A White Wind Blew: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

"A compelling and thought-provoking novel that will move and inspire readers of all kinds." -John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road

When the body fails, you've got two choices.
Send a doctor in, or send a prayer up.
And if ...

See more details below
A White Wind Blew: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$14.99 List Price

Overview

"A compelling and thought-provoking novel that will move and inspire readers of all kinds." -John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road

When the body fails, you've got two choices.
Send a doctor in, or send a prayer up.
And if neither works?

You'll find Dr. Wolfgang Pike at his piano.

Music has always been Wolfgang's refuge. It's betraying him now, as he struggles to compose a requiem for his late wife, but surely the right ending will come to him. Certainly it'll come more quickly than a cure for his patients up at Waverly Hills, the tuberculosis hospital, where nearly a body an hour leaves in a coffin. Wolfgang can't seem to save anyone these days, least of all himself.

Sometimes we just need to know we're not the only ones in the fight. A former concert pianist checks in, triggering something deep inside Wolfgang, and spreading from patient to patient. Soon Wolfgang finds himself in the center of an orchestra that won't give up, with music that won't stop. A White Wind Blew delivers a sweeping crescendo of hope in a time of despair, raising compelling questions about faith and confession, music and medicine,and the undying force of love.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Working at the Waverly Hills tuberculosis sanatorium outside 1920s Louisville in the midst of a deadly epidemic, Dr. Wolfgang Pike is desperate to raise patient morale. When a former concert pianist checks into the sanatorium, Wolfgang has found his answer: he will form an orchestra and transform the patients' lives—as well as his own—through the redemptive power of music. VERDICT The setting of this debut novel is well chosen and researched, but the cluttered narrative is uneven in tone. In addition, Wolfgang's selfish focus on his own emotional needs rather than the welfare of his patients makes him a markedly unsympathetic protagonist. The author also glosses over the real horrors of tuberculosis for the sake of the sentimental idea that music is the best medicine. Readers looking for a purely heartwarming tale, however, may be alienated by darker plotlines involving the Ku Klux Klan, suicide, religious and ethnic prejudice, and a veteran's traumatic memories of World War I.—Mara Bandy, Champaign P.L., IL
Publishers Weekly
Music comes to a tuberculosis hospital in the prohibition-era American South in this absorbing historical, based on a real Louisville sanatorium operating at the turn of the 20th century. At Waverly Hills, the young and old alike are sequestered, and many won’t survive. Coffins are sent away in a tunnel to hide the high death rate. Walking among the ill is Dr. Wolfgang Pike, an amateur composer and would-be priest who was derailed from his godly purposes by his late wife. Haunted by her memory and desperate to aid his patients, Pike schemes to bring more music into the sanatorium, forming a band with the patients. But bureaucracy, the ongoing march of death among his musicians, and the KKK, whose members don’t approve of Pike’s Catholicism and racial liberality, provide obstacles to success. From secret rehearsals to hijinks with patients on the loose, from profound and tender moments to unspeakable violence, the orchestra’s journey from idea to entity enthralls the whole hospital community. Though a romantic backstory and the racial strife can feel formulaic, Markert displays great imagination in describing the rivalries, friendships, and intense relationships among the often quirky and cranky terminally ill, and the way that a diagnosis, or even a cure, can upset delicate dynamics. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"James Markert tells a story of the triumph of music and faith in a dead-end place of despair and loneliness called Waverly Hills. Beautifully told, A White Wind Blew is set in a time when the klan and racism openly thrived. With a historian's eye for detail, Markert spins his story of a world where men and women were healed and made whole." - Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country

"In A White Wind Blew, James Markert skillfully weaves together medicine and history, a tragic love story, and a spiritual investigation into the relationship between faith and music. The result is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that will move and inspire readers of all kinds." - John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road and Northwest Corner

"The setting of this debut novel is well chosen and researched" - Library Journal

"Music comes to a tuberculosis hospital in the prohibition-era American South in this absorbing historical, based on a real Louisville sanatorium operating at the turn of the 20th century... Markert displays great imagination in describing the rivalries, friendships, and intense relationships among the often quirky and cranky terminally ill, and the way that a diagnosis, or even a cure, can upset delicate dynamics. " - Publishers Weekly

