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A Wayward Wind

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331 pages, Paperback

First published April 28, 2009

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About the author

John W. Huffman

8 books15 followers
John W. Huffman was born in Hemphill, Texas, attended elementary school in Pineland, Texas, junior high and high school in Jasper, Texas, and graduated summa cum laude from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

John enlisted in the Army Airborne in 1966 and served two tours of combat duty in Vietnam, the first as a private, and subsequently a sergeant, with Alpha Company, 1/27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, in 1966-67, the second as an officer/aviator with the 120th Aviation Company in 1972-73. John retired as a major in 1986 with three Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, sixteen Air Medals, one Army Commendation Medal, two Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medals, and various other service and campaign ribbons.

Upon retiring from the military, John launched a real estate sales and management company, SouthCorp Properties, Inc., and previously owned and operated seven speedways in five states, created an automobile racing and sanctioning body, the American Racing Association, and developed three touring series.

John has received Seven National Book Awards for A Wayward Wind, The Baron of Clayhill, Tiger Woman, Above All, America's Diplomats, The Road To Attleboro, and Eyes of the Blind. His latest releases include Cold Hearts Burning and Searching For Leah. John is currently working on Witches' Hollow and When A Rebel Comes Home.

John resides in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, with his wife Misty, and has three sons and four grand daughters.

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Buggy.
483 reviews676 followers
January 15, 2011
Opening Line: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, Mrs Powell once said from the front of my high school literature class, going on to explain that some ancient Chinese scholar made that sage observation many centuries ago."

A Wayward Wind was one of those great surprise reads as I’d never heard of author John. W Huffman before and knew next to nothing about this story when I began. I will admit to a somewhat shaky start though as I got used to his style of writing and love of exclamation marks which peppered almost every sentence in the beginning chapters! However Huffman’s a fantastic storyteller and it wasn't long before I was carried away by this gripping adventure.

Huffman does a great job here of voicing the 60’s teenager, transporting you back to a time we can all relate to; when you lived in the moment, nothing was as important as your best friends (or that first kiss) and it felt like the whole world was against you. This story often reminded me of Stephen King, in particular Stand by Me or The Body. Probably because of the era it takes place in and the fact that 90% of the adults portrayed here are evil or in the case of parents left purposely vague. It also jumps back and forth between past and present and these sections are cleverly woven together by the end with our characters showing us the bond they formed and the events that marked them forever.

Its 1967, Jay Harte is just back from Vietnam, a decorated but disillusioned hero who can no longer fit into society. Along with his purple heart and bronze star Jay’s also got some serious scars, a short temper and can’t seem to find a job- since there isn’t much call back ‘in the world’ for leading men through a jungle and avoiding sniper fire. All of this pales however when he receives a letter from his childhood friend, now on death row for killing a man. The young Oliver Freeman that Jay remembers would never have been capable of such an act but it seems time and circumstances have changed both of them.

And so our story begins with Jay travelling to Angola state penitentiary and then flashing us back to the summer of 1960 when at 14 years old he and Ollie ran away in search of Ollie’s missing, and unbeknownst to them, heroin addicted mother. Hitchhiking their way to New Orleans and Baton Rouge they sleep under bridges, work odd jobs and come to rely on each other completely. Early into their adventure Hattie Trudeau joins them and with her inclusion they become the 3 musketeers. Now as well as avoiding gangsters and pimps in their search for Ollie’s mother they’re also on the run from the police and Hattie’s abusive guardian, Old Pete. The past and present eventually comes together along with an ending full of surprises.

A Wayward Wind touches on a huge scope of issues; becoming a love story, an adventure and a tragedy. Showing the bonds of friendship, the casualties of war and the horrors of addiction. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Jeannie Walker.
Author 10 books567 followers
December 4, 2012
Reading at its best! Another novel that is as good as they get! John Huffman is a wonderful writer as well as good friend.
His novel, Wayward Wind is an absorbing tale. Runaway boys with troubled pasts are reunited when tragedy takes them another venture. As adults, the lives of Jay, Oliver and Hattie become entwined once again. Jay, a discouraged and cynical, but highly decorated veteran gets a forlorn letter from his friend, Oliver, who is sitting on death row. This starts a painful and traumatic search for Hattie -the love of his life when he was young. I hope everyone gets the chance to sit down and relax with this novel and all of John Huffman's books. You will see what an amazing writer this decorated veteran is.

Jeannie Walker Award Winning Author of "Fighting the Devil" - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder
Profile Image for Whitney.
5 reviews
April 8, 2011
When you grow up in the South, your friends become "blood" to you. In this novel, Huffman uses characters that are such friends. Their adventures are heartfelt and eye opening. You will love them and cheer them on. And when you come to the end and close the book,you will do so with a smile on your face!
Profile Image for Javier Robayo.
Author 4 books50 followers
May 31, 2012
John W. Huffman was known to me as an author of Vietnam themed books, so I was eager to read a different facet, and I must say, I got far more than I expected. Who of us has never ventured outside of our safe zone in order to find who we are, and what we're made of? Few things forge a friendship more than adventure, one fraught with obstacles to overcome. The trials and triumphs blur the things that tend to label people as too different to be no more than strangers, and bring out the best in each, complimenting one's weakness with the other's strength. A WAYWARD WIND will be a book that I will forever remember fondly. John W. Huffman proves to be a gifted and versatile narrator with a penchant for creating characters where we can easily see ourselves.
Profile Image for Elaine.
117 reviews8 followers
December 24, 2011
"A Wayward Wind is a gripping tale of three former runaways whose troubled past spills over into the present when tragedy reunites the trio and spins them off into yet another unlikely venture together. When Jay Harte returns from the Army a highly decorated but disillusioned veteran, a desperate letter from his childhood friend, Oliver Freeman, now incarcerated on death row in Angola prison, launches him on a heartrending search for his youthful love, Hattie Trudeau."

The author seamlessly threads the story between past and present. It was a nostalgic, heart-warming page-turner.
Profile Image for Lorena.
3 reviews1 follower
July 31, 2012
What an awesome story! I loved the strong friendship between Jay and Oliver and what melted my heart was how they became friends. Jay's braveness and adventurous heart won me over and earned my utmost admiration for the way he confronted all the obstacles that got in his way. But the part that melted my heart the most and touched me at a very deep level, was its ending and how Jay found himself again, after the trauma Vietnam left him, in the eyes of the person he came to love more than anything in this world! Great book! :)
Profile Image for Shelly.
33 reviews
July 23, 2011
I think I'm more like 3.5 stars on this one. I enjoyed the story, but sometimes I felt like the characters weren't speaking authentically. I could imagine thirty year olds speaking that war but not fourteen year olds. All in all I'm glad I read it.
Profile Image for Jaime.
7 reviews
May 20, 2012
I really enjoyed reading this book, thanks to the author for a few hours of fine entertainment, if you are looking for a good book about love and friendship, this is the book you should pick it up.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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