As part of my affiliation with PubShelf, I have been sent Jo Bunt’s first published novel to read and review on my blog. Daughter of the Winds is a romance novel set in Cyprus as one woman finds herself on a journey to uncover the mysteries of her past. Leni, a woman in her mid-thirties, has recently suffered two highly traumatic incidents in quick succession. Everything that Leni once knew has turned out to be nothing but a smokescreen for a truth hidden deep in the past.
Jo Bunt does an excellent job of describing the beautiful and rather exotic surroundings of Cyprus and made this currently wind-swept and storm-battered Brit long for a little winter sun in warmer climes. Another key element of this book is the amount of time given to the traditional cuisine of the island and while reading this book I felt the hankering for mezze a time or two…..
This book is not just about pleasant weather and tasty food; it also has some very real things to say about love, life and loss and how all three are intrinsically linked together. The story unfolds in two parts in which we see the present-day Leni embark on a journey of self-discovery while also uncovering the path of her ‘mother’, Prudence. Neither woman is without fault and I found this a refreshing aspect of the book. The two main characters are three-dimensional in the fact that they have personality traits that are not all that desirable. Jo Bunt enables us to look at some of the not so nice aspects of the human condition while not alienating us from the book’s main characters. For example: Leni has made it her mission to travel to Cyprus to uncover her past without giving any thought to the emotional minefield she may be wading into. Not once at the beginning of the journey does she consider anyone but herself and her own needs as she blunders from place to place asking questions that some of the island’s residents would rather leave unanswered and buried in the past.
The people of Cyprus – especially Cypriots of Greek descent suffered greatly during the ‘war’ of 1974, a bloody battle in which neither side came out of unscathed. Although times have changed, for some the wounds of the past are just as raw as they were forty years ago. Leni is single-minded in her approach to getting to a truth that she feels has been hidden from her for too long and gallivants off leaving her husband and ‘mother’ behind. Leni seems to care little for the festering sores of recent history that she blindly opens as she quests to find the answer she’s been looking for. Yet by the conclusion of the story, Leni comes to realize that sometimes not everything is about her and that she is perhaps luckier than she realizes when it comes to the love of those around her. We see Leni as being redeemed as she learns to piece together her past and integrate it into life as she knows it in the present day.
The story of Leni’s mother, Prudence, is also a tale of discovery and of finding one’s strength. When we first meet Prudence we find a heavily-pregnant woman with ideas above her station, someone who seems to think that she is better than the other Army wives around her. Prudence is rather self-involved and one feels rather sorry for her put-upon husband, Eddie, after a while, a man who can seemingly do no right in the eyes of his over-critical wife. But a catastrophic incident blows Prudence’s world apart as the war between the Turks and the Greeks is brought all too close to home. A set of tragic events soon defines her journey as not only a mother but a woman, too. From death and destruction comes a tale of strength and hope as Prudence – for once – places the good of another above herself.
This is a story of journeys; of how the love of a parent and child is not defined by blood alone. The bonds of love are not only fused by shared blood but by shared tragedy and heartache. This is a tale of ghost of the past and hopes of the future and how there is a path to redemption for all of us.
For those readers who enjoy romance mixed with beautiful surroundings and good food then I recommend this book to you. Lose yourself in the idyllic Cypriot surroundings, perhaps pour yourself a glass of Ouzo and enjoy a good read.
Jo Bunt’s book is now on offer as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion at the special price of $0.99 in the US (via Amazon.com) and £0.99 in the UK (via Amazon.co.uk). This offer ends on the 20th February so be quick if you want to steal a good read for a bargain price.
Links to Jo Bunt’s book:
Jo Bunt’s Amazon profile:
Jo Bunt was born in Cyprus to British parents. It made sense to her that her first novel should be based there.Following the family’s return to England Jo went to school in Nottingham, university in Hull and then worked in London as a Recruitment Consultant for PwC for many years. Following a family illness Jo moved to Derbyshire where she now lives with her husband and her twin sons. This has enabled her to focus on her two great loves in life; her family and her writing.She remembers writing her first ‘novel’ when she was seven but spent her angst-ridden teenage years writing miserable and dark poetry. She mostly writes mainstream fiction but is also working on a series of children’s adventure books, largely guided by her own children. When she is not writing or looking after the children Jo is an avid reader and self-confessed food snob. If she can combine the two she is a very happy lady indeed.