"Markert has interwoven three seemingly unrelated subjects-tuberculosis, music, and racism-into a hauntingly lyrical narrative with operatic overtones... a soaring tribute to the resiliency of life in the face of death." - Booklist

"James Markert... has taken the exceptional and amazing setting of "one of the scariest places on earth, the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium, and produced an absorbing novel about the place, its inhabitants and the times." - Louisville Courier-Journal

"The author's ability to weigh competing views against each other, and the all-too-real human complications, are presented with a remarkable understanding of conflicting ideas that makes even villains human eventually... The author writes well and reads easily; you'll finish this book in a day or two and wish for a sequel." - BookPage

"Set in the time of Prohibition and segregation, this novel brings to life the desperation of the plague that as yet had no cure... I couldn't put down this story of a doctor's struggle with faith, hope and healing. In the end, I not only learned about that time in history, but it vividly came alive." -

"Excerpt: Like rich dark chocolate tempered with sea salt, A White Wind Blew is bittersweet and addictive. I kept coming back to the story, reluctant to leave it even when I knew I should be sleeping." - A Bookish Libraria The Bookish Dame Reviews

"Excerpt: Markert develops Waverly Hills and its residents in ways that are realistic and touching — the couple who meets and marries only to fall ill weeks later; the man devastated by war and unable to play the music he once loved; a black man whose entire family was taken by disease but who serves in defiance of it and who acts as go between for the two hospitals. Markert lends them a dignity no one else at the time does..." - The Picky Girl

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402278389
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/26/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 130,725
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

James Markert lives in Louisville with his wife and two children. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville, and is a USPTA tennis professional. His comedy screenplay, 2nd Serve, was produced by Sundance Award Winner Gil Holland and recently premiered.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium


January 1929


Dr. Wolfgang Pike could always tell when the rain was near. He felt the stiffness in the morning first, soon after the roosters had begun to wake the hillside, and by afternoon it had become a constant ache in the bottom of his right calf. His ankle had all but locked up, and no amount of massaging could loosen the muscles and bones of his withered right foot-his heel had been raised in a permanent tiptoe since age eight, when polio rendered the foot nearly useless and transformed it into a weather vane. On the morning of Tad McVain's arrival at Waverly Hills, the ache was nearly crippling.


Not a drop of rain had fallen at Waverly for twenty days. The woods were full of gnarled, naked tree limbs, and the dry air carried with it a crispness that led to watery eyes, bloody noses, and a tickling in the back of the throat. But these blue skies would not endure. Already the cumulus clouds skittered above the bell tower, blotting out the sun, and when the first drop plopped against the rooftop, it set loose like hail all over the grounds, pinging off the gutters and walkways like machine-gun fire. Torrential rain pelted the trees, the rooftop, and the grassy knoll that led down to the woods.


The sanatorium's buildings were under attack, it seemed, the rain coming down in sheets past the screened-porch windows, the entrances turned to mud within minutes. Nearly five hundred patients watched from their beds on the porches, and many cheered the sudden change in weather. Men and women in the cafeteria stopped eating and stared out the first-floor windows. At the children's pavilion, all the kids clamored to play in the storm. The teenagers hiding out in Lover's Lane quickly hurried back to their rooms, laughing and drenched and plotting how to sneak back to their beds. The pumpkin patch flooded. The pigs snorted and rolled in the deepening mud.


Later Wolfgang might have called it a warning. But even aspiring priests are mortal and cannot tell the future. It was already a busy day; he had just witnessed the second death of the morning, and he'd only just begun his rounds. He watched the downpour from inside the nurses' station, a small bricked structure on the rooftop that contained a handful of rooms for housing Waverly's mental patients. To get down to the fourth-floor stairwell he needed to cross the open area of the rooftop, and his skeletal umbrella provided little protection. But he didn't have time to wait, so he stepped out into the hard rain.


