My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up The Shouting Wind primarily due to the strapline on the front: “Three lives, three times, three heroines who dare to be different”. It’s the first of a trilogy concerning the lives of a grandmother, mother, and daughter in the same family and is followed by The Cliff Path and A Fear Of Heights The idea of a female-centred, multi-generational family story is something that really very much appeals to me.
I have a lot of love for Linda Newbery. She’s a superb writer; Polly’s March for example is genuinely one of the best historical YA books I’ve read for a long while and the same goes for Some Other War. Newbery has a freshness and a sensitivity to her work that can be outstanding.
And yet, for some reason, The Shouting Wind did not really work for me. I actually think Newbery’s written better books that deal with similar thematic elements and a similar historical time period (see the previous two titles mentioned). The Shouting Wind (something about that title does not sit right for me) is the story of Kay, who joins the WAAF during WW2. There’s some very solid detail and historical colour here which is handled well, and I really liked the details of base life. Newbery is gifted at mixing the banal with the bloody without slipping into bathos.
The Shouting Wind is a solid, readable book with likeable characters and an emotional core. I wonder though whether the impact of this book is more negated through acting as an introduction to a trilogy rather than a stand alone text. There’s a self-awareness here of structure, and I imagine this may get paid off in the next two novels. For now though, The Shouting Wind has a rather disappointingly brief impact.