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Connected lives, different times

THRILLER, ROMANCE, MYSTERY ARE ALL SKILLFULLY BLENDED

By LUCIA ANDERSON

For THE FREE LANCE–STAR

MADELINE Moretti, “Maddie,” is a fledgling lawyer in 2007 San Francisco.

Maria Maddelena, “Mia,” is a mute teenager in 1347 Tuscany.

Is there a connection?

In “The House of the Wind,” Titania Hardie doles out bits of each story, alternating between the 21st and 14th centuries so that, gradually, the thread becomes clear.

Both women have intriguing stories. Maddie is working for a human-rights law firm trying to prove that a big corporation was aware of the toxic working conditions sickening and killing its employees, but did nothing to fix the problem.

A devastating personal tragedy sends her off to a friend of her grandmother’s in Italy, in the region her family emigrated from.

Here, her path crosses Mia’s, who lived in the same villa nearly seven centuries earlier.

Mia is an orphan, mute since her mother’s murder when Mia was 6. She lives with her Aunt Jacquetta, who runs a hostel for pilgrims on their way to Rome. A young couple arrives at their door late on the eve of the Feast of St. Agnes, and Mia is fascinated by the mystery that surrounds them.

“The House of the Wind” has a strong feminist flavor, particularly in Mia’s story, but it isn’t a polemic. Instead, it’s a legal thriller, a mystery and a romance.

Well-written and, apparently, scrupulously researched, it makes good reading,

Lucia Anderson is a freelance writer in Woodbridge.

 

THE HOUSE OF THE WIND

By Titania Hardie

(Washington Square Press, $15, 480 pp.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/books/2012/03/18/connected-lives-different-times/

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