Normally the rooftop of the five-story sanatorium would be crowded with heliotherapy patients and children, and one could see the city of Louisville miles away, even the Ohio River and the spires of Churchill Downs on a clear day. Today visibility was a mere fifty yards, at best, and he was alone up there. He hurried away from the mental ward into the deluge, no longer protected by the length of the looming bell tower, his footfalls barely steady on the tiles. Careful to avoid the slick leaves, he braced his left hand on the brick-and-stone wall that bordered the rooftop and squinted into the wind, dragging his right foot. He passed an empty seesaw and the three rocking swings behind it-rooftop playground equipment so that the children could get closer exposure to the sun. It saddened him to see them unused.


A door slammed behind him. Wolfgang looked back toward the nurses' station. The wind had blown the door open, sending it crashing into the brick wall. Nurse Rita appeared in the doorway, holding on to her white cap as she reeled the door back in. Above her the bell tower touched the low-lying clouds and a rumble of thunder enveloped the property. Thunderstorms in January were not the norm in the River City, but neither were twenty deaths in a single day, which had occurred on three different occasions since Christmas, when the temperatures lingered in the single digits and the patients, no matter how thickly they were bundled, could not find warmth on the solarium porches.


One of the mental patients screamed-the sound cut through the noise of the storm-and Wolfgang moved away from the shrill voice. It was not deep enough to be Herman's voice. He could tell it was Maverly Simms, the fifty-year-old woman with schizophrenia and with TB in every part of her body except her tortured brain. She'd most assuredly just noticed that her roommate, Jill, had died. Jill was a mute, prone to violence against others and to herself, but for whatever reason, Maverly's bouts of hysteria and rants of senseless drivel had calmed Jill. So they'd been placed together, and the situation worked well for three weeks. But Jill had passed away during the night.


About thirty minutes earlier, Nurse Rita had called Wolfgang up to the rooftop to help prepare Jill's body. Maverly had been awake but far from lucid when Wolfgang arrived with his black bag. She'd been in her rocking chair, staring out at the rain and approaching storm clouds, whispering softly, "Maverly at Waverly. Maverly at Waverly..."


"Maverly." Wolfgang's voice had drawn no reaction from her.


Nurse Rita stood next to Maverly's rocking chair and then turned at the sound of Wolfgang's voice. "It's like she's catatonic, Doctor." Rita had a pretty face and innocent dark eyes. She was young and, in Wolfgang's opinion, not seasoned enough for her current duty. Wolfgang had questioned Dr. Barker's decision to put her on the rooftop. Unfortunately for Rita, Dr. Barker liked to throw his staff right into things. "Baptize them by fire," he always said. And indeed, when Wolfgang had arrived this morning, Rita had been crying. Her jaw trembled. Her hands were clinched into tight balls, her fingernails pressing hard into the meat of her palms. Wolfgang approached her but kept his eyes on Maverly.


"Has she said anything yet?"


"No." Rita glanced at Maverly. "She's just been sitting there, staring out her window. Talking to herself."


"Come on, then." Wolfgang shifted Jill's body on the bed and started the cleaning process. "Lincoln's on his way to remove the body."


Wolfgang knew that tuberculosis didn't discriminate. It invaded the bodies of the young and elderly, black and white, men and women, sane and not so sane. From a sneeze, or a cough, by speaking or a kiss, airborne particles containing tubercle bacilli floated unseen in search of another host to infect. They became established in the alveoli of the lungs and spread throughout the body, sometimes quickly. The entire process with Jill had lasted only a few months-just long enough for her to be missed.


After a moment of silence, Rita wet a rag and dabbed Jill's lips before cleaning her fingernails and combing her silver hair. Wolfgang propped her head up on pillows, closed her eyes, and put in her false teeth. It was important to get the newly deceased in the best possible condition before another patient noticed her.


"I want my cakes," a man screamed from Room 502 next door. The voice was loud and booming, as if in competition with the thunder and rain.


Wolfgang sighed, scratched his head. "Herman?"


Rita nodded, fingertips to her forehead. It was not the first time Herman had ranted about wanting cake, just the first time of the morning.


