Small Mercies by Richard Anderson. (2020).
**3 out of 5 stars**
After enduring months of drought on their modest farm, Dimple and Ruthie face uncertain times. Ruthie has received bad news about her health. When a wealthy landowner, Wally, makes comments on the radio that small farmers are doomed and they should leave the land to big operators like himself, they decide to take a road trip to confront him. Along the way both their resolve and relationship are tested. Looking to the future, the couple make a crucial decision they soon regret. And when the storm clouds finally come, there’s more than the rain to contend with.
If you asked me to describe this book in one word, the one that immediately comes to mind is ‘honest’. It just felt so honest, so believable and so realistic. It’s not a long book, and it’s an easy read. I don’t live on or near a farm but it felt like Dimple and Ruthie were neighbours, or someone you would know. For me this book was a good reality check: here I am stressing about rain coming for various personal reasons, meanwhile Australia has so many farmers that are absolutely desperate for rain to keep their livelihoods surviving. The other big concept for this book is Ruthie having some thoughts and forcing Dimple to question if maybe their relationship isn’t as rock solid and as happy as they both thought it was. Again, something that sounded utterly believable for a couple that had been together for so many years.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I loved this book but it was a likeable read and I can see why it affected other readers deeply.