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A White Wind Blew

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  644 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Dr. Wolfgang Pike would love nothing more than to finish the requiem he’s composing for his late wife, but the ending seems as hopeless as the patients dying a hundred yards away at the Waverly Hills tuberculosis sanatorium. If he can’t ease his own pain with music, Wolfgang tries to ease theirs—the harmonica soothes and the violin relaxes. But his boss thinks music is a w ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Sourcebooks (first published October 18th 2010)
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Genevieve Graham

Beautiful, beautiful book. James Markert masterfully paints a time and a place most people would like to forget and makes it a place where we almost wish we could be. The TB epidemic was a plague, an almost certain death sentence, and yet there were those rare souls who believed it was worth chancing their lives so they could help the victims, possibly even save a few. And within that world, they had their own lives.

Wolfgang Pike is a musician and a doctor. He is also studying to be a pri
A widowed doctor -- who is also a seminary student -- explores the use of music as a method of treating TB patients in 1920s Louisville. Also, the Klan is doing their usual thing.

There wasn't anything particularly wrong or "bad" about this book, I just found it rather boring. The plot moved very slowly and I had trouble getting interested in the characters. I didn't find the writing particularly engaging, and there were some passages that read more like a history text than a novel. It's one of t
Sara Palacios
I received a copy of White Wind Blew by James Markert in exchange for an honest review.

The book takes place in the early 1920s in Louisville, at Waverly Hills, a tuberculosis sanatorium. When the disease flares up, the town becomes terrified and shuns the patients and the staff at the clinic. In addition to dealing with who have been cast out of society due to their condition, Louisville is also dealing with typical 1920s elements like racial tension and prohibition. But, these things are the le
Four and a half stars: A compelling read about life and death in a sanatorium.

For Dr. Wolfgang Pike, it is a steady stream of death and dying as he makes his daily rounds at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. He is one of the resident doctors at the facility, and he spends his days administering to those afflicted by tuberculosis. The disease is taking a heavy toll on the population, and people are getting sick and dying in record numbers. Dr. Pike in an attempt to help ease the suffering takes music
This is a book about a widowed doctor priest in training musician who's treating patients at Waverly Hills. I feel like all of those things should be said in one quick breath, so sorry about the bad grammar.

It was, overall, a pretty good book. There were some things that I would change but sadly I can't really identify what those are? I don't even really know what to say in this review. I actually thought about stopping to read something else, but I didn't particularly want to stop reading it,
A White Wind Blew by James Markert is a story of hope, survival, love and peace set inside of the Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium during the 1920’s. Dr. Wolfgang Pike - a widower, aspiring Priest, doctor, musician – tries to use his music to ease the pain of his patient’s souls while they suffer from the illness and pray for healing. In this novel, the tuberculosis patients aren’t the only ones that need healing as Dr. Pike is still reeling from the devastating loss of his wife and seeks c ...more
Jenn Ravey

*This book was sent to me by the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, in exchange for an honest review.

In 1920s Louisville, a pall rests over Louisville in the form of Waverly Hills, a tuberculosis sanatorium. Terrified of disease, the town shuns recovered patients as well as those who work at Waverly Hills, knowing survival rates are slim. But disease isn’t the only thing hanging over Louisville – racial tension and Prohibition also hover, and Dr. Wolfgang Pike has seen the be
Cheryl A
Set at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, outside Louisville, Kentucky during the 1920's, this novel tells the story of one man who is trying to find his place in the world. Dr Wolfgang Pike has spent the last few years at Waverly, helping to fight tuberculosis. In a place where people are dying daily, Dr Pike is blending faith, medicine and music together to ease the suffering and give patients hope.

