Book Review: A Cup of Dust

11 Nov

51vBYqTSPdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Where you come from isn’t who you are.

Ten-year-old Pearl Spence is a daydreamer, playing make-believe to escape life in Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl in 1935. The Spences have their share of misfortune, but as the sheriff’s family, they’ve got more than most in this dry, desolate place. They’re who the town turns to when there’s a crisis or a need―and during these desperate times, there are plenty of both, even if half the town stands empty as people have packed up and moved on.

Pearl is proud of her loving, strong family, though she often wearies of tracking down her mentally impaired older sister or wrestling with her grandmother’s unshakable belief in a God who Pearl just isn’t sure she likes.
Then a mysterious man bent on revenge tramps into her town of Red River. Eddie is dangerous and he seems fixated on Pearl. When he reveals why he’s really there and shares a shocking secret involving the whole town, dust won’t be the only thing darkening Pearl’s world.

71jLeH3kwTL._UX250_Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the author of A Cup of Dust (Kregel, 2015), Paint Chips (WhiteFire Publishing, 2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire Publishing 2014).

She is currently working on her fourth novel.

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.


My Impressions:

Susie Finkbeiner has been a long time student of the Depression-era history of the Dust Bowl, an ecological and economic disaster that decimated the Great Plains. Her passion for the subject is manifested in her poignant novel, A Cup of Dust. This literary gem is a highly recommended read!

The year is 1934 and the setting is Red River, Oklahoma, a panhandle town that is slowly fading off the map. Ten year old Pearl Spence tells the story of her family and town as they struggle to survive amidst despair and the ever present dust. But Pearl soon realizes there is much more going on in the town and her family than she knows, and the truth that hides beneath the surface will change her life forever.

Finkbeiner wrote A Cup of Dust after years of study and research. What began as an interest in her teens, has resulted in a beautifully told story. This well-researched novel made me feel like I was in the midst of the story — I could almost feel the grit on my skin and see the tan destruction of the dust that covers the town of Red River. All senses are engaged while reading this book. The history depicted in the book is compelling and caused me to head to the computer over and over again. Well-drawn characters touch the heart and, for a time, become part of the reader’s life. I was completely pulled into Pearl’s story, feeling the anxiety of a world so different from her daydreams and fairy tale stories. Pearl is a little girl with the little girl desires of a store-bought dress and a candy treat. Yet she is forced into a confusing adult world in spite of her parent’s efforts to shield her from hurt and danger. Other characters are equally compelling, and I am hoping that Finkbeiner will revisit Red River soon. Pearl’s understanding of faith comes from her Meemaw’s love and reliance on God’s grace, the preacher’s continuous message of God’s wrath and judgment and her father’s quiet faithfulness — Daddy’s was a simple faith. He lived it with easy words and the sweat of his brow. I believed God loved that well enough.

If you are looking for a compelling story with a message of hope in the midst of a dark time and characters that will live on in your imagination, then you need to get A Cup of Dust.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)




5 Responses to “Book Review: A Cup of Dust”

  1. Susie Finkbeiner November 11, 2015 at 8:00 am #

    Oh, thank you for this beautiful review. What a gift to read this first thing in the morning.

    • rbclibrary November 11, 2015 at 8:02 am #

      You are welcome! So glad I “discovered” you! 🙂

  2. hopeinbrazil November 20, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I bought this for my Kindle a few days ago. Thanks for your review that makes me want to dig in right away.

    • rbclibrary November 20, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

      I hope you enjoy it! I saw that it was free for Kindle — a great book at a great price! 😉


  1. Top 10 Tuesday — Best Historical Novels | BY THE BOOK - December 15, 2015

    […] A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner […]

Comments are closed.