Desert Isle Keeper
What the Wind Knows
Time travel romances aren’t always my cup of tea – strange as it may seem, Outlander was just okay for me. However, when I learned that Amy Harmon, who happens to be one of my very favorite authors, was coming out with a new novel that happened to feature time travel, I knew I had to read it.
All her life, Anne Gallagher has felt strangely connected to Ireland. Throughout her childhood, her grandfather Eoin, who is Anne’s only living relative, has told her countless stories of the land of his birth, but no matter how much Anne begged, he always refused to accompany her on a trip there. Now though, Eoin has died, and Anne is determined to honor his last request that she travel to Ireland to spread his ashes, even though she’s not sure how she’ll cope without him in her life. Perhaps she’ll even feel closer to him once she actually sets foot on Irish soil for the first time.
Ireland is everything Anne dreamed it would be, and yet she can’t shake the deep feelings of loss she’s carried with her since her grandfather died. She feels strangely adrift and without purpose, and she can’t figure out what to do to help herself feel better. Hoping for a few hours of respite from her all-consuming grief, Anne rents a small boat and sets out for an afternoon sail. Suddenly, a huge wave washes over the boat, sweeping Anne overboard, and when she is eventually pulled ashore, she finds herself transported back in time to 1921.
Dr. Thomas Smith isn’t sure what to make of the water-logged woman he’s just fished out of the lake. It’s obvious she has sustained some serious injuries, so he takes her to his home where he treats her wounds and puts her to bed. All the while, he’s struck by her uncanny resemblance to Anne, the wife of his best friend, and a woman Thomas has believed dead for the last five years. Could this stranger possibly be Anne, and if so, where has she been all these years? What could have possessed her to abandon her young son, especially given the fact that the boy’s father was killed in the Irish Uprising of 1916?
When Anne eventually regains consciousness, she finds herself in a house surrounded by people she doesn’t know, one of whom is a six-year-old boy who seems awfully familiar to her. After asking a few careful questions, Anne figures out what has happened. She’s living in her family home, and the child seated beside her bed is none other than the six-year-old boy who will one day become her grandfather, and to make matters even more confusing, everyone seems to think she’s Eoin’s long-absent mother, a woman who also happens to be named Anne. As one might imagine, Anne is astonished by what has happened, but she manages to keep a clear head. She knows she can’t simply blurt out the truth to her rescuers, and so she decides to assume the identity of the missing Anne and see what happens.
As time passes, Anne begins to feel more and more at home in the Ireland of the past. She and Thomas begin to develop deep feelings for one another, a situation complicated by Thomas’ loyalty to his best friend, the man to whom he thinks Anne was once married. Anne also forms quite a strong attachment to Eoin, and she eventually decides to stay in the past if at all possible.
At first, I wasn’t sure I could buy into Anne’s easy acceptance of her predicament. I mean, wouldn’t you be shocked if you found yourself in another time, surrounded by strangers? Fortunately though, Ms. Harmon did a great job convincing me that the Ireland of the 1920s was exactly where Anne belonged. She brings both the characters and the time period to life, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that Anne’s previous existence couldn’t hold a candle to the life she was living in the past.
It’s obvious Ms. Harmon did a great deal of research into what life would have been like for someone living in this tumultuous time period, and I love how she wove the political unrest of the early 1900’s into the story. Some authors make me feel like I’m being hit over the head with a specific political message or viewpoint, but Ms. Harmon didn’t fall into this trap. Instead, the politics of the time are just one facet of this complex and lovely story.
Anne and Thomas have fantastic chemistry, and I adored witnessing their growing attraction. There are quite a few obstacles in their way, the truth of Anne’s identity being chief among them, but I never doubted their commitment to one another. I wasn’t sure how they would make things work long-term, but I trusted Ms. Harmon’s ability to craft a HEA worthy of these two fantastic people. Of course, I can’t tell you how things turn out, but I can assure you the ending is definitely satisfying.
What the Wind Knows is a lovely story of love, forgiveness, and redemption that is sure to delight long-time fans of Ms. Harmon’s work as well as those who are reading her writing for the first time. There’s something so magical about the way she tells a story, something that makes me want to linger in the worlds she creates long after I have finished the book. I’m not someone who rereads books very often, but something tells me it won’t be long before I find myself needing to revisit Anne and Thomas once again. Their love story really is that good!