Sunday 17 June 2018

Book Review: The Western Wind by Samanthan Harvey

Title: The Western Wind
Author: Samantha Harvey
Grove Press
Publication Date: 23 November 2018
eBook - PDF
Literary Fiction/Historical
ARC via NetGalley


It's 1491. In the small village of Oakham, its wealthiest and most industrious resident, Tom Newman, is swept away by the river during the early hours of Shrove Saturday. Was it murder, suicide, or an accident? Narrated from the perspective of local priest John Reve--patient shepherd to his wayward flock--a shadowy portrait of the community comes to light through its residents' tortured revelations. As some of their darkest secrets are revealed, the intrigue of the unexplained death ripples through the congregation. But will Reve, a man with secrets of his own, discover what happened to Newman? And what will happen if he can't?

Written with timeless eloquence, steeped in the spiritual traditions of the Middle Ages, and brimming with propulsive suspense, The Western Wind finds Samantha Harvey at the pinnacle of her outstanding novelistic power.

The Western Wind was a fascinating read whose characters and story gripped me right from the first chapter. Though it felt a little strange at first, I came to love the backward narration that saw us discovering the truth about Newman's death by reversing time to see what had led to it and what happened in the immediate aftermath. Reve was a wonderful character, and his arc, in particular, held my interest throughout. The Western Wind is one of those works that creeps up on you, seeming simple at first, but soon revealing hidden complexities. The prose is easy reading, yet suspenseful, and the story certainly left me guessing until the end. I would definitely read more from Harvey. A solid 4.5 stars from me.

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