The Winds of Autumn

A Marquette Legacy Epic Romance

Romance - Historical
322 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning author Susan Rounds has always been fascinated with history and other cultures through her travels and living in Europe during her childhood. Exploring fairytale castles filled her mind with all sorts of dreamy notions. Her adventurous lifestyle led to a career in aviation that was really about the romance of flying as much as visiting new places around the world.

Novelist Jane Austen has had the greatest influence on Susan’s writing. She was first introduced to Austen’s work when she visited her home, Chawton House, in England where historic mansions and gardens also made an impression on her. The first romance book she read was Pride and Prejudice, which she loved, but her inspiration came from Persuasion, and how deeply emotional Austen portrayed the characters and their second chance at love, the theme that's also at the heart of her novel.

Susan’s historical romance, The Winds of Autumn, reflects her passion for storytelling with its rich narrative and sweeping landscapes that draw on many of her life experiences. She’s found no greater joy than writing about the enduring power of love. She and her husband have two sons they’re very proud of and call northern California home.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Teresa Syms for Readers' Favorite

The Winds of Autumn by Susan Rounds is a heartwarming and captivating story beginning in St. Louis after the War of the Rebellion. Mariah Renwick was still consumed by the pain of her sister’s death but knew she must move forward somehow. Her wealthy business mogul father puts into play a set of circumstances that will take Mariah on the adventure of her life; if she survives. Her new husband, Nathan, seems like a proper gentleman, but out on the Oregon Trail, his true nature is exposed. He is brutal, mean-hearted, and cruel to Mariah, but his tormented past haunts him every minute. Julian Marquette, a railroad magnate, met Mariah two years prior while securing another bank loan for her father. Julian was captivated by Mariah but kept his feelings hidden. The Oregon Trail is one of hardship, crossing desolate lands filled with the tribes of the Sioux Nation, who are wary of the people traversing their lands and building the iron horse railway. With Mariah in danger of losing her life, her father asks Julian to find her. Will Julian have a chance to tell Mariah of his love for her? Many dreams are left out on the Oregon Trail.

Susan Rounds’ The Winds of Autumn tells the story of a triangle. On two sides is a budding, passionate love that can no longer be hidden, filled with desire and romance. The third side belongs to Mariah’s husband, Nathan, the vindictive, abusive, and violent military man she married without knowing his true nature. The author has an exceptional gift for character development. As each new character is introduced, the reader will gain a clear vision of the appearance, behavior, and attitude of the character. Rounds has made each personality shine in their own unique way and in a clear set of parameters. The story flowed so well from the first page and was so highly entertaining that I was unable to put the book down. I had a burning desire to know what was going to happen next. The descriptions of the setting were so convincing that I felt I was part of the group of settlers on the wagon train. This is a highly entertaining book that had me spellbound from the very beginning. The Winds of Autumn is a literary triumph, and I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

Alma Boucher

The Winds of Autumn is a captivating historical romance by Susan Rounds. Mariah marries Lieutenant Nathan Lawton, whom she believes will be her true love. Nathan is the result of his mother being raped, causing him to be cruel and violent. Nathan is incapable of showing Mariah love and building a relationship with her, even though he is in love with her. Mariah meets Julian, a long-time acquaintance of the family who has feelings for her. Mariah is still a faithful wife, despite her affection for Julian. Mariah is forced to leave her home and go west along the Oregon Trail to reach Nathan's new army assignment. Mariah endures unspeakable hardships along the way and is caught in the crossfire between duty and desire.

The Winds of Autumn is an epic story of heartbreak and love. Susan Rounds depicts the cruelty of the West Trail and the struggles faced by the emigrants and other travelers in their attempts to create new routes. The construction of the transcontinental railroad provides a fantastic setting for the story. I was taken back in time to the era of the transcontinental railroad's construction by the vivid descriptions of the events. With all the twists and turns, I never knew what to expect next. The story was packed with action, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters are well-developed and authentic. The relationship between Mariah and Nathan is heartbreaking, and the descriptions of the harsh terrain resonate with Mariah’s emotional struggle. The story was beautifully written and much more than I expected.

