It may seem a bit odd that I would post a book review for my FAVORITE 2013 read in September of 2014, but really, it isn't...trust me on this! ;) Always expect the "unexpected"!
This is one of the very first books I received free from a publisher (Sourcebooks) in exchange for an honest and fair review. YIPPEE!! You can confirm with my husband and Smokie, my gray kitty, I was literally dancing around the house I was soooo thrilled!! And now it is my favorite book from 2013. A White Wind Blew by James Markert is an absolutely remarkable read!
I was on a mission once Cecilia of Only You asked me for my ONE (YIPES! Only one? Yes, only ONE!!) favorite read from all of 2013! This is so difficult for me! To narrow the list of books I have read in one whole year down to just ONE favorite! Impossible, I thought to myself! But kudos to her, she got me really thinking. Although I could literally make a case for at least 20-30 books as I started back through the listing of those I'd read in 2013, I did end up with The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin AND A White Wind Blew by James Markert. I know, I know...that is really TWO, but it's as close to ONE as I could get!!
Melanie's book has received much well-deserved good press and remained on the NYT bestseller listing for a long time! However, I would like to think I may be able to convince just a few readers to try a perhaps lesser-known writer and book that proved to be just as fascinating a reading experience for me. After all, everyone who actually followed my recommendation to read this book (Okay, true, as far as I know, only the members of the book club I facilitate...but STILL... lol) has really liked it or now cite it as one of their favorite reads! I am proud and happy about that!! Additionally, I donated a copy to my local library and the President of our Board of Directors happened to read it and was talking about what a great book it was at the next Board meeting...she had no idea I had donated it to the library! That made me feel wonderful, especially since she typically only reads nonfiction historical/political books. Hooray!
In my opinion, this book has everything you could ask for: clear concise characterization,
accurate and compelling depiction of relevant social issues of the day including racism, prohibition, gangsters, and those other interpersonal issues that arise between and among people. The reader directly experiences the world of that time through these fascinatingly ordinary, yet complex characters, immersing you into this TB-laden world of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Lousville, Kentucky, in post-WW I U.S.
I am certain one of the things that has made this book even more memorable to me is the fact that Mr. Markert was kind and generous enough to spend 25 minutes of his valuable time speaking with our book club, answering questions and providing additional information about himself and this wonderfully written novel. Additionally, he was sitting in the hotel lobby speaking with us, since his room was not yet ready for him to check-in! How nice is that? You can discover additional information about him at his website, and about the Waverly Hills Sanatorium at this website. By reading this book, you learn the stories of some of these peoples' lives, though this is a fictional work, it is quite compelling and realistically told...
I believe a sequel to this book would be another wonderful addition to the world of literature, particularly historical fiction! Just sayin', Mr. Markert... A writer who can literally make me feel as if I am there has such talent!
If you have not read this book, it is an excellent way to spend your time. Even if you are a bit hesitant, I believe you will discover Markert did more than just make this theme work, he created a masterpiece with characters you will never forget!
Please check out another of his projects, a romantic comedy, 2nd Serve.