The House of the Wind, by Titania Hardie, tells the story of two women, centuries apart, whose lives are woven together by the myth of the woman who walked away unscathed from the ruins of the Casa al Vento. Madeline Moretti (Maddie), a lawyer from San Francisco in 2007, is mourning the accidental death of her fiancé. Maria Maddalena (Mia), living in Tuscany in 1347, has seen her own mother killled in a brutal fashion. We learn how their future unfolds and how history binds them together in a very spiritual way.
The novel is beautifully written and I only wish I’d been reading it under warm Tuscan skies with no time limits, rather than snatching chapters here and there, which, to be fair, didn’t allow the book to work its magic on me.
The narrative swaps from one century to another and I do find that a bit tricky. Just when I’m being drawn into one character’s story and feeling empathy, the scene changes and I have to work hard to remember where I was with the other. The book is quite long and at times I was urging the plot to move a little faster. Yet there were some fascinating insights into corporate legal work in the United States plus some very interesting detail about medieval life in Europe during a very unstable period in history.
And how could I not be captivated by the setting in Tuscany of the very real hotel Borgo Santo Pietro which sounds so luxurious and serene, I’m tempted to book a holiday there right away.
I have very fond memories of Tuscany as our precious son was conceived there 16 years ago. Maybe there is magic to be found in that beautiful part of Italy after all.
The House of the Wind was published by Headline Review on 27 October 2011 in Paperback Original, £7.99. I was sent the book by the publishers to review.