"Ignore him." Wolfgang placed a hand on Rita's shoulder on his way out. "He'll stop eventually."


Rita took a deep breath. "I'll be okay."


Wolfgang trusted that she would be.


***


Wolfgang reached the stairwell and lowered his tangled umbrella. He smoothed his hands over his dark wavy hair and black beard-a beard he'd trimmed regularly ever since he'd started it as a teen, never allowing it to become too thick in the fifteen years he'd had it, yet full enough to keep his face warm during the cold Waverly winters. According to some of the patients, he had a baby face, so at least the beard helped him look closer to his age of thirty-one.


By the time he reached the fourth-floor solarium porch, where dozens of beds faced the long screened windows, he couldn't hear Maverly or Herman screaming anymore. Either they'd stopped or their voices were drowned out by the sanatorium's other noises-noises that chased him down the solarium as he quickly passed the beds and sidestepped an orderly pushing a squeaky library cart of books.


Wolfgang disagreed with Barker on how the sanatorium was structured: Men on the second and fourth floors. Women on the first and third floors. Children ushered off to the children's pavilion. Lunatics sent to the rooftop. They all were able to mix and mingle in the cafeteria, workshops, in the theater, and during special events like Christmas and Easter, but for Wolfgang it wasn't enough. In fact, he thought they shouldn't separate the patients at all, telling Susannah on many occasions, "We're not a prison!"


There was a conglomeration of laughter and moaning as mist from the heavy rainfall found its way into the screened porch and onto their bed covers. Some patients smiled and talked, read, or played checkers or chess; some shaved and listened to music; some cried out in pain and spat blood into their bedside pails. Some still slept; others drank milk and watched the weather with blank faces.


Halfway down the solarium, Wolfgang spotted Nurse Susannah Figgins heading his way. Her dress was the nurse's standard white, with a matching cap atop her curly blond hair. Her skin was pale, a stark contrast to her pretty brown eyes and rosebud lips. She reached into her dress pocket, pulled out a folded piece of paper, and held it out toward Wolfgang as she approached.


Wolfgang's heart skipped a beat just before the exchange. At just under six feet, he was three inches taller than Susannah and two years older. Unlike Rita, Susannah had very little trouble dealing with the mental patients on the rooftop, and Wolfgang attributed it to her confidence. She lifted her chin slightly as she spoke. "Today's request list."


Wolfgang checked over his shoulder in both directions before unfolding the paper. He glanced at the list, slid it into the pocket of his wet lab coat, and smiled at Susannah. "Thank you, Nurse Figgins."


Susannah rolled her eyes.


Wolfgang started to walk away when Susannah grabbed his arm and gently tugged him closer. "Wolf..." She lowered her voice and handed him a tiny flask. "For Dr. Waters. Courtesy of Lincoln. See him first. Dr. Barker's on the third floor."


Wolfgang discreetly pocketed the flask next to the folded paper, nodded toward Susannah, and moved on.


***


Wolfgang stopped in the open doorway of Room 207, where Dr. Henry Waters, his fellow doctor, mentor, and friend, wasted away on a bed only ten feet away-eyes sunken and surrounded by pockets of shadow, a shell of the vibrant man he had once been. He'd lost so much weight it was difficult to tell he was the same man in the picture on the bedside table, where he stood on the front lawn at his riverside home with his wife and three daughters, two of whom had already lost their lives to tuberculosis.


Wolfgang gave Dr. Waters another two days to live, at the most. At forty-five years of age, Dr. Waters was the second oldest doctor at Waverly Hills-five years younger than the chief doctor, Evan Barker-and had been second in command until the disease they were trying to cure had suddenly left him confined to a bed. He'd grown thinner and weaker the past twelve months.


Dr. Waters's tuberculosis had started in his left lung, quickly spread to the right, and within months it had begun to invade his bones and skin. No amount of fresh air, sunlight, or healthy food had been able to slow the "white death." His flesh was pale, his skin tight against a defined, hairless skull. Dr. Waters had been bald since his thirtieth birthday. Wolfgang had never even seen a picture of him with hair, so the idea of it was quite foreign to him, but now the lack of hair made him seem that much closer to becoming a corpse like the rest of the bodies that Lincoln sent down the chute.


