The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie
|The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: This multi-layered story weaves 14th century Tuscany with modern-day San Francisco. Maddie is trying to recover from the death of her fiance and is advised to take a trip to Italy to heal - but will it do the trick?|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 528||Date: October 2011|
|Publisher: Headline Review|
I loved the intriguing title of the book and was hoping that Hardie explains it. She does: not only that but the wind element (no pun intended) is mentioned throughout at regular intervals. A nice touch, I thought and not over-played either. The short Prologue describes a young girl on the eve of her terrible fate. But fate seems to have changed its mind at the very last minute. And this strange/weird/scary event happens at the Casa al Vento - The House of the Wind.
What a terrific start. And while my mind is swimming with quite a few questions, they will go unanswered for a while as Hardie fast-forwards to the here-and-now. Maddie is getting her apartment ready for its most important visitor to date. Her fiance. Except he doesn't arrive. He's been involved in a fatal road accident.
Back in time to Tuscany 1347 and we meet the second central character, a young girl called Mia. The picture painted of the area is of a Tuscan rural idyll, even back then. Mia lives a quiet life with her aunt. Her mother is no longer alive (Hardie tells us the gruesome details later on in the book) and Mia is now mute. The aunt takes in travellers and pilgrims who need a few nights rest and with a monastery nearby, the whole atmosphere is rather religious and contemplative. But all is not what it seems. The lives of aunt and niece are about to be rudely interrupted. A young couple require rest from their journey. They stay a little longer than originally planned and during the course of their stay, Mia becomes rather besotted by the young woman. And as the story unfolds, the young woman has quite a history. She also is a lucky charm for Mia and the unthinkable happens.
The stories of Maddie and Mia continue to unfold, chapter by chapter in Hardie's fluid, uncomplicated style. It's the type of book which is very easy to get involved with early on. Both central characters have likeable personalities. Although Maddie is grieving and is off-limits romance-wise, nevertheless she receives plenty of male attention. She comes across as independent, intelligent but also vulnerable.
Hardie has created a cast of interesting characters, some more memorable than others. I loved Maddie and Mia equally, but for different reasons. I think that the two strands worked okay. It was almost like two separate books for me at times. I also felt that there was a coincidence or two, too many. The jumping back and forth between Italy and the States did not really do it for me. Overall though, an engrossing read.
If this book appeals then you might like to try The Food of Love by Anthony Capella.
You can read more book reviews or buy The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The House of the Wind by Titania Hardie at Amazon.com.
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