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Riders of the Wind by Elswyth Thane

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Riders of the Wind by Elswyth Thane

Post by Michy » Wed July 28th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Riders of the Wind was the first book published by Elswyth Thane. The book is an adventure/romance, leaning more towards adventure. It starts in the home of Clement Marley, wealthy curator of an august London museum, and his beautiful young wife Alexandra. Marley is decent, fastidious, fussy and obtuse, a confirmed bachelor until he was completely charmed by the very young, very blonde and beautiful Alexandra, and somehow persuaded her to marry him.

Now they have been married 10 years and Alexandra, a free spirit and the last in a long line of Nordic adventurous free spirits, is like a bird in a cage. Her husband fusses if his tea isn't ready promptly at 5, and he won't allow her to change a thing in their home because it might upset his mother. Meanwhile Alexandra longs for adventure and freedom, to ride the wind that she feels calling her. It is obvious to everyone but the very dense Marley that his wife is dreadfully unhappy. He loves her in his way, and is just beginning to feel that perhaps she isn't happy being married to him, although he can't for the life of him understand why.

Nevertheless, they manage to muddle along, until Marley's insufferable mother comes to live with them. Then things become truly unbearable for Alexandra. Until one day.....

Through his work at the museum, Marley has contact with all sorts of adventurers and collectors, one of whom is Starke: a very rich and quite smarmy character from New Orleans, with an insatiable passion to collect rare and valuable antiquities the world over, no matter what it takes to possess them. He comes to Marley's home one day to meet with him and a couple of "professional" adventurers with a proposition for finding an ancient jewel-encrusted robe hidden somewhere in the wild mountains of Central Asia. As they talk of danger and adventure and beauty Alexandra feels her spirit stirring within her. Here is the life she is longing to lead. But as a woman, and a married one at that, such a life is prohibited to her. Oh, but if only she could......

This is a book of adventure, of danger and near-misses, and close escapes out of impossible situations. It is well-written, fast and easy reading. My biggest dissatisfaction is that the writing feels a bit dated. Some of the slang, in particular, definitely says 1920s.

Nevertheless, this is a book that fans of Elswyth Thane will probably enjoy, although it is totally different in tone and plot from her Williamsburg series. There is a sequel, also, which I will probably read eventually.

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