The Western Wind

Grove. Nov. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9780802128287. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802146533. F
Told in quietly arresting prose, this new book from award-winning British author Harvey (Dear Thief) is set in 1491 Oakham, a not terribly prosperous village now bone-sodden after a particularly dreary winter. As the work opens, Thomas Newman, Oakham's wealthiest man, has been lost to the swollen river on Shrove Saturday, whether by his hand, by another's, or by accident no one knows. Conscientious pastor John Reve tries to comfort his flock while holding off the preening, sanctimonious dean, who is eager to find fault with John's ministry and convict someone for Thomas's murder. The story unfolds backward in time from Shrove Tuesday to the day of Thomas's death, with John hearing confession from his carefully sketched parishioners, pondering his friendship with the deceased (they argued intriguingly about theology), and recalling his own family, including a sister just lost to him through marriage. As the narrative moves to a superbly conceived ending, Thomas emerges as a good but grieving man, and it soon becomes clear that John understands more of what happened than he lets on.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of literary and historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 5/21/18.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing