Dust Girl – Sarah Zettel

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

Callie lives with her mother in Kansas.       It’s the 1930s, and nearly everyone else has left their town, due to the choking dust.    But Callie’s mother won’t leave – Callie’s father had promised to come back to them, and Callie’s mother is holding onto the idea of his return with all her might.

On a particularly bad night, Callie hears voices in the roiling dust storm outside, and as it tries to beat its way into the family’s hotel, Callie’s mother disappears, and Callie learns that she’s not quite human.

There’s actually a lot going into the revelation of her fairy heritage, because Callie’s father was black, and her mother has spent all her life concealing that from their neighbors.     The thought that some fairy folk are dark, and that Callie could find a place with them is an important driver of the journey she embarks on, perhaps even more than trying to find her mother.

I really liked that this story was set in the Dust Bowl.     I would have never thought to bring the Seelie and Unseelie Courts there, but the clever way the author works within that time period had me instantly sold.

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