"Compelling and thought-provoking." John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road
When the body fails, you've got two choices. Send the doctor in, or send a prayer up. But when no miracle arrives, how do you pull out a measure of hope?
Dr. Wolfgang Pike would love nothing more than to finish the requiem he's composing for his late wife, but the ending seems as hopeless as the patients dying a hundred yards away at the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis sanatorium. If he can't ease his own pain with music, he tries to ease theirs but his boss thinks music is a waste, and in 1920s Louisville, the specter of racial tensions looms over everything. When a retired concert pianist arrives, Wolfgang is thrust into an orchestra of the most extraordinary kind that emerges to change everything.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.10(d)|
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Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium
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."
"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.
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."
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.
What People are Saying About This
"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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Got it for free fridays, and with being in orchestra myself, it was great
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!
Written very well and interesting. A serious subject, great charactors. Enjoyed it and learned alot. Glad I read it!
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.
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.
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.
Book was hard to get into, but I'm glad I kept reading, as I ended up really enjoying the book.
This book got my interest and held it page after page. I recommend it as a good read.
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.
Thank you Free Fridays. Sometimes you offer us a gem like this one. Great story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Short-Take: James Markert has written a beautiful story that encapsulates the human spirit. "A White Wind Blew" is a story set in a time when the world had been ravaged by war (WWI) and disease (tuberculosis). With so much darkness in the world, this story reveals that little spark of light, the human spirit, that somehow continues to emerge, lead, and guide those who nurture that light inside. Because I am passionate about music and the written word, the best part of this story, for me, is that the author uses music as his kindling to ignite healing, illuminating that tiny spark of hope that resides inside each one of us and allows us to persevere.
Compelling story, well written, funny, sad and thought provoking.
I never knew about this part of history - thank God for antibiotics today! Definitely an eye opener and worth your time.
Really enjoyed this free nook book and would recommend it to others who enjoy historical fiction. Checked our the tb hospital online and am now interested touring the place when I'm next nearby it.
I thought it might be boring & a little long, but I was wrong. I really enjoyed it.
Very interesting and creative. Shows you something great can come out of something awful