Cover Image: Windswept

Windswept

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Member Reviews

This book is set on the Eastern front during WW1, a time and place in history I have previously read little about. I'm not sure how realistic the characters are but the setting made for a good source of plot material. I listened to the audio version which was well read by an appropriately posh actress considering that most of the cast were of the gentrified side of society of that time. 
Overall I found the book far too long and drawn out with lots of repeated information and conversations which seemed unnecessary other than to make the book longer. There were also some scenes of violence and mutilation too extreme for my taste.
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It was a four-star read for me. I listen to the audiobook. The narrator was pleasant to listen to. I loved that it was a strong woman role. Ginger is the main character, and my favorite character. She was determined, intelligent and passionate about sharing her point of view. She displayed integrity and courage.  I didn’t know a lot about WWI, so this was a very enjoyable read for me. Thank you net galley and the publisher for the ARC
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Set in the middle east in world war one, this is a story of a nurse, Ginger, who gets caught up in intrigue and espionage when she helps an injured man.. Along the way she finds out her family is involved, she doesn't know if the dashing Major Benson can be trusted, or of her old childhood friend is really on her side. A good plot, but too much hesitating, too many half finished conversions, too many false judgements, and Ginger doesn't really do very much apart from get in the way for a lot of it
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Problematic Heroine; Good Narrator

Audiobook Review:
It has been the year of the nurse in more ways than one. Not only have we been dealing with the current global crisis, but I've noticed more and more books starring nurses as either the hero or heroine. As I am an RN, I am apt to pick up any book where a nurse is the star. Indeed, when I read this book description at a book review site, I didn't look beyond the fact it featured a nurse during World War I. First, let me say what I liked. I listened to the audiobook version and had the book as well. I thought the narrator was fantastic, with a very posh English accent; she could do a variety of voice stylings so each character was distinct. All things considered, she even did a pretty decent job for the hero’s American friend. Aside from the narrator, though, I found myself disappointed in this book. The story takes place in the oft-forgotten eastern front of the Great War. The nurse works at a clearing station not far from Gaza. The heroine is the daughter of an Earl, but she has no airs about her as she does the scutwork all the new nurses do at this place. When trying to save a patient who may or may not be the enemy, she becomes embroiled in an insidious plot taking her far out of her depth. I thought the story perhaps went on over-long, adding complications that didn't need to be there. The heroine herself was problematic, as much of the drama stemmed from either her indecision or impetuousness. She and the hero had an oddly rocky romance, where they each seem to turn on the other in ways that didn't seem logical or believable. For a fair amount of the book, neither the reader nor the heroine know precisely who to believe or who is a good guy or a bad guy. One thing I wasn't wild about was that the biggest baddie was not brought to justice by the book's end. He is still on the loose. One thing that almost made me stop reading/listening to the book is that it depicted torture and mutilation of female body parts on more than one occasion. The book’s description did not warn about this, and it certainly should have. If I had known these were elements of the book, I would have chosen not to read it. Because of these issues, I do not feel like I can recommend this book.

WARNINGS: Torture and mutilation (of females), on-screen non-battle-scene violence
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Every minute was enthralling and well spent..umm...what i mean is i enjoyed every minute i spent with this book..it was so  beautiful to feel Ginger and Benson's story come  alive through all that they were put through..i was quite captured from the very first chapter.. all the war elements, society norms and their own self struggles & discoveries have me author had penned the story with so much of element i was so glad to once again see why i love historical fiction especially world war fiction..its like walking through what i couldn't see but feel through the characters
Story kept constantly pulling twists & turns which were unexpected 

A good historical romance + world war love story == a great time!!
language was good and the audio book version was impeccable!! 
The narrators  did a great job for the audio book version, i couldn't stop thinking about it

AHH!! their love for each other ..so touching..i like how the story focuses on their love for eachother along with the story being equally attention capturing side characters & storyline
i like how the characters are not perfect and have their own flaws but loved eachother and did their best to be  loyal & better version of themselves which
This a great historical romance read..A perfect enimies to lovers version
highly recommended!!
i think you can see how much i enjoyed reading this book 


This book shows how evil tries to rule and  kill our hope ,joy & being..but when we should keep on holding to the hope and strength and defeat it with love

CW: death ,betrayal , harming innocent 
        Romance: It's certainly a bit more than clean romance but nothing is described explicitly..just perfect for me ..you know a lil bit more but not too much 

p.s: you can always dm me to know more about the content warnings
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Windswept by Annabelle McCormack
Windswept Saga Book 1
Narrated by Elizabeth Grace
Genre - Intrigue, Mystery, Romance
Rating - 5 out of 5
Narration Rating - 5 out of 5

This book had me hooked from the beginning. It was so full of twist, turns, mysterious circumstances that it just grabbed me in and I hated to stop listening even for bed.

