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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

What the Wind Knows by Amy HarmonWhat The Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Published by Lake Union Publishing on March 1, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 406
ISBN: 9781542040075
Source: Purchased



An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

Spiritual Content

Most people in What the Wind Knows (including Anne) are Catholic; praying and the recital of religious songs and stories happen, but usually in a brief/generic way. The Rosary is said a couple of times (once by Anne and again by the mother of one of Thomas’s patients). A couple of pages detail Anne’s views on God and religion and mention her study of catholicism. There’s mention of the sound of a bell irritating her because “one of the nuns in Catholic school had had one just like it that she pinged constantly and ferociously.” Church services are attended a few times throughout the story, and it’s implied (and, in Mick’s case, stated) that they attend regularly. 

The only magic, if it can even be called that, is time travel. 


Since What the Wind Knows takes place at a time when Ireland is fighting for her freedom, the violence of war is commonplace. And while I don’t consider any of it a deal breaker, opinions can and will vary. So I’m giving you a bird’s-eye view of the violent acts you’ll find hiding in the pages, including:

  • Executions by firing squad (non-descriptive)
  • broken bones (non-descriptive)
  • Civilians and soldiers (including kids) get shot and (often) killed throughout the story. (these scenes are usually more descriptive, especially regarding the wounded and their medical treatment.)
  • Buildings are lit on fire, burned down, blown up, or otherwise vandalized, sometimes resulting in deaths or injuries (briefly described along with their medical treatment).
  • People are described in their final moments or even after they’re gone. (i.e., bodies were burned beyond recognition, his eyes closed and his breath rattled in his throat, etc.)
  • Jailbreaks and “the targeted killing of G-Men” (context is given, but no more details about the murders or other violent behavior.)
  • Death by starvation (including voluntary hunger strikes as protests) and force-feeding. (Again, context is given, but nothing more.)
  • An IRA gunrunner gets shot in the eye by Auxies. (His wound and subsequent medical treatment are vividly described.)
  • Assassinations and attempted assassinations (including arson, sniping, ambushes, etc.)

Drug And Alcohol Content

Pain pills, morphine shots, and “something clear and syrupy”  are used for medical treatment several times throughout What the Wind Knows. There’s some smoking and consumption of alcohol, mostly during celebratory gatherings (the announcement of a truce, weddings, etc.) but also during troubling times (the expectation of a failed treaty, the late-night arrival of Auxies and IRA gun runners, etc.) At one point, a partial bottle of Irish Whiskey is dumped on a man to convince some Auxies he’s passed out instead of shot.

Sexual Content

A married woman (Moya Llewelyn-Davies) is said to have made advances on Thomas and Mick. (No more details are given.) It’s said that Anne dated a handful of men before meeting Thomas and “even slept with two of them.” Thomas writes that in Ireland, the fear of being unable to provide for a family keeps women from “welcoming a man to their bed.” There are a few descriptive kisses between Thomas and Anne and a couple of fade-to-black sex scenes.

Swearing Or Foul Language

  • Eleven uses of da-n
  • Twenty uses of h-ll
  • One use of sh-t
  • One use of b-ch
  • Ten uses of f- (the Irish version uses an e, not a u, but I decided to count it anyway.)
  • Two uses of a-

My Take On What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Endearingly flawed heroes and a sweet slow-burn romance that tempers the bitterness of war make What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon a great read. 

Add in an underdog and a tyrant, and it’s no wonder the book is so beloved. 

But grounding that beloved book in the reality of years gone by?

Pure genius.

Unfortunately, the sweet romance at the heart of What the Wind Knows may not be enough to keep readers from leaving it on the shelf, especially if they aren’t keen on violence or intimacy that flirts with indecency.

For those reasons, I recommend this book only to readers 17 and older.

About Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author. Amy has written novels in multiple genres, including the bestsellers, WHAT THE WIND KNOWS and WHERE THE LOST WANDER, and her books are now being published in twelve countries around the world.

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