Books by State: Oklahoma

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert

“Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by darkened skies and fearful townspeople who have finally begun to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust. Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the residents of Nowhere from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of his past and the secrets that destroyed his family.

Filled with mystery and magic, this exquisite novel from award-winning author James Markert is a story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.” — Summary from Amazon.

As I’ve been checking states off my list for this challenge and writing these small reviews, I realized I chose some really depressing stories. This one however was a pleasant surprise! It was such an uplifting tale about perseverance, not only through the Dust Bowl but also through the characters’ own personal demons and traumas. There’s also a call to connect deeply with those around you, because leaning on your community – your family and friends – during hard times is not something we should ever feel hesitant to do; we do not need, nor should we feel we must, suffer through hard times alone no matter whether the hard times are spread wide or if they live just inside of us individually. The town of Nowhere was strained to the breaking point, but were brought back together by kindness.

The characters are all extremely well-written, rounded, and lovable. Jeremiah brings a redemption arc to the story. He is a deeply confused and troubled man. He said from a young age he had a devil and an angel on his shoulders constantly fighting over him, He also had the ability to see the evil people have committed. The men he was convicted of allegedly killing were such people; he saw their evil and flipped a coin to see if they should live or die, however, he claims he did not take their lives himself. After surviving the electric chair and escaping, he returns to Nowhere only to be faced by townspeople who watched him grow from boyhood now terrified of him. Yet, he and the boy Peter who follows him home, along with a reporter who shows up wanting to write an article about Jeremiah to prove his innocence, are the ones who help protect and lift up the town when it begins to fall apart from the stress and devastation caused by the Dust Bowl. And in the end, the town also protects Jeremiah when he needs them most.

Honestly, I believe this has been one of my favorite books I’ve read for this challenge so far. What Blooms From Dust is a truly enchanting story.

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