This book is sent in 1917 during WWI in Egypt. It has a lot of different characters but they are very easy to follow. It is about a woman thrown into a world of murder and mayhem in the war-ravaged Arabian desert where one wrong turn can get you killed. She has no clue who to trust and people keep showing up telling her that she can trust them but she has no idea which one is telling the truth.

I have to give a shout-out to the narrator for keeping the book flowing and also her wide range of voices for each character. I think that is why while listening to this book I could keep each person separate. 

I would highly recommend this book in audiobook format or book format. It will keep you wanting more even after it ends. I was happy to find out that it was book 1 of a series.
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Windswept is a wonderfully researched historical novel of The Great War.  It is based on real events, with fictional characters carrying out the events.  Virginia "Ginger" Whitman is a young nurse from a gentry English family.  Her father and brother work in intelligence based out of Cairo, Egypt while Ginger is at a clearing station.  Ginger happens upon a wounded man in a Turkish uniform and decides to help him despite the enemy uniform.  He tells her he is working as a spy and has information to uncover an assassination plot. From this point on Ginger doesn't know who to trust, people show up looking for the man and they all lie about who they are and why they want the man.  Ginger then has to figure out who to trust as well as the plot that the man alluded to.  

I listened to the audio version and really enjoyed the narration and flow of the book.  Thank you #NetGalley for allowing me to give my honest and voluntary opinion of #Windswept, I can't wait for the next book in the series.
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Thank you  to NetGalley and the publisher for the audiobook. I didn't get a chance to listen to the full story but the narrator did a decent job narrating.
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I really enjoyed this book. It was a story of a nurse, Ginger, stationed in the Middle East during World War I who just wants a meaningful existence, and then she is dragged into a world of spies, secrets, and hidden identities. With the exception of the beginning of the book, Ginger spends very little time nursing and a lot of time "in the middle of things." Ginger is not one of those annoying heroines who spend a lot of time getting in the way of the action, and instead spends her time trying to determine who in her circle she can truly trust so she can pass on the intel she has received from a patient, relieving her of her involvement in wartime espionage. Her motivations are overall relatable, but there are a few incongruencies in her personality that were too odd to integrate into the story and left me scratching my head. I won't go into specifics as that would be a serious spoiler! I opted to pretend I didn't hear those sections, and plowed on through the fast-paced and exciting story. There was so much action in the story, I wish more time had been spent developing the two main characters, Ginger and Noah, and there had been more interactions between them where they weren't in crisis mode because I enjoyed both of them and would like to know them better. I couldn't believe how many loose ends weren't tied up at the end, until I realized it was Book 1 of a series. I will DEFINITELY be listening to the next installment when it becomes available. 

The narration of the story was SUPERB. Elizabeth Grace did a wonderful job bringing the distinct characters to life and drawing me into the story. I especially loved Noah. There were a few flourish-y bits that may have been a bit hammy, but that may have been the writing. I will definitely be seeking out other titles narrated by her as I am now a fan.
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After hearing great reviews, I couldn't wait to start this audiobook. I have loved some historical fiction audiobooks and was excited for this one.
I was a little perturbed by the length of it initially, as it was showing as nearly 15 hours! I was unsure how it would hold my attention for that long, and I hoped the story would grip me and transport me so much I wouldn't notice. 
Initially, I was drawn in and was enjoying the experience, but this only lasted for around a quarter of the book and I soon found myself not as engaged as I was, and frustrated by the mystery of the patient not really progressing. Every scene lasted much longer than necessary in my opinion, and I persevered, but only really thanks to a faster listening speed.
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story dragged, characters rather unlikeable

I would like to thank Annabelle McCormack and NetGalley for allowing me to listen to a free audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Spoilers

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it was incredibly well researched and I loved that McCormack explored an often overlooked area of WWI; it was an interesting change of scenery that lent itself to fascinating descriptions and unique conflicts. On the other hand, several aspects of the novel were not to my taste.

