Tuesday 23 September 2014


Title: In A Handful Of Dust
Series: Not A Drop To Drink
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: 23rd September 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

I'm looking forward to reading more about Lynn, and finding out if she has ended up within a small community or is still preferring her own company. Is Lynn still looking after Lucy, whom she seemed to adopt in book one after Lucy's mother died. 
I'm also interested to see what changes occur when the very life force, the water is questioned as to whether it could be the root of the disease that is killing the survivors. I loved book one so I have high expectations from book two! 

I received an e-arc of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The cover is an image that depicts a scene from within the book. This cover fits well with the cover of book one so I'd say they'd look great on a shelf together. Would I pick this book up from a book store shelf purely on the merits of the cover? I certainly would, it is really eye catching. Then when you read the blurb! Well how could you not read it.
All is not well with Lynn, Lucy, Carter, Stebbs, Vera and the other "survivors". The community is being attacked by a viral disease, that could be airborne, or water borne. Although Vera, Lucy's grandmother has had some medical training she is having problems isolating what or who is the carrier. Lynn as always is working hard, taking the dead bodies, burning and burying them trying to keep the virus from spreading. The sadness and desperation is affecting everyone and when little Maddie succumbs to the illness and dies Vera has some hard decisions to make. Through a process of elimination Vera comes to the conclusion that the possible "carrier" of the disease must leave their community. I will not say who the actual "carrier" is as that would be a spoiler. 
Visitors who have stopped by and spoken to Lynn and the others have mentioned that California is a good place to live that they have more of the "Before" technologies and a better perhaps safer way of living. So Lynn decides that is the place that would be the better place to be, instead of herself and Lucy struggling on in an ailing community.
The book then tells the story of their journey. Before they set off both Lynn and Lucy have some tearful goodbyes to say to Stebbs, Vera and Carter. So Lynn and Lucy set off together with just some food and water supplies and a change of clothes in a backpack on foot. 
Lynn is still very much like her mother taught her to be, distrustful and wary of strangers. Where as Lucy seems to see the good in everyone she meets. They meet a variety of people on their journey such as Joss, another lone female traveler. They have an incident with some males who have knowledge that Lucy can find water so are interested in taking her prisoner. Lynn sheer guts turns that situation around. Lynn and Lucy end up with three horses. In fact they come by those horses just when the walking fatigue has set in. Neither Lynn nor Lucy have ever ridden before but they do take to it quite well and hey it has to be better than walking the whole way to California! Lucy call's her horse Spatter, Lynn ends up referring to her horse as Mister during the ride, so Lucy continues to call the horse Mister and the third horse that they are using to carry supplies that ends up being called Brown Horse quite simply because it is brown. Just as the women have settled into riding the horses the brown horse seems to go lame. As neither of the women is an expert in horsemanship, they decide to stop for the day and rest by a stream. Unusually for Lynn, a man manages to take both herself and Lucy by surprise. I think the man manages to do this as both the women are concerned about brown horse being in pain. The man seems to know about horses and heads off to scavenge some supplies to treat the horse with. Lucy seems to be trusting and friendly towards the man straight away telling him her name. He introduces himself as Fletcher. It takes much longer for Lynn to reveal anything about herself to him.
Fletcher ends up riding along with the women and is a great help at certain points of the journey. Having revealed a "good person" that the woman meet they also come across "bad people" too. The journey becomes more and more difficult, at one point it seriously seems as if both women may die. then they are rescued and taken to a settlement. The people of the settlement have a weird way of life, and it soon becomes apparent to Lynn and Lucy that all is not as it seems.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It has action, drama and plenty of danger thrown in too. I also love the poetry that Lynn quotes to Lucy. During the journey Lynn and Lucy encounter many different people. They even help out a young family by guiding them to a house they had been resting in for a while before starting back out on their trek. I really liked the character of Fletcher and his back story, I'd say he was really taken with Lynn too, maybe they could meet up again in a future part of the story.
The book actually touched on horror with one settlement the women ended up staying in for a while. Absolutely shattered, they end up being picked up and yes they are nursed back to health. They even briefly think of staying there until Lucy is shown how the settlement gets some of its water! The epilogue is a bit of a shock and a twist, where will the series go from there? The ending leaves one character settled and another coming to a surprising decision.
So did I enjoy this book? I truly enjoyed reading this one. I'd been looking forward to it from the minute I finished reading book one. Would I recommend the book? I can genuinely recommend this one. I would go so far as to say this series is a must read for all post apocalyptic fans.  Would I read another book in this series? Whilst pondering this question I made the depressing discovery that Mindy McGinnis has no set plans to write a book three!  Though I was cheered up slightly by finding out that she has done a number of short tales to fit within this series. So I am adding those to my Want To Read List as soon as I find out more about them. I hope there is a Vera & Stebbs one as well as the anticipating the possibility of short tales centered on Lynn, Lucy and perhaps Fletcher too.                         Would I read other titles by this author? I intend to read more by this author. I've discovered that she has some short tales in a few anthologies that I plan to add to my Want To Read List. The Fall is one title and Spring Fevers is another title I am interested in reading.


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