On Shifting Sand


 “On Shifting Sand” is a difficult book to read but not because it is poorly written. In fact, in many ways it may be a literary masterpiece. The difficulty is the way Nola gets under your skin and forces you to look at yourself and what drives you – possibly more closely than is comfortable.

There are many who probably should not read this novel because it will not meet their standards of what should constitute a “Christian” novel. After all, the primary character sins repeatedly and for some reason, quite a few readers want their books to be sweet and perfect. So if you are one of those, please don’t bother reading “On Shifting Sand”. It is too down-to-earth and contains what might be offensive to you.

Yes, Nola was messed up and she brought many of her problems on herself. Every time temptation came calling, she fooled herself into thinking she was strong enough to handle it but she rarely succeeded. In fact, there were times that she even went looking for trouble, mistakenly thinking she could set things right. It would be wrong to lay the blame entirely at Nola’s feet or to be so foolish to blame it on the devil. Our enemy does seem to know our weaknesses and is skilled at exploiting them. But Nola was broken emotionally by her upbringing and had such low self-esteem that she needed someone who “saw” her. Her husband Russ, loved her but was so wrapped up in his little congregation that Nola often felt invisible. In her own way, Nola also tried to let Russ know that there was a problem but he never understood.

“On Shifting Sand” is set during the depression and dust bowl era and Pittman’s description of life in Oklahoma during that time is so eloquent that I came close to getting lost there and was almost surprised to look up from my book and find myself in my own air-conditioned home.

I could probably write my own novel about all the impressions I gained from this book. I suggest that if you aren’t afraid of a gritty, realistic book, go ahead and pick up a copy.


This book was provided for review by The Book Club Network, Inc..


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.


AllisonPittmanAs far as I know, I have always been a writer. Before I could put words to page, I would dictate stories to my mother. I have always lulled myself to sleep by crafting stories–a new chapter each night. When God called me to write, I was thrilled to answer His prompting. And so it was, after a long conversation with my husband, I left a 20-year teaching career to pursue a new direction. It called for a HUGE step of faith, but God has kept me and our family safe. I count every single one of my readers as one of God’s blessings in my life, and I like to think of my stories as being the first step in a conversation. Please visit my website, www.allisonpittman.com and send me an email. It is one of my greatest joys to hear from you!