In 1935 Kansas, the dust is stifling. Callie LaRoux is dying from the buildup of dust in her lungs, though it’s not been acknowledged outright. Not many people remain in town as this dust storm is the worst on record… when the doctor himself decides to move his family elsewhere he pleads with Callie and her mother to leave with them.
Yet Callie’s mother is steadfast – she will not leave the hotel they own, even with no guests or employees to occupy it but the two of them.
Callie knows her mother’s reason. This is where her mother last saw her father, a man that she’s never met. He is their biggest secret. The dark color of his skin has left Callie with a dangerously ambiguous darker coloring that leads her mother to lie about her father – to protect Callie. Her mother is determined to stay at the hotel, no matter what comes, because it is where her father said he’d return to them.
But Callie knows her health is failing, that she can’t stand this dust much longer. And she fears her mother is beginning to lose her mind – and that she’s not too far behind now that she’s hearing voices…
When strange occurrences cause her mother to be lost in a particularly horrible dust storm, Callie is visited by a enigmatic man that seems to know more than he should – about her, about her mom, and about her father. He tells her she must find her parents in “the golden hills of the west”. And that’s not all…
For the first time, Callie is given reason to believe that she’s not entirely human.
I’m afraid that’s a bit of a messy synopsis, but I don’t really want to give away any more – and a lot goes on in this book! So, hopefully you’ll work with this summary here.
I liked the vibe of Dust Girl from the get-go. Somehow, in less than twenty pages, I already had a sense for the characters and already cared! There’s a mysterious, magical tone that has a vivid, dusty environment and a plot full of creepy, tricky fairies and piles of questions.
Happily, Callie has some decent smarts! I was enchanted by the bewitching story and really quite entertained from start to finish. The 1930s period was an interesting and rather original time to place a fantasy fairy story – but it was done fantastically, I felt! Great historical detail and character development mixed in with fairies, destinies, and magic!
Dust Girl is very involving, hair-raising at times, and fast-paced. It’s a suspenseful tale that’s fun to read with great, likable, humorous characters. It kind of reminded me of a book that belonged in a category with Kersten Hamilton’s Goblin Wars books, Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie, or Kiki Hamilton’s The Faerie Ring. If you’re fans of those books, then I think Dust Girl will fit into your bookshelf quite happily!
I am definitely looking forward to the second book in the trilogy, Golden Girl. It was constantly interesting and really quite good – so Golden Girl? I’m ready for you now!!