Pikasho Deka

The Winds of Autumn is a historical fiction romance by Susan Rounds. It's 1865, and the War of the Rebellion has just ended. Still grieving the loss of her sister, Mariah Renwick gives in to her father's wishes and marries Lieutenant Nathan Lawton. Unbeknownst to Mariah, however, Nathan is driven by rage and vengeance as he seeks to get his hands on the Renwick fortune. On the way to Fort Laramie, where Nathan expects a promotion, Mariah slowly becomes aware of his true nature. Meanwhile, Julian Marquette, who is constructing the Transcontinental Railroad, enters Mariah's life and sweeps her off her feet. But soon, tragedy strikes, and Julian ends up becoming a cripple. Can Mariah and Julian's love withstand the trials and tribulations in their way?

Set against the backdrop of post-Civil War America, The Winds of Autumn is an epic tale of romance, drama, and intrigue. Author Susan Rounds paints a sprawling portrait of the American West, capturing the rugged terrain and historical skirmishes with a flourish that breathes life into the setting. You almost feel like you've been transported to late 19th century America with Native American tribes fighting for survival and wagon trains carrying people from one place to another. Rounds has crafted some inherently dynamic characters with layers beneath their outer personas. Julian and Mariah's love story is riveting to read, at times heartbreaking, but still thoroughly absorbing. The plot is very well-paced, with a narrative that flies by without a single hitch. In conclusion, this is a captivating story I will recommend to fans of historical fiction and romance lovers alike.

K.C. Finn

The Winds of Autumn is a work of fiction in the historical drama, romance, and intrigue subgenres, and forms part of the Marquette Legacy Epic Romance collection. The work is best suited to mature adult readers owing to its use of explicit language and sexual scenes throughout. Penned by author Susan Rounds, readers find themselves immersed in a captivating love story set against the backdrop of the American West, where secrets, revenge, and true love intertwine in a tale of second chances. The narrative revolves around Mariah Renwick, haunted by her sister's memory, and Lieutenant Nathan Lawton, whose dark past hides a quest for revenge. Their union becomes a complex dance of love and betrayal, set against the canvas of post-Rebellion America. The story also introduces Julian Marquette, a brilliant railroad magnate secretly in love with Mariah. As he orchestrates the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, Julian finds himself torn between duty and desire, facing unimaginable struggles.

Author Susan Rounds has crafted a highly engaging romantic work with a narrative of passion, duty, and epic journeys, creating a world where characters confront impossible odds for love. The novel's sweeping landscapes and passionate characters make it a compelling exploration of love and resilience in the face of adversity, and I found myself totally swept away by the atmosphere and detailed work that was put into every setting. These lavish backdrops really contribute to the emotional moods of the characters, and the layers of dynamic dialogue and sizzling tension build into a fantastically immersive tale. I found the language totally accessible, and yet it suited the historical feel of the text and the characters’ attitudes. Overall, The Winds of Autumn offers readers a rich tapestry of emotions, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to historical romance readers everywhere.

NetGalley Review

I loved every minute of this book! The descriptions of the places in this story are wonderful! The author has done an excellent job in making me feel like I was a part of their lives. My heart was definitely well satisfied.

Literary Titan

The Winds of Autumn is an epic love story ... emotionally riveting ... full of action, twists, and turns ... An epic novel of heartbreak and love ... For those who enjoy historical romance with more than just a love story ... this book delivers.

NetGalley Review

I found The Winds of Autumn by Susan Rounds to be just like the cover - vivid and beautiful. I am giving it five stars.

Kathryn's Book Review

A beautiful historical romance novel. It had everything I was hoping for. Susan Rounds is a great storyteller and has a great writing style. Well done.

NetGalley Review

What a wonderfully written book! It's a beautiful story of second chances, and mystery. I loved how the author brought the book to life with her words and made you feel like you were there. I loved it!