(Review) The Orphan of Salt Winds by Elizabeth Brooks

Publisher and Publication Date: Tin House Books. 2019.
Genre: Fiction. Coming of age story.
Pages: 293.
Format: E-book.
Source: Kindle e-book purchase.
Audience: Readers of coming of age stories.
Rating: Very good.

Link @ Amazon

The story has 2 time periods, 1939 and 2015. The setting is England.

Virginia Wrathmell is 10. She is adopted by Clem and Lorna. They live in a rural area near a marsh. Their home is called Salt Winds. Clem studies birds. He writes wildlife books. Clem is a stable and kindhearted man. Lorna is irresponsible, high maintenance, and preoccupied. Their marriage and the tension in the home is palpable. A neighbor, Max Deering, is at Salt Winds too often. Meanwhile, a German fighter plane crashes near the marsh. The pilot is missing. Clem sets off at night to search for where the plane crashed.

Virginia has returned to Salt Winds as an older woman. She has not forgotten the events of 1939. They have impacted the rest of her life. This part of the story is about memories and making peace.

My Thoughts:
It’s difficult when my favorite character is written off in the beginning of the story. I dislike this. While reading I wondered if I could hang on to the last page or end it all together.
Clem is a character that’s depth is hidden by his quiet and calm nature. He is intelligent. He is a solid, all-around good guy. He is a person that can be friends with anyone. He is the anchor in the family.
Lorna is unlikable. I picture her in my mind as a person either staring off in a dreamy like state or staring at herself in the mirror. She is so uncomfortable as a mother that I am uncomfortable too.
Max Deering is a person no one should take their eyes away from. He is not trustworthy.
Virginia is 10 but going on 30. She takes on the roll as a parent. She’s resilient and strong-willed.
The Orphan of Salt Winds is a character driven story that takes on internal conflicts. The plot is shaped because of the choices and conflicts of the characters.

The mood of the story is one of things unsaid or unspoken. There is a haunting feeling. A feeling of doom.

Themes in the story are jealousy, ambition, love, loyalty, betrayal, and obsession.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the story because it’s well-written and memorable. It’s a great fire-side-winterish story.


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