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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
The Wings of Morning by Douglas Atwill is an engaging story with rock-solid characters and a vivid setting. The story features three men who are trying to make a living in Santa Fe after WWII. It begins one July evening in the year 1946, with the Summervilles and the Parchers having dinner and discussing fortunes related to the war. Owen Parcher is a man greatly affected by the war who moves to Santa Fe with Sims Summerville, his cousin. One is a painter whose dream is to capture the experience of war — the sounds and sights of it — on canvas, and the other is a gifted writer. While their families aren’t at ease with the move to the west, the two are determined to pursue their passion. They develop a strong friendship with Hank Garcia, a lawyer with an imposing girlfriend, Viona. With stiff competition and tackling difficult projects, can they succeed in a place that has become a sanctuary for artists?
This is a beautiful novel that explores the solitude of creative minds and develops characters that are often “walled away from most of the community with only the occasional interaction with their neighbors. It only lacked the monastery bells to call them to work and, later, to gather back in the house.” The author does a wonderful job of character development, creating characters that are genuinely human and that readers can relate to. Themes of family, art, friendship, blackmail, and love are expertly handled. The writing is impeccable, and while the plot doesn’t contain explosive moments, the author keeps it realistic and creates interactions that reflect the ordinary experiences of characters and their time. The setting is another strength that comes out in the writing. The Wings of Morning is an engaging story and Douglas Atwill does a wonderful job in exploring the soul of the artist.