Pages in the Wind reaches inside the mind Emily Quinn, a young girl damaged by trauma, abuse, and family secrets. The book opens with Emily detained at the San Francisco County Jail for the first degree murder of her father. An aging, world-famous psychiatrist is hired to help find mitigating factors to spare her from California’s death penalty.
Can he help her?
The novel re-winds the young girl’s life from the age of eight to nineteen. The doctor quickly becomes sympathetic to Emily and her horrifying childhood. Of particular interest is her bizarre attachment to an old Bloomingdales box filled with drawings of girls she personifies. The doctor and patient develop a tender partnership, weaving through dark family secrets, the unexplained death of her twin sister, rejection by her mother and severe abuse from her father. Together, they sift through tragedy and loss leading to a shocking conclusion that neither saw coming.
Pages in the Wind is a book that dares you to reach inside yourself to understand how abuse and trauma can dramatically affect your identity.
Quotes from Pages in the Wind:
I rubbed my arm and gazed at the back door before trudging back to the chair. I felt deflated, like a helium balloon that flies high until one day, it’s just a blob of vinyl on the ground with all the air sucked out.
The heat wave was over along with my foolish dream of a new start with my father. Marine air mixed with light fog blanketed Laughlin High School, but it wasn’t thick enough to disguise the kids walking in pairs. The laughter was deafening, magnified by the chill in my soul. I gazed at their silhouettes and wondered why they were laughing. The spontaneity seemed unnatural to me. Of course, it wasn’t. I just didn’t know what free and easy felt like; I had to invent a character and fake a smile just to get through the door.
Confiding in him about my dismal life had been cathartic at the party but not here. At school, I wanted to play the role of a regular kid. Pudge knew about my miserable life and how it affected my self-esteem. But dear God, I didn’t want anyone else to know. I didn’t want to live in misery all the time. So I learned how to play bocce with the popular kids and pretended to enjoy myself. I laughed in the right places and mimicked the other girls. I pretended to be playful, engaging, and connected. The act was phony. I was as fake as a Godless prayer.
Professional Reviews of Pages in the Wind:
“A dark, stirring novel with a riveting final twist whose implications linger well after the last page.” –– Kirkus Reviews
Five star Review ★★★★★ “Pages in the Wind, by Sally De Smet, is a page-turning psychological thriller that grabs the reader’s attention right from the start.
Emily Quinn is detained at the San Francisco County Jail after the brutal murder of her father. She has no memory of the murder or of her past. Her mother hires a world-renowned psychiatrist to help Emily recover her memories and to aid in her defense.
While under hypnosis Emily recovers countless painful revelations and family secrets. Can Emily uncover the whole truth?
The premise of the novel promises a dark and gritting story. And the author delivers. The beginning pages holds back a lot of information on the murder. The reader is aware that it occurred and that Emily will be going on trial, but the key information is unavailable, forcing the reader to fly through the pages to uncover what really happened.
The buildup to the finale is methodical. Along the way, De Smet leaves clues, some are easily recognizable, while others don’t jump off the page until the very end. It’s the hidden clues, obviously, that hold the key to the mystery and when it all comes together, the ending will not only shock most readers, it’ll disturb many and leave a lasting impression.
Human nature is many things, including dark. As the reader delves deeper and deeper into Emily’s childhood, it becomes clear that she was a victim. Yet, the knowledge that she murdered her own father makes it difficult for the reader to reconcile his or her feelings for Emily. This back and forth aids reader engagement and keeps the reader glued to the pages.
While the purpose of the meetings with the psychiatrist is to unearth the events leading up to the murder, what actually comes out of the sessions is beyond disturbing. This isn’t simply a case of child abuse and neglect. Those are factors, of course, but it’s also an excellent examination of how damaging family secrets, hidden agendas, lack of love, and controlling tendencies can completely rip apart a family.
Emily is undergoing treatment in 1966. The date is vital to the story. Back then, it was typical for teachers, neighbors, and family friends to look the other way. Emily becomes invisible to everyone and this perpetuates her belief that she really doesn’t matter. And it reinforces the idea that she should try at all costs to act normal. Reading her story is heartbreaking. But it’s more than that. It also points a finger at society. How could so much go on behind closed doors and no one noticed or said anything? The sad fact is, even today, this happens more than most would like to admit.
Pages in the Wind delves deep into psychological abuse making for uncomfortable reading at times. If you enjoy well-crafted thrillers that will make you cry, hold your breath, and ruminate, give this book a chance. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you wanting more. This is the author’s first book. Keep an eye on her. She has talent and more than likely the next book will be even better.” 5 stars ★★★★★
Sally De Smet was born in Nashville, Tennessee but lived in many areas as the daughter of a Naval officer. Her father told her at a young age that she should be a psychologist because of her compassion and listening skills. She lost her father at a young age and decided to study literature, but she never forgot his advice. Her writing explores human emotion while weaving a story full of intrigue and mystery. Her latest book, PAGES IN THE WIND, explores the role of abuse and trauma on the shaping of identity. Her storytelling skills have been recognized by the psychiatric community and educators–blending psychology and fiction in exciting and thought provoking stories. Expect the unexpected!
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