"Someone there?" Dr. Waters called out.


Wolfgang stepped into the room. "It's me, Henry."


"Wolfgang." The hint of a smile etched across Dr. Waters's chapped lips. His voice was raspy, strained. His eyes remained closed. "Have a seat."


Wolfgang sat in a folding chair next to Dr. Waters's bed and beside a second bed that was vacant for the moment, the sheets tucked against the outline of a pillow, prepped and ready for a patient they had checked in just after sunrise. Wolfgang placed his black bag on the floor between his feet and leaned toward the bed. "How are you feeling, Henry?"


"Like death...taking a shit."


Wolfgang chuckled. "Of course."


"Any questions...that aren't stupid...Wolfgang?"


Wolfgang grinned as he pulled out the request list that Susannah had given him. "Your name is on the list today, Henry. Didn't know if that was a mistake."


"No, not a mistake."


Wolfgang read the request next to Dr. Waters's name. "Niccolo Paganini." He laughed. "Caprice Number Twenty-four in A minor."


"Yes."


"You are aware that I am not an Italian virtuoso on the violin?"


"Yes. Very aware."


Wolfgang bent down, unzipped his black bag, and removed the violin that had been jammed inside next to his flute, harmonica, and piccolo. "You know Paganini bested tuberculosis?"


"But not syphilis."


Wolfgang brought the violin up to his neck and paused as he stared at his friend, whose eyeballs danced beneath closed lids. Three months before Dr. Waters's diagnosis, Waverly's only colored doctor moved his family south to Alabama to open his own practice and get away from the Ohio Valley. Dr. Waters had taken over the patients at the colored hospital before he started getting sick. But his illness had left them with only three doctors and six nurses for nearly five hundred patients and a disease with no cure, a disease so contagious that the city treated Waverly's hillside like a leper colony. Many feared even a glance up toward the trees surrounding the Gothic building, and all lived in fear of what they called the white wind that often swept down the hillside like lava from Mount Vesuvius. Citizens held their breath whenever the white wind blew, and passing cars quickly rolled up their windows.


Their third doctor, a young man named Jefferson Blunt, had left the hillside weeks after Henry was diagnosed, unable to face the pressure. He'd been married for less than a year. His wife was pregnant with their first child, and they couldn't take the risks of living and working on Waverly's hillside any longer-neither the patients nor the staff were allowed to leave. Now, until more help arrived, it was just Wolfgang and Dr. Barker covering both hospitals.


Dr. Waters coughed horribly, as if something had rattled loose inside his chest. "Wolfgang... Before I die, please."


"Oh. Sorry." Wolfgang sat straight in the chair, craned the violin against his neck, and attempted to do Paganini's composition justice. Within seconds of the bow gliding across the strings, Henry's eyes stopped moving, the tension on his face eased, and the chapped smile brightened-a common response to Wolfgang's musical medicine. Despite the pain of the past months, a look of peace overcame his friend's face. But as much as Wolfgang loved and admired Dr. Waters, he didn't have time to play for very long. He had more patients to check on, more charts to go over, three surgeries on which he would assist Dr. Barker, and many more requests on the list.


After four minutes of, in his opinion, stumbling through Paganini, Wolfgang lowered the violin and placed it on his lap.


Dr. Waters breathed in and out through his nose, a cleansing push of air. "Believe in what you're...doing here...Wolfgang."


Wolfgang reached out and patted Henry's arm.


Dr. Waters coughed. "Don't let Barker-" He coughed again. Blood appeared on the right corner of his lips. Wolfgang wiped the blood with a small towel. Dr. Waters moved on the pillow, turned his head toward Wolfgang, and opened his eyes to mere slits. "Might not have a...cure...for the disease. But you...have a cure...for the soul." He closed his eyes again.


