What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon (Review)

Occasionally, I read other books but not often.  The reason is that I don’t want to be influenced in my own writing with the words or thoughts of other authors.  With all of the plagiarism going on at the moment, I think that is a safe practice.  It was probably a good thing that I did read it.  It was offered as an Amazon first read so I downloaded.  You can see my reason in the last paragraph below.

What the Wind Knows takes readers back in time to 1920’s Ireland. It’s a time-travel trope where the heroine disappears in the fog on a lake in Ireland while spreading her grandfather’s ashes after his death. No stones like Outlander. No time machine from 2001. No wonky portals. Just a rowboat and fog on the lough.

Anne takes a trip through time and arrives in a rather violent welcome to the time period when her grandfather was a young child. Because of the close resemblance, her family and their friends instantly think that she is her grandfather’s mother, who disappeared years earlier. The book is set in the turbulent times of Ireland, wanting to break free from British rule and is filled with a historical backdrop that may be interesting to read but often takes away from the romance in the story.

Amy Harmon is a well-known writer, whose prose is very wordy. I’m more of a get to the point type of reader and writer, who gets bogged down in unnecessary flowery words. Such prose is beautiful to some readers. Frankly, it’s my personal preference not to drown in letters, so my comment is not meant to be a judgmental rant but rather a personal preference.

With a bit of Irish in me on my fourth-great grandfather’s line, I’ve never immersed myself in Irish history.  I am well aware and have watched other television shows about Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, and what occurred.  Therefore, the backdrop timeline was familiar but of little interest to me. Nevertheless, I found the romance between Anne and Thomas sweet in its own right. The fact that he eventually comes to the realization that she is not of his time is a long journey to acceptance. I guessed the antagonist twist long before the reveal (my author plot brain) and thought the ending probably made for another path to a sequel if that’s the author’s intent.

I will add that nothing is new under the sun in many ways when ideas pop into an author’s head. You’ll find similarities in this story with other time-travel storylines such as Outlander.  Amy Harmon wrote this book because of her Irish heritage.  To my gasping horror, the premise is very similar to an unfinished book of my own, time traveling back to my ancestor’s lives, falling in love with a family character, returning to my time, and my lover eventually following through that mysterious portal to live with me happily ever after.  To add to the problem, my main character is an author as well, just as Amy Harmon made her Anne a best-selling author in What the Wind Knows.  Unfortunately, now I’ll probably need to dump my idea and rethink the plot thanks to Amy who apparently was on the same wavelength with my muse.  Of course, she’s a NY Times bestselling traditionally published author, while I, on the other hand, live in the obscurity of the indie world.

It’s a good read, especially if you’re Irish and love the time-traveling trope.  I recommend it in spite of my slight negativity and disappointment that my own book just got trashed.

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Historical Romance via Time Travel

My first exposure to the possibility of time travel came through the movie, The Time Machine (1960), about a 19th-century traveler transporting himself by his nifty machine 800,000 years into the future.  The story was written by H.G. Wells in 1895.

Since that time, readers and moviegoers have been traveling through time.  For historical romance readers that means we fling ourselves backward to find romance and love between the pages.  How we get there can be as interesting as the stories themselves — time machines, portals, fast cars, telephone booths, jumping off a bridge, or touching monolith looking stones in Scotland.  Whatever the transport medium, we experience a rush, finding ourselves in another world that leaves behind our cell phones, computers, modern-day problems, but perhaps we still hold onto our Kindles as we dream about being there.

One of my favorite recent time-traveling movies is Midnight in Paris.  In that movie, a very profound statement is made by one of the characters.

“Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”

This nostalgia is no doubt what drives the female reader to historical romance books. It’s the idea of being a duchess in love with a duke, regardless of the realities of the time period.

The sub-genre of historical romance via time travel has in the past few years found a huge resurgence due to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, even though it was published quite a few years ago.  Starz having put together the series with dreamy Sam Heughan has brought to life those mysterious stones and the possibility of traveling back in time.  Like other hot genre trends, there appears to be a proliferation of time-travel historical romances to choose from on Amazon these days.

If you had the chance, what era would you like to visit?  Medieval? Georgian?  Regency?  Victorian?  Edwardian?  No doubt, you’ll pass on the cave-man days.

Happy traveling through the stones of time!

Historical Romance Admin