What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon is a book I am excited to review and recommend . I listened to the audiobook version and was entranced, both by the amazingly intricate storytelling and by the voice of the narrator. It was a perfect combination. But you don’t need the narrator for this to be a fantastic read. The story is entrancing by itself. Here’s the blurb from Amy’s website.
In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything . . .Book Blurb for What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.
The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.
As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?
This is Historical Fiction with the magic of Ireland thrown in. The depictions of the struggles of Ireland from the 1916 Rising thru the beginnings of the Civil War are insightful, thought-provoking, and generous. They view the historical figures as human beings, each with real characteristics and personalities containing both the positive and the negative. The people of Ireland, too, are shown as real. They are not plastic or manipulated to prove a point. This is no watered down history book retelling. It is raw and human with all our many flaws laid out on the page.
The fact that this is a story from the author’s own genealogical history brings another layer to the plot. I enjoyed the author’s retelling of her own visit to Dromahair and the Ballinagar church and cemetery where the stones marking her own ancestors graves are located. Check out her blog about the trip here https://www.authoramyharmon.com/blog.
There is an Outlanderesque element to the tale as Anne travels back in time from the present to 1922 Ireland through the magic of Lough Gill, the lake near her ancestral home. The time travel piece is well written – imaginative, fresh, and believable. The stories from Irish legends are fascinating as well and the fact the main character is an author makes it even more intriguing when she brings the story full circle. (I won’t put in the spoilers. You’ll have to read for yourselves!)
For Christian Readers
This book is published for the general market, but it has very little objectionable material from a Christian viewpoint. (At least in my opinion.) There are a few steamy scenes between Anne and Thomas, but they focus on the emotions of the characters rather than their actions and are not so graphic as to be offensive. If they pass your threshold of comfort, they are totally skippable . God is present in the story, but not central. He is not mocked, and the majority of ideas point to a Christian worldview. Overall, I wouldn’t be afraid to give this book to a mature Christian friend to read. The value of the story outweighs the possible pitfalls, in my opinion.
If you’ve read this book, weigh in below with your thoughts. If you’ve read other historical offerings, or books from the general market, tell me about them. Do you ever read general market fiction? Why or why not? Thanks as always, for your comments. I love to read your opinions and ideas.