Wolfgang stood, placed his hand on Henry's forehead, which was burning with fever, and whispered a quick prayer, remembering how Dr. Henry Waters had touched so many patients over the years with his sense of humor, convinced that laughter, although not scientifically proven, was quite often the best form of medicine they could give. He had a dry wit that charmed the adults and an infectious childlike personality that won over the kids, telling jokes, pulling quarters from behind their ears and handkerchiefs from his nostrils. He would be missed by all. Wolfgang finished his prayer and removed his hand from the older man's forehead.


"Too bad I won't be around"-Dr. Waters shifted on the bed, wincing-"to be able to call you...Father. Or to see where this...music takes you."


Wolfgang smiled. He remembered the flask Susannah had given him. He pulled it from his pocket, placed it in Henry's right hand, and closed his fingers around it. "Whiskey. From Susannah."


Dr. Waters sighed. "A beauty. Give her...a kiss for me...will ya?"


"It was Lincoln's doing," said Wolfgang. "He's Prohibition's worst nightmare. Or maybe Barker's."


They shared a laugh, but it wasn't long-lived.


"Go on, Wolf." Dr. Waters raised his arm, flask in hand. "Leave me...to my drink. And to the memories...of that...crappy rendition of Paganini."


Wolfgang placed the violin inside his black bag of instruments, zipped it up, and tapped the lid of the flask. "Try to make that last until tomorrow."


"Not a chance."


Wolfgang stepped out to the second-floor solarium and spotted an ambulance coming up the wooded hillside. Electric cones of light propped in front of a dark Buick, flickering between the trees as the car noisily climbed the serpentine road.


The choking throttle of the ambulance engine drew closer.


Another patient was coming.


***


Wolfgang waited in the Grand Lobby, at the corner of the sanatorium where the east and west wings joined on the first floor. Roman-style columns stood like centurions throughout the space, crowned with carved swirls and geometric shapes that matched the deep, reddish-brown woodwork, warming its grandeur with a feeling of home. He watched out the glass doors as the ambulance puttered up the hillside.


"Dr. Pike."


Wolfgang turned to find Mary Sue Helman parked in her wheelchair. She'd been a patient at Waverly for fifteen months, arriving just a week after her twentieth birthday and four weeks after her wedding to Mr. Frederick Helman.


Wolfgang smiled. "Has someone abandoned you, Mary Sue?"


Mary Sue laughed and tucked strands of her shoulder-length brown hair behind her ears, at ease in her chair. "Abandoned momentarily. Lincoln has run off to the bathroom. I saw you standing here, so I escaped down the hallway." She appeared healthier every week, gaining weight at a faster rate than most of the ambulatory patients. Of course, she was eating for two now. Her cheeks were filling out, her brown eyes and dimples prominent in a face that was now soft instead of fragile. She rubbed her belly, nearly eight months with child. "I'm strong enough to make my own trip to the bathrooms now."


"Marvelous." Wolfgang extended his hand and she gripped it. "Bedpans be gone."


Mary Sue rubbed her bulging stomach. "He just kicked."


"He, huh?"


She nodded. "Feels like a boy."


Wolfgang looked over his shoulder toward the front doors as the ambulance came to a stop on the rutted road before the sanatorium's main entrance. He faced Mary Sue again. "I'll come check on you soon and we'll talk."


"I would like that."


"Until then." He popped his umbrella open and the skeletal spokes jutted out, the cloth ripped. Water splashed down onto his shoulder.


Mary Sue giggled. Just as Wolfgang was turning away she touched his lab coat, stopping him. "Dr. Pike, could you give this letter to Frederick?"


Wolfgang took the letter from her and tucked it inside his coat.


"He hasn't responded to my last two letters."


"I'll see that he gets it, Mary Sue."


Lincoln Calponi, an orderly dressed in white pants and a white shirt, hurried into the lobby toward Mary Sue. "There you are. You trying to give me the shake?"


"I couldn't make it out the door in time." She pointed at Wolfgang. "He got in my way."


Lincoln moved behind her wheelchair and eyed Wolfgang suspiciously but playfully. Lincoln and Mary Sue were about the same age, and they got along pretty well, as well as anyone could get along with Lincoln, who was as obnoxious as anyone on staff. He had fair skin with freckles, and sandy hair that was parted but always a tad disheveled, which blended well with his tendencies of hyperactivity. He knew of Mary Sue's situation, but it didn't stop him from harmless flirtations with her. Lincoln flirted with all the Waverly women, no matter their age or appearance. He was also one of Wolfgang's closest friends on the hillside.