It was so long. Thank god for playback speed options; if I hadn’t been able to listen at 1.5x, I probably would have DNF’d it. Granted, it’s not freakishly long, but definitely longer than it needed to be. It always felt like they accomplished very little from scene to scene, drawing out the plot and letting the mystery and tension go stale. I got so weary of not knowing who could be trusted and often forgot what the protag’s goals were. My attention wavered when Ginger was fired and there was a big setting shift, then by halfway I was only half-listening. It didn’t help that I didn’t much care for the characters or the plot. It also didn’t help that I’m not super into reading about war (I needed something to listen to and there’s not much audio selection on NetGalley yet).

Aside from the story dragging on and on, I didn’t like Ginger much. She struck me as incredibly self-centered, whiny, and arrogant. She often just did whatever she wanted. So irritating, insisting on getting involved in matters that didn’t concern her and for which she was not at all prepared. At times it felt as if her irresponsibility was used to propel the plot and infuse tension—which could work with a likeable character, but not with Ginger. Dealing with her felt like telling someone annoying to sit down and shut up so you can concentrate on important work, but the person keeps popping up and asking questions and criticizing your actions, telling you to do it differently when they have no actual knowledge or experience of the matter.

I didn’t like Noah, either. He seemed like a selfish and at times immature prick who only lusted for Ginger, not cared about her. Their “love” felt so forced. He also came across like he had no idea what he was doing; it just seemed like he could not get his shit together and focus. His plans seemed half-assed and/or reckless. And that engagement nonsense really pissed me off. That was totally a cheap twist meant to appear clever and astonish the reader, but I wasn’t having it; if he was supposed to appear engaged and I was supposed to respect him, he wouldn’t have taken advantage of Ginger the Dumbass that first time. Just—whatever.

It was also very unsatisfying to not see Steven (Stephen?) get his comeuppance, especially since I won’t be coming back to see what happens to the scumbag.

The narrator, Elizabeth Grace, was okay, she did voices well and I didn’t notice any distracting habits or mispronunciations—I failed to note if she was good at accents or not—actually, I remember that someone was supposed to sound Irish and Grace either did a very poor accent or didn’t do one at all, take what you will of that. What I did note about Grace was that she reads at rather a low somewhat-monotone, and in the beginning she made the story sound boring and made me feel tired. It was as if she were reading ASMR or something, audio meant to help someone relax or go to sleep. But eventually I got used to her and the boring/tired effect faded, or at least ceased being noticeable.
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This book was absolutely fantastic! I loved Ginger and her will to do what is right. I could only imagine being in her world! I kept going back and forth on who I thought was good and who I thought was bad. I honestly felt like I was right there with her every step of the way good and bad. I did listen to the audiobook thanks to @netgalley while following along with the paper copy from @anna and I have to praise the narrator! She did an amazing job!!! I highly recommend listening while following along. It really brings the book to life! I loved this book so much and I really think you all would too!!!
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4 Stars of, Yeah Okay It is Pretty Great

This is the sort of book that is brilliant because it left me unsettled. I think on the surface that may seem a sort of Red Flag signaling, “stay away!!! but oddly, in this instance, it’s not. It isn’t something I can adequately describe, simply that Annabelle McCormack’s rather ambitious debut was a whirlwind. So much so that I had to listen to this book twice over and then sit down with my husband and talk about it. And look, while I love Historical Romance for its Guarenteed-HEA-or-Your-Money-Back sort of motto, I love Historical Fiction for its capacity to mess me around a little. And Windswept was a cocktail of divided loyalties, desperation, longing, and intrigue that messed me around soooooo gooooodd.

This is an adventure/epic historical fiction format with a romance b-plot and is a rather big book, so there is a lot to unpack.. Ergo, I shall do my analysis in chunks—what? Morgan is writing a structured review again? Yes. I know, I am shocked too.

Anyways.

First and foremost, I think this book is grounded by a very well researched foundation. I don’t mean it in the HR way (titles etc. blah blah) but that she clearly heavily researched this region during this period not in search of convenient anecdotes to sprinkle throughout but until she knew it well enough to build a plausible plot, save a scene here and there. Several times I turned to my husband and said, “is it just me or is this super solidly researched?” My husband, the WWI junky so obsessed it spawned my own obsession with this period said, “Uhhhhhhh, yeah. Yeah it is.” My husband is, and I say this with love, a Scourge. So that is PEAK praise. If this sort of thing matters to you, that is. But I guess if you read HF you probably care.

