If you’ve ever had long-awaited plans cancelled at the last minute, you’ll know Lucy’s frustration. She’s been looking forward to going to California with her mother for their summer vacation, but then her mother decides to go on a cruise with her boyfriend instead.
Unable to join her father or her best friend on their trips, Lucy is really not impressed when her mother suggests she spend five weeks in Ireland with her aunt. It doesn’t help that her mother has always described Aunt Paula as “crazy”, claiming she lives in an old house with no phone and no roof. But once Lucy arrives, she starts to realize her mother wasn’t giving her the full picture – or even correct information – about Aunt Paula.
The book may seem a little slow to build at first, but once Lucy sets foot in Ireland and starts to get to know her aunt, their developing relationship really carries the story through. It’s a gentle, character-driven story that not only shows the distress of a child whose plans have been completely upended, but of family members who are finally getting the chance to know one another and appreciating the time they have together. Their relationship feels realistic and unforced, and in many ways healthier than Lucy’s relationship with her mother – something I would have loved for the book to have gone into more, but perhaps this wasn’t the right time or place for that story.
While it may not be obvious to many readers, those familiar to Ireland will pick up a few phrases that don’t seem natural to Irish speakers – likely due to the usage of American English for this translation. It certainly doesn’t take away from the story, but may jar with some readers, and unfortunately doesn’t represent the dialect that readers might expect from a book set in Ireland.
For a book about someone who is warily meeting a relative in a foreign country for the first time, it ticks a lot of boxes. Lucy’s feelings will certainly be relatable to any child who is told they have to go somewhere when they really don’t want or has to get used to being in an unfamiliar place. By the end, you’ll ultimately feel like Lucy: that her time in Ireland was far too short and can’t wait to hear what happens on her next trip.
Title: The Greenest Wind
Author: Gesine Schulz
Translator: Rebecca Heier
Review by Lisa Davis