On Shifting Sand
Allison Pittman - view author info
Cover: On Shifting Sand
Trim Size:
5.5 x 8.25  
April 2015 

Long before anyone would christen it “The Dust Bowl,” Nola Merrill senses the destruction. She’s been drying up bit by bit since the day her mother died, leaving her to be raised by a father who withholds his affection the way God keeps a grip on the Oklahoma rain. A hasty marriage to Russ, a young preacher, didn’t bring the escape she desired. Now, twelve years later with two children to raise, new seeds of dissatisfaction take root.

When Jim, a mysterious drifter and long-lost friend from her husband’s past, takes refuge in their home, Nola slowly springs to life under his attentions until a single, reckless encounter brings her to commit the ultimate betrayal of her marriage. For months Nola withers in the wake of the sin she so desperately tries to bury. Guilt and shame consume her physically and spiritually, until an opportunity arises that will bring the family far from the drought and dust of Oklahoma. Or so she thinks. As the storms follow, she is consumed with the burden of her sin and confesses all, hoping to find Russ’s love strong enough to stand the test.
When Nola Merrill married a preacher, she knew his loyalty would be divided between her and his devoted parishioners, but she never imagined that her commitment as a faithful wife would be challenged by a mysterious stranger. Living in Featherling, Oklahoma, during the Dust Bowl, Nola is suffocating both in the cloud of dirt and under the weight of her scandalous secret. Is her father right, that this drought-driven nightmare is God’s punishment for her inability to find happiness with her station in life? As the gritty winds erode her nerves, she must choose whether to suffer in silence or escape in shame. Pittman expertly presents this compelling first-person story of sin, secrets, and a struggle to find forgiveness in herself and in God in Nola’s lilting Oklahoma drawl and turns the pervasive dust into a powerful metaphor. Although there are only brief, tasteful scenes of passion, Pittman manages to generate a palpable, simmering heat throughout the novel, satisfying readers’ thirst for drama, deceit, and deliverance.

Starred review.
As far as inspirational love stories go, Pittman has crafted an unconventional one. . . Nola is vividly fleshed out, and, through her viewpoint, Pittman effectively contrasts the repercussions of forgiveness when it is withheld and granted.
Publishers Weekly

Pittman makes a departure from her usual genre with an elegantly written novel. The main characters are nearly all unsympathetic, which could pull the reader from the story, yet the tale is so well told it will stay with you. 4 stars
Romantic Times

Demonstrating her versatility as a novelist, Pittman has written a moving tale of temptation, surrender, guilt, and redemption that is quite different from her “Sister Wives” series. Nola is an unreliable narrator, but she’s also a compelling storyteller. The unusual setting of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s adds historical interest and parallels the destruction of Nora’s life. This intricately plotted novel of one woman’s journey of faith will certainly have wide appeal.
Library Journal