"Oh, Lincoln," said Wolfgang. "Dr. Waters thanks you."


Lincoln winked and then rolled Mary Sue out of the lobby.


Wolfgang opened the front doors and stepped out into the rain. With his free hand he grabbed a wheelchair next to the doorway and navigated it downhill. The concrete walkway soon gave way to mud, and pushing the empty wheelchair proved difficult with his aching foot, especially while holding on to a torn umbrella.


The ambulance was coated with wet leaves and twigs from the low-hanging boughs that canopied the roadway all the way up the hillside. The driver appeared none too pleased to be out in the rain. He rolled down his window and beckoned Wolfgang with a chubby hand. He produced a clipboard that Wolfgang quickly signed.


"Just one?" Wolfgang asked.


The driver nodded, gazing wide-eyed up at the massive sanatorium. As soon as Wolfgang let go of the pen, the window rapidly squeaked upward. Wolfgang stood ankle-deep in the muck. He grabbed the wheelchair, half kicking it toward the back of the ambulance, where the double doors burst open. A young male attendant stood with one hand propping open the closest door, holding a cloth over his nose and mouth.


Inside the shadows of the Buick was a stern-looking man with red hair sprouting out beneath a bowler hat. Later forties or fifties, Wolfgang guessed, and dressed as if he'd come from an opera. Brown trousers and a frock coat, a white cotton shirt with a club collar. Even through the rain, Wolfgang saw a gold pocket watch tucked inside the pocket of his vest, with a paisley cravat to match.


The man coughed into his right hand. The attendant flinched.


But the man's eyes looked mischievous, as if he'd summoned up the cough on purpose to put a scare into the young attendant.


Wolfgang stepped closer and shouted over the rain. "Mr. McVain?"


The man nodded.


"Welcome to Waverly Hills."


McVain didn't reply. He stood on his own and lowered himself down into the wheelchair as the ambulance attendant quickly slammed the doors. The vehicle kicked into gear with a metallic grunt and pulled away.


Wolfgang held what was left of the umbrella over McVain's head and put all his weight behind the wheelchair, rolling through the mud.


"I'm sorry for the weather, Mr. McVain. You would think at this time of year it would be snow. Is it Tad? Is that right?"


No response from Tad McVain. He sat with his hands on his thighs, his fingers spread. Wolfgang stared. The man had five fingers on his right hand, but two on his left; only the pinkie and thumb remained.


Then the wind grabbed the umbrella from Wolfgang's grip and sailed it about ten yards away. The rain tapped against McVain's hard felt hat, dripping from the crown. Still he said nothing. He just looked upward at the massive Gothic building before them.


"Don't worry. You'll receive top-notch care here, Mr. McVain. I assure you." Wolfgang tilted the chair back slightly and bent to McVain's right shoulder. "By the way, my name is Wolfgang Pike. I'm a doctor here. I'm also in training to be a Catholic priest. You can call me Doctor, or some here already call me-"


McVain reached up, gripped the lapels of Wolfgang's lab coat, and pushed him back so forcefully that Wolfgang lost his balance and fell into the mud.


Maverly must have been watching from her rooftop window, because Wolfgang heard her screams begin again. "Maverly at Waverly," she shouted from above. "Maverly at Waverly. Maverly says welcome to Waverly."


Dr. Wolfgang Pike sat in the mud, rain pounding his head and shoulders, watching as the newest patient at Waverly Hills rolled himself into the sanatorium.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 249 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(103)

4 Star

(79)

3 Star

(46)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 249 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2013

    This book, set in the 1920s is about a TB hospital, its patients

    This book, set in the 1920s is about a TB hospital, its patients and doctors. The writing is wonderful, replete with images of life of those recovering. Most amazing is the orchestra that's composed of the patients.
    I couldn't put the book down.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Depressing.............................................. Not bad

    Depressing..............................................
    Not badly written.   But books about sanatoriums.   Prisons.   Mental hospitals etc...  just don't do it for me.   I know there is supposed to be an uplifting message in there but I don't like picking through the suffering to find it.

