Whispering Winds of Appalachia

Fiction - Literary
216 Pages
Reviewed on 12/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

John Ellington hopes to be living, authentic proof to his readers that dreams are worth chasing, no matter how outlandish or unrealistic. As a practicing veterinarian with a background in biology, John is not your prototypical author. He has no formal training in literature or publishing. He spends the majority of his time calculating drug doses and peering through the lenses of microscopes. However, since a young age the creative side of his brain has been unsatisfied by science alone. He spends his free time exploring nature and writing songs. One particular dream of his was always to craft a story that would be worth sharing. His first novel, "Whispering Winds of Appalachia", is an expression of his innermost thoughts and feelings and was fully inspired by his hopelessly romantic spirit. There is more to the world around us than purely what meets our eyes, and he hopes his readers can not only sense that but feel it in the depths of their souls.

During veterinary school and the following few years Ellington spent his time exploring creeks in the Appalachian Mountains searching for trout and other evidence of the soft hand God uses to paint nature. At the age of 29, around the time he completed his first novel, a major life change led to him moving from South Carolina to Montana, where he currently resides. He continues to practice veterinary medicine and spends his free time fly fishing, hunting, and snow skiing.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Whispering Winds of Appalachia is a work of fiction in the literary style and in the interpersonal drama subgenre. It is best suited to adult readers owing to some explicit language usage and reference to drug use and sex. Penned by author John Ellington, readers are invited into a poignant coming-of-age story set against the beautiful backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. The plot follows the life of Chris Atwell and his best friends, Walker Davis and Brook Palmer, during a transformative year of their friendship and love. The narrative is deeply emotional, with a sense of nostalgia for the past, capturing the essence of fleeting moments and the inevitable changes life brings. The arrival of Paul Wright, a pre-medical student from Charleston, marks a turning point in their lives, and the story takes a dramatic twist as an irrevocable mistake challenges Chris's conscience and tests their friendships.

Author John Ellington has crafted an emotionally resonant work that builds with all the slow-burning charm of a literary titan into a gorgeous exploration of interpersonal relationships and how we see ourselves in the light of the actions of ourselves and others. The author paints a highly immersive picture of the enchanting Appalachian landscape, creating a vivid and almost spiritual setting in which the characters' lives unfold that feels like its own character in the narrative, gently overseeing them all. The development and attention to detail around Chris were especially well-achieved, with some excellent dialogue that is never overly telling but allows readers to sense what’s brewing between the lines. Readers who appreciate emotionally charged narratives and evocative settings will find this book a compelling and touching read where the characters come to feel like close personal friends by the time it is over. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Whispering Winds of Appalachia for fans of accomplished literary fiction everywhere.

Edith Wairimu

In Whispering Winds of Appalachia, John Ellington delivers a gripping story about a close-knit trio and the harrowing event that tests their friendship and shatters their tranquil lives in the Appalachian Mountains. In 1973, Chris Atwell’s family moved to Brevard, a small mountain town in Transylvania County, North Carolina. After struggling to make friends, Chris meets Walker Davis during a hilarious incident in which Walker saves his life. Chris becomes close friends with him and his best friend, Brooke. The trio remains inseparable, exploring the mountains’ stunning beauty and fishing together until science student Paul Wright moves to Brevard College. Paul and Walker quickly become friends but a fierce argument leads to tragedy, destroying the friends’ peaceful lives and sending ripples through the sleepy town.

Through Ellington’s masterful narration, the story’s atmospheric setting comes to life, forming a breathtaking backdrop for the characters and their lives in Brevard. With a skillful hand, Ellington describes the friends’ lives including their initial meeting and the painful events that change their lives forever. I liked that the characters were complex and faced intriguing internal and external conflicts. As the story approaches its climax, suspense-filled scenes emerge. The magnificent mountain landscape and the town’s stillness are adeptly juxtaposed with the events that arise toward the end of the novel. The story’s conclusion is unexpected and moving. Whispering Winds of Appalachia by John Ellington is an exemplary novel rich in incredible characters and set against a beautiful backdrop that envelopes its characters’ lives.

Jamie Michele

In Whispering Winds of Appalachia by John Ellington, an aging man named Chris finds solace and a deep connection with the natural world, reflecting on his lifelong love for the Appalachian mountains, streams, and valleys. Through transitions in time, we meet Chris's childhood friends Walker and Brook and are taken through various events, including a Christmas dinner with Brook and her father, Walker's intention to propose to Brook, and their deepening bond during a fly fishing adventure. Chris, Walker, and Brook befriend Paul, who surprises them with his fishing prowess. Subsequently, Chris's budding romance with Maddy, Walker's family's financial struggles, and the strained relationships within the group all come to life. But when tragedy strikes, Chris, grappling with the consequences, remains hesitant to reveal the full truth about the events, even in the face of an escalating crisis.
There are many wonderful elements that make Whispering Winds of Appalachia by John Ellington a truly engrossing work of literary fiction, but the standout is his ability to provide almost cinematic sensory descriptions of both Appalachia and the depth of the characters' emotions. There was one scene in particular where Chris's surroundings and his emotional and physical state become one and the same after an encounter with a bear is wrapped in a portrayal of the cold night, the sounds of the forest, and Chris's own emotional numbness. Ellington's writing is clean and tight, using a balance of nostalgia and real-world ramifications in a complex but very accessible style. I read this novel from a comfortable armchair in London, also reminiscing about spaces that were free for roaming and a time when that was just a part of childhood. Still, we are shown in a twist how tragedy is universal, how the bonds of friendship fray but do not break, and how the enduring love of our place in this world is as much a part of who we are as the air that fills our lungs. Very highly recommended.

Samantha Jeffery

"Whispering Winds of Appalachia" by John Ellington captures the soulful essence of the Appalachian region through its poetic prose and vivid storytelling. Ellington's intricate descriptions transport readers to the heart of the mountains, where the whispers of nature and the rich cultural tapestry of the region come alive. The book's lyrical narrative weaves a compelling tapestry of characters and landscapes, creating an immersive experience that lingers in the reader's mind. A heartfelt tribute to Appalachia, Ellington's work is a literary gem for those seeking a deeper connection to the beauty and mystique of this storied land.