new school. When Jo Hawthorne crosses her path, Olive sees a chance for friendship—until she learns that Jo’s father is the Army sergeant who now occupies her beloved ranch. Already angry about her new reality, Olive pushes Jo away. But as she struggles to make sense of her grandmother’s lapses into the past and increasingly unsettling hints about what’s happening at the ranch, she slowly warms to Jo’s winsome faith and steady attempts at friendship . . . until one devastating day when the sky explodes around them and their lives are torn apart.
Seven years later, Jo returns to Alamogordo, still angry and wounded by the betrayals of that fateful day. Determined to put the past behind her once and for all, Jo hunts for answers and begins to realize the truth may be far more complicated than she believed, leading her on a desperate search to find her friend before it’s too late.
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1935 – Oklahoma/Idaho/Traveling
A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.
It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.
Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.
Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.