“Book Review: Windswept”
Reviewed by Samantha Hui
A multidimensional women’s war drama that balances the stakes between passionate love and treacherous war
Windswept examines corruption, gender roles, and loyalty, and puts these themes in competition with each other in the midst of the Great War.
Annabelle McCormack has written a women’s historical novel of WWI that refuses to distinguish between good and evil, but rather questions the status quo and appeals to people’s humanity. McCormack asks us to question our own loyalties and begs us to reconsider our beliefs.
Windswept is suspenseful, passionate, harrowing, and is bound to make even its most cynical reader long for more.
“Death made equals of cowards and heroes, friend or foe.”
Ginger Whitman is a British nurse on the frontlines of the war. We encounter Ginger during a time in which she must attend a hearing due to her saving “the wrong life.” Ginger’s determination to see past allies and enemies, leads her to tend to a wounded Ahmed in spite of his appearances as a Turkish soldier. Ahmed is a British spy seeking the man who will understand the code word “dragonfly.” Ginger’s single act of kindness puts her on a path filled with betrayal, murder, and infidelity.
“But she was tired of pretending the rules always made sense.”
While the war rages around them, Ginger also navigates the world of romance and womanhood. Ginger is deeply uninterested in living a traditional life in which she must follow the rules with no questions asked. She is an aristocrat, and yet she goes out of her way to take part in the war and serve as a nurse. She is engaged to Doctor James, an action almost in direct response to her father wanting her to marry a different man. She has made it a point never to act out of a sense of obligation or loyalty, but, rather, she walks to the beat of her own drum, acting out of both gut instinct and the belief in others’ humanity.
But when Lieutenant Noah Benson appears on the grounds, snooping into the business of Ahmed and his intentions, passion becomes one of Ginger’s biggest motivators.
“Loyalty for the sake of loyalty can be the most dishonest concept you ever encounter.”
Ginger is an absolute breath of fresh air. She is headstrong and acts upon impulse because a majority of the time, she knows she is right. She is unconventional without feeling contrarian. Though I love the character of Ginger, there are moments where her character feels a bit indecisive and naïve. She is whip smart and knows more than she lets on, but it is frustrating to see Ginger treated by the male characters of the story as a woman who merely happened upon “men’s affairs.” Ginger possesses a beautiful singularity that the men in the novel take for granted. But this perhaps talks more to McCormack’s skillful portrayal of the gender roles during the time.
Suspenseful, sexy, and moving, Windswept is a great choice for those looking for strong female leads in their historical fiction. Ginger will inspire you; the story will enthrall you; and the passionate romance will win you over.
Genre: Historical fiction
Print Length: 454 pages
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