It’s the Depression and it’s rural Kansas. For good measure, nature decides to throw in a Dust Bowl. It’s not the life Cat Peters would have chosen, but the young Mennonite girl doesn’t have much say in it.
Driven to the edge of bankruptcy by the relentless winds of the Dust... Bowl, Cat's family is desperate. Fortunately, wealthy Simon Yoder generously saves them with a loan. Everyone gets something more out of the arrangement than what they bargain for. Cat's father gains a start back from the edge and the shame that he can't provide for his family. Cat’s older brother goes to work for Simon to pay off the family debts and learns lots of new ideas. And Simon gets the debt repaid and casts a sticky net over the Peters family.
So in the end, everyone loses.
Still the rains don’t come. Without rain, there is no wheat. So Cat, too, goes to the Yoder’s to clean and cook and do whatever the hired girls do. It turns out the hired girls at the Yoder house do a lot more than cook and clean, for Simon Yoder is a man who steals the souls of young girls.
And now Cat has slipped into his hands.
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