So Wild the Wind
Along the Texas Gulf coast in 1867, a ship founders and sinks along deadly rocks, leaving only a single survivor. Alida Garrison discovers her rescue is unusual in the small town, where ships often are inexplicably lured into the bay during storms, leaving no one alive. Alida slowly recovers thanks to the lame shopkeeper and elderly Hispanic woman who care for her, but she’s wracked by guilt over the deaths of her family, all of whom were found dead after the shipwreck. Shortly after her rescue from the waves, the local recluse, a wealthy man, takes an intense and dark interest in her. Alida might have refused his offer of employment and his gifts if not for his young son, who reminds her of the boy she recently lost at sea. Caught in a dark web of mystery, tangled further by her own uncertainty, Alida must fight both the weather and other forces to truly find her own new peace.
The author’s ability to create characters absolutely shines when all of the peripheral characters come into play. The elderly Hispanic woman, the old African slave who remains with her master even after the Civil War, the several seedy individuals, the antagonists, and the local barmaid are full of vigor, fabulous cadences in their speech, and real strength. The author is to be commended for her take on such unique people. The protagonists themselves are interesting, though could do with a deeper exploration of their internal driving forces, and sometimes the dialogue feels contrived or overly dramatic. This novel reads as historical fiction with a bit of romantic suspense.