What the wind knows – book review

“Don’t go near the water, love.

Stay away from strand or sea.

You cannot walk on water, love.

The lough will take you far from me.”

Thomas

Synopsis

What the Wind Knows is a dual timeline novel, one timeline set in the past (1916-1922), the other in the present (2001). While the story begins and ends in present, the rest of it, the body of the novel takes place in the past.

The introduction is set in the present with Anne Gallagher as the main protagonist. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Eoin, Anne travels for the first time in her life to Ireland. She wants to fulfill her grandfather’s last wish by visiting his hometown and scattering his ashes on Lough Gill. On the lough (lake), after a series of events, Anne is transported back in time to 1921. Here is where the true story begins…

“Yes. I told you. You told me. And you will tell me again. Only the wind knows which truly comes first.”

Eoin & Anne

The reader will read about a timeless love and will witness the most important historical events in twentieth-century Ireland.

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon – book review

I was impressed with Amy Harmon’s writing style after reading Making Faces. What the Wind Knows is my second reading of this author and I truly loved it. As I already mentioned, the novel is set in dual timelines. Most of the action takes place in the past, in 1921, Ireland. The story is narrated mainly by Anne Gallagher, but we also have the chance of reading Thomas Smith’s point of view through his diary entries.

With Anne’s travel in the past, we get the chance to meet doctor Thomas Smith, a very close friend of the Gallaghers and also the guardian of little Eoin Gallagher. Thomas is a partisan of Ireland’s freedom and independece and also a good friend of Michael Collins, the most important leader of the Easter Rebellion against the British rule. Due to Michael’s presence in this book, I learned a lot about bravery, patriotism and Ireland’s struggle for independence.

In addition to important historical events, the readers will witness the timeless love between Anne and Thomas. Their love is emotional and heartbreaking, given the constant reminder that they might be separated at any moment.

“I love her with an intensity I didn’t think myself capable of. Yeats writes about being changed utterly. I am changed utterly. Irrevocably. And though love is indeed a terrible beauty, especially given the circumstances, I can only revel in all its gory gloriousness.”

Thomas

Conclusions

The story is lyrical, entwining history, mithology and poetry. Each chapter begins with a poem by W. B. Yeats which is strongly correlated with the plot. The author skilfully combines real events with fiction, by fantasizing an epic love story within a historical background. The angst is increased by the fact that Anne’s identity is mistaken with her great-grandmother’s, given their strong resemblance and their mutual names. This will lead to a series of complicated situations and events. The tragedy of the story lies in Ireland’s struggle for independence and in the brutal assassination of Michael Collins.