Callie LeRoux knows dust. And that’s about it, really, since everything she thought she knew just blew away like, well, dust. In a dust storm. That’s literal, by the way.
You see, this “dust girl” of Dust-Bowl era Kansas lives with her mother in the Imperial Hotel which her grandparents started back when there were people passing through and money to be made. The “black blizzards” and the Depression have driven away both, as well as all but a handful of townsfolk. Really, the doctor should’ve taken the town sign with him as he pulled out hours before the story-changing storm blew in.
So, in the pre-storm hours of that fateful day in April, Callie knew 3 things:
1. She had to wear a scarf over her mouth every time she went outside to keep her dust pneumonia from worsening.
2. The last name people knew her by – McGinty – came from a traveling salesman Mama let the town believe was her father. Her real papa’s promise to return is what kept Mama in Slow Run long after it ceased being a safe or in any way pleasant place to be.
3. NO ONE was supposed to touch the grand piano under the sheet in the Moonlight Room.
But then Mama changed the rules. She ordered Callie to play, and, like the parabled flap of world-altering butterfly wings, Callie’s touch on the piano triggers a catastrophic ripple that brings on the storm of all storms. Its winds carry away her mother and its wake deposits a family of human locusts at door. Okay, not actually humans nor locusts, but fairies, who reveal that Callie is also one of them. Thus begins Callie’s epic (and first ever) journey out of Slow Run to search for both her parents and her true self.
Little by little, or in her case too much by none and over again, Callie learns about her magic, the best lesson of all (and from my favorite character in the book) being this: “It’s like pepper in the soup – you want just enough to do the job, and no more.”
I think that’s the kind of food for thought both humans and fae can digest. ;)