Customer Reviews for

Surrender the Wind

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A Literary Voice of the Finest Merit

This author is what Vladimir Nabokov calls an enchanter. If he were giving his "Lectures on Literature" today, he would cite SURRENDER THE WIND as the 21st Century's example of a classic novel, side by side with the 19th Century's "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens and "M...
This author is what Vladimir Nabokov calls an enchanter. If he were giving his "Lectures on Literature" today, he would cite SURRENDER THE WIND as the 21st Century's example of a classic novel, side by side with the 19th Century's "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens and "Madame Bovary" by Gustav Flaubert. But, Rita Gerlach moves into the present, beyond Dickens and Flaubert with her unique voice, electric pacing and concise plotting. Supreme suspense hovers through every twist and cranny in the events that unfold.

The exceptional editing of Abingdon Press Editor Barbara Scott has empowered Gerlach to mesmerize her readers as she transposes them to the post-revolutionary period between England and the United States. A structural counterpoint of VIRTUE and VICE permeates her work in phrase and action. Often words associated with love are used to describe despair. For instance, the play of dualism on the word "embrace," with the opposite perception of entrapment intended, is repeated: "High in the heavens the moon broke free from the embrace of clouds." And later: "The sea crashed against the hull, lifted the ship and brought it down again into the sea's dark embrace." This is no mere gift of language. This is literary genius.

Further proof of the author's astounding mastery of literary craftsmanship is the application of Faubert's own test. In July 1852, he wrote, "A really good sentence in prose should be like a good line of poetry, something you cannot change and is just as rhythmic and sonorous." Numerous passages of Rita Gerlach's novel can be printed as free verse and read in exactly the same way: "The wind rose and rushed through the darkness as the skiff mounted and fell over the swells."

Like Dickens and Flaubert, her minor characters stand out-not just for the roles they play in her plot but for their very human qualities. Literary devices such as assonance, alliteration, metaphors, similes and symbolism abound throughout her magical imagery. From the prologue through every scene thereafter, the reader feels the villain lurking, waiting, conniving, ready to pounce with meanness and passion, as he eventually does.

But most of all, the historical love story of Juleah and Seth set against the terrible retribution of Darden's unrequited love joins the greatest love stories of all time. When American patriot Seth Braxton travels to Devonshire, England, to claim Ten Width, the estate his grandfather left him, he falls in love with his sister's best friend, the beautiful and independent spirited Juleah, but terrible happenings--murders, kidnappings, the burning of his estate, a shipwreck and the British mistrust of an American interloper--plague them. Can Seth and Juleah survive Darden's sinister plotting? The stage is set, and SURRENDER THE WIND is everything the author promises it will be.

posted by WindsongBT on August 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

American Revolution historical fiction - unique!

This was a very interesting book to me. I loved the time period it was set in (post American Revolution) and the scenario (a patriot has to go to England to claim his inheritance and deal with all the hard feelings of the English there). There are a lot of elements to t...
This was a very interesting book to me. I loved the time period it was set in (post American Revolution) and the scenario (a patriot has to go to England to claim his inheritance and deal with all the hard feelings of the English there). There are a lot of elements to the storyline - mystery, murder, kidnapping, death, deception and love.

But something about the book just didn't read smoothly to me. Like maybe there were too many elements to the book and so they weren't all able to develop fully. The romance between Seth and Juleah didn't develop it just happened as did the love story between Caroline and Michael Bray.

I liked the overall book, it was really unique, the ending was great and can I just say that the cover is beautiful. A good historical romance from an era not much written about.

posted by Janna6 on August 30, 2009

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    Perhaps I need to give this book another try after reading the r

    Perhaps I need to give this book another try after reading the review describing it as the work of "a literary voice of the finest merit" and destined to take its place along side Dickens and Flaubert (really?).
    The synopsis of this book sounded interesting but I found myself not able to get halfway through the prologue. In those few short pages, I discovered the hero had dark hair with "a hint of bronze within its blackness", keen blue eyes, and a strong jaw; yet was left wondering why he was late joining his "ragtag band of patriots" and their purpose gathering on a Virginia hillside. He is clever enough, however, to jam his hat low on his brow and then, immediately toss back a lock of that dark hair that had fallen across it.
    I also learned that in a "cool autumn twilight", men will immediately begin to perspire heavily (until the sweat turns cold). And that a "cruel light " spreading across a man's face and eyes "blazing with sordid pleasure" means that man will soon put a horse with a "mortal wound" out of its misery. And who the heck could keep straight all those British officers with burning hatred in their eyes and sneering lips?
    In other words, too much unchecked description and not enough exposition. I honestly would expect an author who displays "astounding mastery of literary craftsmanship" (according to that very glowing review) and is blessed with the "exceptional editing" of her publisher NOT to use the phrases "run for his life" and "as fast as his legs could carry him" within the same paragraph. Or have a hero who has both "unaffected energy" and is exhausted.
    And yes, my review would have not been so snarky (or perhaps even written) if not for the over-the-top rhapsodies of that other review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    So-so read

    I'm glad I got this book for free. It dragged on and on. It only got good at the very end. The love story was lacking. I only gave it 2 stars because I did enjoy the action that this book did provide.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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