But I digress.

She plops readers practically mid-action into Egypt in 1917—a very intriguing period in WW1, geopolitics, and selfish me… Archaeology (the relevance of which to the former two were conveyed in lovely little details). The state of Ottoman/Ally relations was well described to establish a tense, fraught backdrop for what would be a tense and fraught adventure for our heroine Ginny/Ginger Whitman.

But where the magic truly lies is, in my opinion, the prose itself. While MacCormack might be ‘debuting,’ when you investigate her some more and she has spent her adulthood studying/teaching writing. With her WW1 universe well established here, my-oh-my did she demonstrate her skill and experience.

I genuinely don’t think I’ve read something with such direct and solid writing that is so delicately constructed since Bridget Collins’ The Binding. This book has nuance, and I am a sucker for that. The mystery and suspicion is this ever-present shadow hovering over and seeping into every inner thought and every conversation Ginger has from that first moment she comes to the aid of an enemy soldier. And because this is a single POV structure, everything is tainted by that suspicion, and no character is safe from that, not even Ginger. The fear of what was actually going on was wonderfully juxtaposed by moments of passion and brightness, as against all odds Ginger finds herself defying good sense, family expectation, and a fiancée… and falling in love with Noah Benson, our suspect/hero. There were even moments of welcome humor which came from the American operative Jack Darby (raised by an archaeologist, and will be getting his own books it’s seems and I’m 100% down) but these never felt free of the main mystery. I loved all of this intensely.

The place that I got stuck on was Ginger herself. She had Claire Beauchamp qualities that, inherently, grated. She was self-righteous, pigheaded, and at times atrociously entitled. But this was in contrast to what my husband aptly described as, “Ginger’s adherence to Truth, Honor, and Duty.” She was incredibly dedicated, and while she makes some questionable decisions I think she is inherently good and earnest which saved her for me. Also, she was self-aware. She knew when she was dead-weight on the investigation but didn’t know how to extricate herself, she knew when she was being selfish and recriminated herself. She was complicated, and real… so I think I liked her quite a lot in the end. But it was definitely a love-hate relationship.

Noah was superbly done, with his swoon-worthiness and infuriating goodness, which I thought worked really well considering the entire book we teeter on the edge of trusting him and totally NOT trusting him. I loved how I genuinely was suspicious of him almost until the end and that I HATED being suspicious of him. When guns were going off after a sandstorm—that was about when I accepted the truth. It was right when I felt like my heart was being slapped around (see updates) and oh my masochistic side loved that too.

Secondary and tertiary charters were great too, and I especially enjoyed that none of them were surplus to requirement. Everyone was deliberately placed, had a role. No one did anything or was present for convenience, and if that isn’t the sign of a stellar author I don’t know what is.


This is a book I’d recommend to someone on the scale of “I enjoy spy adventure historicals” to “Spy books are literally crack-cocaine to me.” It’s not a historical romance, so my HR loving GR friends, be warned: the is historical fiction. But yeah, basically…This was great. There were two or three critiques I had for Ginger that irked me enough to keep this out of perfection. However, I am aware that this isn’t the end of a Ginger’s arc so I am forgiving. But I loved the setting, the rigorous attention to detail, the writing, and I fully intend to read the next installment in Ginger’s (mis)adventures in espionage and love. Either way Annabelle McCormack is a writer to watch.

Thanks are extended to Annabelle McCormack, as a member of Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), as well as NetGalley for this Audiobook ARC. While I did recived a copy of the audio, free, I ended but buying it on Audible anyways! Review is volutnarily given, and all opinions are my own.

Oh, PS: The narration by Elizabeth Grace was utterly sublime. I am with narrators, and she did it for me. I hope McCormack doesn't change narrators for the next book or Jack Darby's saga. Grace joins the ranks of favourites, and I am so pleased by this.
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This book kept me riveted, although I will say the beginning was a tad boring. The narrator did a fantastic job with not only the voices, but also the sound effects, very impressive!! I did notice in the epilogue that one sentence is related twice. It was long, but kept need on my toes. I never knew what would happen next. Annabelle McCormack is a new favorite author. I've never heard of read a book written from there perspective of Egypt during the war. It will captivate you from beginning to end.
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This was wonderful! What an epic saga, Annabelle McCormack nailed it - fabulous narration too.