Louisville had the highest national infection rate of TB during the 1920's and Waverly Hills was a real h
See original review below. Our book club did read this novel: 2 of us thought it was one of the best books we'd read, and 2 of us really enjoyed it! And...Mr. Markert was generous enough to speak with us for 25 minutes during our discussion! That makes it extra special for us! And what a kind and considerate man! He was actually calling from a hotel lobby since his room was not ready for him yet. How nice is that? There are not enough positive adjectives for me to adequately describe this book-- ...more
Tabitha Whitson
Waverly Hills Sanatorium has always fascinated me, from the time I first saw it on "Ghost Hunters" years ago. Though many know the former TB hospital as one of the most haunted places in America, the building has a history that is second to none. The frontline in the battle against TB in the early 1900's, its doctors fought like generals to heal patients of what was known as the White Death. I can only imagine what it was like back then - James Markert does an excellent job of making the readers ...more
Denisa Howe
A White Wind Blew reminds me of a classic, written exceptionally and leaves a definite impression on the reader. This book brought out the affects of war, racial discrimination, intolerance, isolation, separation, religious hopes and failures and the unknowing along with the deadly outbreak of tuberculosis. In all of this are authentic characters that you laugh and cry with and even bow your head in prayers with. Human compassion lived and acted through music, readings and just simply being ther ...more
I thought I might like this book when I picked it up. Then I read it. I really liked it! I was initially intigued by the juxtaposition of music and a tuberculosis sanatorium. I live 2 hours away from Louisville and never knew that this city had the highest tuberculosis infection rate in the country in the 1920's. While I was pleased with Markert's use of historical background in a truly gripping story, what really grabbed me was what he had to say about faith and doubt, love, and finding a way t ...more
Dr. Wolfgang Pike, a widower, a musician and an aspiring priest, practices at the best and largest TB sanitarium in the country in the 1920s when fresh air, removing ribs and deflating lungs were the best treatments for the White Death. A central conflict in the novel is between Wolfgang's love interests and his vocation for the priesthood. Wolfgang is much beloved as a religious as well as a doctor to the patients. He introduces music as a therapy. Both Prohibition and the Klan Play a role in t ...more

This book stirred a lot of emotions in me, which is important in something I read, to be moved.
I got lost in the early 1900's with the folk that were brought together by a terrible sickness.
A sickness that didn't care the color of ones skin or where you came from.
Out of this unlikely bunch that were brought together friendships developed that lasted a lifetime, however how long or short that was.
In a time before antibiotics and a cure there was hope through the magical healing of music and frien
Michaella Gibney
I hadn't picked up a book in years but when I got a hold of this one I couldn't put it down! Such tragedy and love. I recently went on a tour of Waverly Hills (inspired after reading the book). Wow, I felt like I could see all the characters there - what it would have been like. The owners are trying to make this site a hotel and if/when this happens they MUST have A White Wind Blew available.

A White Wind Blew by James Markert

A warmest welcome to all of our readers today as we discuss our MomAdvice Book Club pick for the month of March. I am particularly honored to have James Markert sharing his own thoughts on his book with us and I hope you will find his answers as fascinating as I have!

Tuberculosis and how this illness affects its patients, and those that love them, are often the central focus of this book. After I finished reading this and then reading the historical notes about Waverly Place, I immediately went
Abby Johnson
This is written by a local author and it was really interesting to read about the local places he references in this book. I didn't really care about the religious aspects of the story - it felt like one layer too many - but the characters were interesting. I think this is going to be a fun one to discuss because there was a lot going on here (and there are about a million discussion questions included in the back of the book). I think this book will have special interest to those who are famili ...more
Vicki Moreno
This book tells the story of a a doctor who is working to treat tuberculosis patients in a facility where all who are ill with tuberculosis are sent to be separated from society, treated, and in many cases, left to die. One of the doctors is a widower and former seminary student. He is faced with the decision of when to leave the facility and re-enter the seminary, when he falls in love and marries again. Music is a huge part of the story, as his father was an aspiring musician, and music is pla ...more
Setting this one aside after 30%. Just didn't click for me.
An inspiring story of what happens when a community forms in the worst of times and worst of places. The sanatorium at Waverly Hills has a family unit all its own which the reader comes into during Winter 1929, a community that is a microcosm of the community that exists below the hill in Louisville, Kentucky. The "white wind" constantly blows down one hill into town, threatening to bring the TB epidemic with it. The conflict between those "on the hill" and those below it often comes up in the n ...more
A White Wind Blew is James Markert's first novel. James is from Louisville, Kentucky and has a history degree from University of Louisville which is obvious in this tale of Waverly Hills, a tuberculosis sanatorium in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The main character is Wolfgang Pike, a theological student from Saint Meinrad Abbey. He fell in love with a girl named Rose who developed TB. Wolf, a doctor, followed to take care of her. When she died, he stayed. Wolf's true love is music learned from hi ...more
Like another reviewer stated, this book stirred a lot of emotion in me. I find that the books that have substance, the books that get my highest ratings almost always "stir emotion".

