What the Wind Knows
A story that reminds us to live and love passionately, even during uncertain times
Although I shelter from the rain
Under a broken tree,
My chair was nearest to the fire
In every company
That talked of love or politics,
Ere Time transfigured me.
— W.B. Yeats
Towards the end of December, I picked up reading again during the holidays and haven’t stopped reading since. I almost forgot what it felt like to fall in love with the art of storytelling, and I never realized how badly I needed stories in my life again until now. During uncertain times like these, escaping into poetic words and fantastical worlds feels like a blessing.
There are many books we come to love and appreciate throughout our lives, but there are also the ones that evoke emotion so strong, that we feel somewhat changed afterward. And after we’ve read and had more than several epiphanies, there is a sudden urge to shout our feelings out into the universe.
Amy Harmon’s ‘What the Wind Knows,’ is one of those rare books that evokes such passion.
We turn memories into stories, and if we don’t, we lose them. If the stories are gone, then the people are gone too.
— Amy Harmon, What the Wind Knows
‘What the Wind Knows’ is a beautifully written story about love, loss, family, and the fight for Irish Independence. I’m not even Irish and didn’t know much about the history of Ireland before I read this book, but that still didn’t stop me from falling in love with this story and all its characters.
Our protagonist, Anne Gallagher, is transported back to 1920’s Ireland after the death of her grandfather in 2001, just several months before the fall of the Twin Towers. She feels as if she’s lost in a dream at first but eventually comes to accept her new reality. From there we meet the memorable characters that will become a part of her new life, including the compassionate Thomas Smith.
I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced and mourned alongside the characters throughout the entirety of the novel. I felt each and every one of their emotions as if they were my own.
I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction novels, but this was my first time reading one that involved time travel. It is written in a way that slowly pulls the reader into its very pages, and soon enough, the reader is transported alongside Anne to 1921 Ireland, five years after the Easter Rebellion of 1916. We no longer feel like a reader, but like an active participant in her new world.
I laughed, I cried, and I rejoiced and mourned alongside the characters throughout the entirety of the novel. I felt each and every one of their emotions as if they were my own. There were times when I was even afraid to keep reading, fearful of where my emotions would take me next because you just want the best for everyone. That’s the beauty of Amy Harmon’s writing. There is a vulnerability to her words that instills a sense of intrigue and passion. It helps create tender and memorable moments between the characters, especially between the two main protagonists.
We not only get the story from Anne Gallagher’s perspective but through Thomas Smith’s as well. We learn more about the current rebellion going on and the politics of the times through Smith’s journal accounts. Cycling back and forth between Anne and Thomas gives the story more depth and meaning, and the intimacy of their thoughts makes you love them all the more.
Even if you’re not very into politics, this story is about human compassion and the ability to love and keep persevering even when we’re afraid. It is about the power of stories and the emotions they hold in our hearts.
This is the type of story that reminds you to live and love passionately. Time is precious and meant to be spent with the ones we love. Even now as I type this, I feel a certain loss in my heart. I am mourning the loss of the story. It’s like when you finally finish a great TV series or a riveting movie and suddenly you don’t know what to do with yourself. Those endearing characters are no longer in our lives and we miss them terribly.
Reading ‘What the Wind Knows’ provided me with comfort during dark and uncertain times. It’s hard to find hope during times of a pandemic, and not everyone can be with their loved ones right now. Perhaps, that’s why this story tugged at my heartstrings even more. It reminded me that there is still always light in the dark and that it’s okay to feel vulnerable because to feel and to love is to live.
‘What the Wind Knows’ is the type of love story that will continue to live on in your thoughts long after you have finished it. It is hauntingly beautiful and a love story that wants you to open your heart and to feel deeply. Time is meant to be cherished, and tomorrow is not always promised.