There is an advantage when one subscribes to a library. One buys a chance to discover new authors and antiquated books that tell myriad stories. I was so glad that I chanced upon this book titled “Close To The Wind” written by John Harris, which I picked up as an afterthought, lured by the title. Must say I am really enticed by this beautifully penned tome.
Its a story about a debt ridden Italian Couple Joe and Rosa who prefer the capricious Pacific to surrendering their mortgaged houseboat. Aided by their daughter Frankie, a school atlas, a nonfunctional ship engine, penniless condition and derelict instruments they sail to the unknown, hoping to discover an island where they can hide their only means of livelihood, the boat Tina S to safety. Pressed by the need for money, they take an unknown stranger Willie with questionable past for passenger on this sea adventure.
What follows then, is a story of grit, emotion, belief, and love as the passengers discover themselves over the challenging voyage. Little did the older couple know that their antique old boat is no match for the journey that they set themselves ahead. To reach America and have a chance at creating life for Frankie and Willie who fall in love with each other over the wild voyage.
To make the issues worse, the old couple is haunted by the media who thought that their impossible sea adventure makes good headline story, and the police for Willie who committed a murder and is postponing the inevitable capture by discovering himself over the Pacific. Life over the sea becomes a roller coaster ride for these four members who discover love, bonding, temptation, struggle, hurricane, and loss while they struggle for survival with little food and meager money, from the vagaries of the Pacific.
The characters feel so natural that you may wonder if they are conjured from your daily life experiences. Captain Mama is a tower of strength in handling the crisis and her devil may care attitude, positivity and enthusiasm tugs a chord at heart while the evolution of Willie from a wayward ruffian to a responsible person does manage to cheer up your spirits. The ways of God are ironic they say, for Willie sacrifices himself on the face of death to save the family, just a few days after he discovers contentment, lady love and purpose of life.