I can't get enough of these strong historic women, petulant but gorgeous males and epic love stories. Seriously looking forward to book 2 in this series.

Thanks so much Annabelle McCormack, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), via Netgalley, for gifting me an audiobook copy - loved it!
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"Windswept" by Annabelle McCormack is an audiobook that's a step above!

Lady Virginia "Ginger" Whitman leaves her life of wealth and privilege in England to serve as a battlefield nurse on the frontlines in Palestine during the WWI British Gaza Campaign.

It's May 1917 and she's dedicated to her work caring for the wounded and doing what's right - even if it means going against the many rules she is expected to follow without question.

Ginger discovers a gravely wounded Turkish soldier named Ahmed, hiding in her camp and knows she shouldn't help him. He speaks perfect English and informs Ginger he's carrying intelligence revealing a secret plot against the British.

He speaks about traitors within the British intelligence who are searching for him. Not knowing his fate, Ahmed entrusts Ginger with a coded message that needs to be delivered to his contact.

Ginger is thrust into unforeseen dangers in her endeavor to ensure the coded message gets delivered to the right person. Who should Ginger trust?
- Major Noah Benson, a handsome British Intelligence Officer?
- Lord Steven Fisher, who Ginger refused to marry?
- Her brother, Henry, who is Steven's best friend?
- Or, her father, who wants Ginger to marry Steven?

This is a fast paced Historical Fiction story that held my attention from the first chapter. It has a mix of mystery, suspense and romance thrown in that brought it up a notch, too!

Ginger is my favorite character! She's intelligent, determined and passionate about her unrelenting point-of-view. Her courage, integrity and decisiveness to carry on during challenging circumstances is remarkable. Her contributions as a wartime nurse are more important to her than her elevated station in life.

I listened to the audiobook and it is a step above anything I have listened to thus far. The narrator, Elizabeth Grace is phenomenal! Her voicing skills are believable and the extra efforts she tosses in gives this audiobook a true theatrical feel.

However, I was looking for a stronger backstory. It felt like the reader may have entered the story midstream, without vital knowledge of the characters. I'm hoping this will be resolved with Book #2 to provide a needed boost to this series.

3.5 for the story, 4.5 for the audiobook averaging to 4 solid stars! I recommend this book and I highly recommend the audiobook!

Thank you to NetGalley, IBPA-Members Audiobooks and Annabelle McCormack for an ALC of this book. It is my pleasure to give my honest and voluntary review.
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Windswept by Annabelle McCormak is a bright, broad historical fiction novels that covers a lesser-known part of the conflict during WWI - the front in Palestine. McCormak seamlessly blends the historical atrocities of trench warfare with politics and family drama. Ginger is a spunky narrator that pulls you into her experiences. This book kept me hooked through all it's twists and turns and I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series.
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When I began this book, I had no idea just how much I would love it & how much of an impact it would have on me. I felt like I was with Ginger and felt her pain throughout such a difficult time. 
To me, Windswept is up there with The Nightingale in my mind. I really hope someone takes notice so I can see this as a movie with Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard or Sophie Turner as Ginger.  

This book has made me a lover of historical fiction, for sure. Not only does it have the war and strife that comes with that, but there’s suspense, tragedy, adventure, and best of all a wonderful  heroine with a love story.
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Annabelle McCormack introduces myself to a time period in history that I have not read much about.  The setting begins during World War I on the Palenstine front.  Ginger is a nurse on the front whom is facing a hearing for past decisions when she comes upon a soldier in hiding.  There the story picks up as the reader goes on a fast ride with Ginger as she tries to solve the mystery of the soldier and whom to trust.  I enjoyed the mystery and the details around it.   I found myself rooting for Ginger every step of the way with her strong personality and through the obstacles!   I listened to the audiobook of this story.   The narrator was great for this story!  I felt as I was watching a movie play out in my mind while I listened due to the emotion behind the narrator's voice and their ability to command the story.  

Thank you NetGalley for a copy!  All thoughts and opinions are my own!
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Transport back in time to the war, feel the stress, the courage and the terror.  So well written I felt like I was there! 
I did not want to stop this reading and thought about it constantly until I could start again.  The heartbreak then triumph even in the toughest of times leaves you torn in your loyalty.  
When it ended I wanted to find out more, wanted the story to be real so that I could find out exactly how the heroine’s life turned out.
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