top of page

Crystal's Pick: The Dust Bowl Orphans by Suzette D. Harrison

Grieving the loss of her child, Zoe Edwards, cataloguing old photos for an exhibition, discovers an image of a teenage girl who looks exactly like her and, diving into the secrets of her past, unravels this young girl's heartbreaking story of bravery and sacrifice that is linked to her own.

The Dust Bowl Orphans by Suzette D. Harrison grabbed my attention before I cracked the spine.  Ms. Harrison’s style of writing and storytelling is amazing. 

This story is told in two expertly woven time periods.  In 1935, the Wilson family (Papa, Mama, Charity, Faith, Hope, and Noah) lives in Oklahoma.  They are struggling with the repercussions of the Great Depression and a severe drought.  They don’t want to leave their land, but in order to survive, they know they must migrate to California.  As they are leaving Oklahoma, an enormously devastating black cloud of dust engulfs them causing Faith and Hope to be separated from their family.  This was the catalyst leading Faith and Hope on a heartbreaking journey to California. 

The second part of the story takes place in present day California with a young woman named Zoe Edwards.  Zoe is exhibiting historical photographs, artifacts, and oral histories of African Americans during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.  Zoe got several historical pieces from JeShaun Halsey’s collection.  One of JeShaun’s photographs is of a young woman who looks exactly like Zoe.  This photograph is the spark that lights a fire within Zoe to find out if she and the woman are somehow related. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, mystery, suspense, and several plot twists.  - Crystal, Technical Services Librarian


bottom of page