    12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    A very good book on a very heavy subject

    Why do bad things happen to good people, the old saying goes. Is TB a punishment as some thought during the epidemic?

    Dr. Wolfgang Pike is one of the2 remaining doctors at a large sanatorium in KY. He sees death almost everywhere and turns off the images with memories, wine and music...and some if the people he lives with that have come there to die.

    This is an amazing fiction with historical facts as its foundation. I found myself reading it in big chunks but then I'd stop and think about them. The love story, the faith story, the jealousy and the pain are all prevelant here. And, in the midst of them is the love and the hope we all search for and cling to.

    Highly recommend this

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    No comprende

    Very hard to understand.

    7 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    White Wind

    This is a wonderful story and well-written. Its not just a story about a period of American history. It is the story of life, our lives, and our faith. It is about choices and consequences. The settings in the story were of particular interest to me because I am familiar with both Louisville and St. Meinrad. I will highly recommend this book to my friends.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    B

    Read the overview and decide if it is interesting enough to try. I believe this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It may not be for everyone, but if you are interested in fiction, based on fact, about medical history you will love it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Good

    Very good story. After seeing Wavery hills on Ghost adventures and ghost hunters so many times, i could envision the floor plans they talked about, it made it seem a little more real. The story itself was so heartbreaking, knowing the pain the ppl went thru. The author really put research and heart into this book. Highly recommend. This is a keeper. Great free friday selection!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Great free book

    Got it for free fridays, and with being in orchestra myself, it was great

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Truly AWESOME writing

    A "must-read"!!! Please Mr.. Markert, tell us another story. Such a talented author! Thank you B&N for this Free Friday offering. It was just sublimely perfect for your readers of all ages & genders.
    I will be telling all my reading friends about this book for a long time to come! I absolutely could not put it down! Truly a five star book if there ever was one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    Great story!

    Written very well and interesting. A serious subject, great charactors. Enjoyed it and learned alot. Glad I read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    This story needs to be a movie!

    I loved, loved, loved this story! Exceptionally well written and, to me, has a feel similar to The Green Mile. It would make a great movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    I was moved to tears

    We so seldom get to know what people are capable of. This story is inspiring in showing us the amazing accomplishments and compassion of ordinary people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Book was hard to get into, but I'm glad I kept reading, as I ended up really enjoying the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    Great story

    This book got my interest and held it page after page. I recommend it as a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 17, 2013

    I really liked it

    This is a well written book with well developed characters that you could learn to like, even with their flaws. The overall situation is depressing, since it is in a TB hospital with very little in the way of cures available, but in the end it shows the goodness in people in the face of adversity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Thank you

    Thank you Free Fridays. Sometimes you offer us a gem like this one. Great story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 15, 2013

    Very highly recommended Right up there

    I felt so close with Dr Wolfgang Pike. I also grew up in a dysfunctional home and developed a kinship with him. It seemed that he could never catch the golden ring on the carousel. Many times I was brought to tears. Highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Yes, I would recommend.

    I enjoyed this book - it was different. Being a nurse the story line kept me interested. Thanks B&N for offering it for a free Friday read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Well Done, enjoyable read!

    James Markert's story of the TB plague and the emotions of the personal life of a personal who was caught between two vocations is quite gripping, nicely written, and in no way tries to sugar-coat the bigotries that were so prominent against those who had the afflication, and people of color who were segregated from the majority population. Following through with a very good plotline, all the factors of this era play out in an outstanding manor. Anyone familiar with the history of that era will agree Markert left no emotion untouched. Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    such a page turner!

    I was looking for a good period fiction novel for my days off from work. I happened to find this one and was so quickly caught up in the world of Wolfgang Pike and his humanitarian themed life in Waverly Hills. I will share this book with several of my daughter's teahers who are anxiously waiting to read it. I hope there will be another novel to continue this one with the main character moving further through his life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 249 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)