I love historical fiction books because I love learning as I read. I did not know how server tuberculosis was. My daughter reacts to respiratory illnesses severely. She's had pneumonia twice and bronchiolitis twice and she's only 2 years old. I've been in hospitals many times with her while she's tried to combat the
3.5 stars - I must admit that for the first 100 pages, I really didn't know where this book was going or even if it was going to develop a plot...but the writing was eloquent and the characters were vivid and strong, so I stuck with it - and I'm glad I did. The story takes place after WW1 in a hospital where the TB patients come to live and die. Dr. Wolfgang, an aspiring priest, is the central character and a most caring physician. His life story is told in small increments throughout the book - ...more
This is a multi-layered novel that requires the reader to enter into its world and interact with its characters. With its central location at a sanatorium for persons with TB in Louisville, Kentucky in the 19d0's, it could be depressing and cheerless. However, it's theme is not primarily disease or dying. This is a story about healing and hope, which draws on the power of music, the struggle with faith, questions of love found then lost then found again, as well as the biases and prejudices that ...more
Dr. Pike is a widower, a doctor at Waverly Hills, and an aspiring priest. He's also a musician who believes in the power of music to heal the soul. And if the soul is at peace, the body can begin healing as well. So he tries to fulfill every request for music he receives despite the appalling conditions and resistance he receives from his boss. Death, racism, love, and the effects of war are only a few of the touchy subjects contained in this book.

The story flows along, like a slow moving stre
I really enjoyed this book with its descriptive writing and accurate portrayal of the time. This book takes place in the 1920 at a tuberculosis sanitarium in Kentucky (which actually existed in this time period) in Kentucky. The man character, Wolfgang, is a doctor who wishes to return to studying for the priesthood but feels that he needs to help with the tuberculosis epidemic first. He also strongly believes that music is healing--playing instruments for his patients as well as forming a choir ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
The subject matter of "A White Wind Blew" is not exactly happy. Not all that long ago, tuberculosis was a very serious disease that was really difficult to treat. Many people died and those that recovered were often ostracized as fear of the disease was so great. Wolfgang finds himself in the middle of this world. He has been treating patients at Waverly Hills. The story line is just fascinating. Not only do you have the turberculosis angle but the book is also the story of loss and rebirth for ...more
Sometimes I choose a book based solely on its cover art. Sometimes that criterion leads to a poor choice; in this case, it did not. A White Wind Blew is one of the loveliest novels I've read this year.

Dr. Wolfgang Pike is one of the physicians treating patients at a sanitorium for tuberculosis patients in Louisville, Kentucky, circa mid 1920s. Formerly a seminarian studying for the priesthood, he fell in love and left his studies to marry, only to have his wife die of tuberculosis shortly after
The white wind is Tuberculosis or TB which was killing people in the 1920's at a rate of one per hour in Louisville Kentucky at its height. This is a fictional account of Waverly Sanitorium which was considered the most medically advanced sanitorium at that time before antibiotics ,when medical treatment was primitive . A time when a diagnosis of TB was considered by most people to be a death sentence. Studying about this period in school ,I always thought about those diagnosed ; yet ,this book ...more
Rate: 3 stars

I'd say this book is a combination of "Patch Adams" and "Les Choristes" placed back in time (around WWI). My first thought when I found out it was about a hospital that treated people with TB was to close the book and leave it right there; however, I enjoyed how the author gives hope (to the patients and the readers) through the music.
Also the author talks about controversial subjects such as religion and racism, but in a tactful way to show us how was the atmosphere at that time.
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James Markert is a novelist, screenwriter, producer, and USPTA tennis pro from Louisville, Kentucky, where he lives with his wife and two children. He has a history degree from the University of Louisville. He won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which later became A White Wind Blew. He is the writer and co-producer of the new feature film and tennis comedy, 2nd Serve, starring Josh Hopkins fro ...more
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