What The Wind Knows
by Amy Harmon
In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…
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?
If you have been following me on GoodReads then you know that I fell for this book from the very beginning. It made me cry in the first chapter and more importantly, it made me remember my own gran and her passing. It was such a bittersweet feeling of remembering all the good things in my life because of her and then feeling the loss all over again. I knew within minutes that this was going to be pressing my buttons in all the right places.
I was right. Right from the start the story was absolutely addictive and the way it’s written is magical. There’s no other word for it. I generally don’t go for time-travelling but I don’t know what made me pick this one up. I am just glad of that one impulsive moment now. It’s historical romance and the research the author did on her time period really shows, in fact, this book made me very interested in the Irish struggle for independence and it resembled very much like my own country’s and I think, that made it easier to relate to almost all the Irish characters.
“Yes. I told you. You told me. And you will tell me again. Only the wind knows which truly comes first.”
I have always been really close to my grandmother from my mother’s side because I used to stay with her during the summer holidays, such is the life with both working parents no one to look after the child. But anyway, I teared up when Anne lost her grandfather, I also felt like I had lost my gran all over again because of the way the author described the feelings of loss so brilliantly.
While Anne is spreading her grandfather’s ashes in the lake that he requested, there’s a thick white fog and by the time it clears, she’s shot, she’s disoriented and saved by a man she’d only seen in a photo. She travels back in time when Eoin, her grandfather, was only a child still. The turmoil she faces both internally with the realisation that she’s basically traveled through time and externally when people take her likeness with Eoin’s mother and decide that it must be Anne of their time is written so wonderfully and funnily enough, it never felt like it was out of the realm of possibility.
The story is told from Anne’s point of view and throughout the book, there’s snippets of Thomas’s journal of the Irish struggle for independence and his own thoughts about life in general. Both worked really well for narration and I am so glad that they did because sometimes I tend to skip through those journal thingies. (I know, horrible of me but I can’t help it sometimes, okay?)
The bond that Thomas and Anne share, the initial distrust along with the slow building trust and how much they truly live through made for a great love story. It’s been a while since I read romance of this kind and I am so glad that I picked this one. While the love story was enticing enough on its own, I really fell for the atmosphere that Harmon created about the time period. The historical part really grabbed my attention and while I was invested in Anne and Thomas and their relationship, I was far more invested in how things wrapped up with the Irish independence with them as characters.
I came to know more about the leaders of freedom for that country through this book and got hooked on a new chapter (for me) in the history so there’s that. If I took anything away from this book then it was a new thirst for more knowledge about these people who fought for their country and who suffered almost the same as India did.
Someday your great-great-grandchildren will come to Ireland. They will walk up the hill where you are laid to rest, and they will sit by the stone that bears your name. They will know that this was your home, and because it is your home, it is theirs as well.
There’s a different sort of charm to the way child version of Eoin bonded with Anne of the future and the way their relationship blossomed into something truly magical. The way Anne whole-heartedly loved him and wrote those magical stories about him going on adventures. It was such a joy to read, too.
Death in Ireland meant a life in Ireland, not a life as an immigrant somewhere else.
Basically, with a writing as poetic and beautiful as this, was it any wonder that I fell for this book so fast and so hard? There’s something so quietly magical and lovely about it that I am not sure I will ever be able to put into words. For now, just be assured that if you pick it up then you wouldn’t regret it.