Saturday evening in Nashville, at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, the Carol Award for historical fiction was given to Portland area novelist Melanie Dobson for her time-slip novel, Catching the Wind. The captivating novel opens with a 13-year-old boy in Germany, Dietmar, pretending to be a knight defending his princess, 10-year-old Brigitte, but their play quickly morphs into a life-and-death escape from Gestapo agents who arrested their parents. After fleeing to England, the pair is separated. Fast forward seven decades, and a wealthy old man, with help from an enterprising female journalist and a handsome male lawyer, continues his lifelong search to reconnect with the childhood friend he promised to find.
The story, woven seamlessly between World War II and contemporary settings, keeps the reader turning pages, wondering about the lives of all these players. The author ties the characters together in a surprising way at the end of the novel.
I’m honored to belong to a writers’ critique group with Dobson, a brilliant novelist who received her fourth Carol Award last weekend. One evening a month, I drive 200 miles roundtrip to her home, where I learn from the best. She’s an amazing storyteller and I learn so much from her and others in the group, it’s well worth the drive.