BOOK TOUR REVIEW: What Blooms from Dust by James Markert
What Blooms from Dust
by James Markert
Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and 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.
After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin 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 townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.
Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms from Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.
4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS
It’s best to dive into this novel without any preconceived notions, because it’s unlike anything I have ever read. I hesitated to even assign it to one specific genre, because it encompasses more than just simple historical fiction. There are many elements which come together to make this tale wonderful.
It’s 1935 in the middle of Dust Bowl America: specifically, a tiny town called Nowhere, Oklahoma. The story of how the town got its’ name is interesting in itself and a big part of the background, but the people of the town are its’ heart and soul. Twins Josiah and Jeremiah Goodbye parted ways when Josiah called the police to report his twin for murder. Through a twist of fate or luck, Jeremiah was able to break out of jail while in the electric chair, and make his way back to Nowhere.
But the town has more problems than an escaped convict; dust storms have been blowing through daily, the people are starving, and there seems to be no end to the despair everyone feels. Through the return of Jeremiah and the strange, quiet boy he adopted along his journey, the citizens of Nowhere begin to see that there might just be some point to this life.
I can’t say enough about the characterization of this novel. The town features a wide, offbeat collection of residents, but through the author’s fantastically descriptive language, the reader comes to know and form a creative picture in the mind for each one. Jeremiah Goodbye and his family are the main characters, and we get to form a bond with every one of them.
It’s hard to say what I like about this novel so much without giving away the plot points. The story is at times a tough one to read; you can’t help but think about how helpless you would feel if you and your own children were stuck in the same situation. You can’t fight the climate, after all. Though the suffering the characters are going through never gets any easier, you can at least tell that they have a sense of hope by the end. And hope is what got so many people through those difficult times.
About the Author
James Markert lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville and won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which was later published as A White Wind Blew, a story of redemption in a 1929 tuberculosis sanatorium, where a faith-tested doctor uses music therapy to heal the patients. The Angels’ Share is his second novel, and he is currently working on his next historical, All Things Bright and Strange. James is also a USPTA tennis pro, and has coached dozens of kids who’ve gone on to play college tennis in top conferences like the BIG 10, the Big East, and the ACC.
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