REVIEW: The Western Wind, Samantha Harvey

Thursday, 15 August 2019

15th century Oakham, in Somerset; a tiny village cut off by a big river with no bridge. When a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim, Thomas Newman, the wealthiest, most capable and industrious man in the village? And what will happen if he can’t?
Moving back in time towards the moment of Thomas Newman’s death, the story is related by Reve – an extraordinary creation, a patient shepherd to his wayward flock, and a man with secrets of his own to keep. 

Set in the 15th-century, The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey is a thought-provoking look at the intricate complexities of small-town, medieval life through its subtle mystery genre-tilt. In it, nothing is fast-moving, page-turning; instead, the backdrop allows for a quiet examination of the nature of secrets and confession. Told backwards, the relationships of the town become more entwined and confused, and it begs the question: who are you supposed to turn to with your own worries, when the space you are given is to only be privy to those of others?

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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