Reviewed by Molly Martin
by Kathleen Janz-Anderson
Paperback: 528 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1492393306
September Wind opens with a prologue and we meet Rachael laying across her bed, angry and in tears. Pregnant, unmarried, 1940 Illinois was not a forgiving setting for a girl not quite 18. Emily faces life with her uncles and grandfather following the death of the woman who tended to her following her birth and the death of her mother soon after that birth. Kept at home tending to a growing list of chores Emily had little time to relish the joys of childhood. Going to school following a visit from the school board, making a friend, and then losing her friend to drowning all had an effect on Emily.
Emily’s childhood moves forward filled with drudgery, school, end of schooling, young love, and loss when her friend and his family move away and culminates with an attack terminating with her using a pitchfork to stop the assault. Then life becomes one of running away, fear of being found, arrival in San Francisco and carving out a life filled with ups and downs, meeting people, never quite able to trust, but always filled with mettle and anticipation and insight that her father may be alive somewhere.
Janz-Anderson’s ability to create a ripping tale is very evident and holds her in good stead. Furthering Anderson’s vigilant groundwork is her attention to detail. September Wind is a fast, well written narrative filled with sentiment, courage and reaction. Characters are credible, storyline is well plotted, writing is filled with more than enough importance to keep the reader turning the page.
September Wind is a bang-up, coming of age, narrative assured to hold reader interest right from the prologue as we meet the characters peopling the book and right on to the closing paragraphs when we find Emily at last facing a life filled with expectation and faith and confidence. Janz-Anderson presents a cleverly wrought work filled with the tension of the farmhouse, the elderly unapproachable grandfather and his grown sons set against a backdrop of farming, and anger and family secret not revealed to Emily, but always hanging over them all and always leading to strain. On the periphery is Emily’s elderly aunt, seeming as unreachable as is Emily’s grandfather, but now and again showing small indications that she is not quite so thorny or remote as might be thought.
The book’s riveting chronology is well thought out providing a powerful read. Filled with compelling settings, down to earth, believable dialogue, fiduciary interaction between the characters and a persuasive theme, September Wind is an electrifying read meant to be appreciated. Tension between Emily and the various members of her childhood family is something we can believe as is the interplay between Emily and the various players she meets following her leaving the farm and the anguish experienced there. It is a relief to this reader that Emily may, at last, be on the road to a new life filled with more confidence, happiness and optimism.
Reviewed by: molly martin
20+ years classroom teacher
20+ years classroom teacher