Book review of Tailwinds Past Florence and GC Giveaway contest

GC Giveaway contest:

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions
Doug Walsh will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

After getting blacklisted from the venture capital industry, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Vaughan will do anything to avoid telling his wife what happened. Even if it means agreeing to her dream of bicycling around the world. Kara, tired of being married to a workaholic, was readying for a divorce. Now, she’s packing bags of a different kind. Together, they pedal away from Seattle, headed east on the open road across America, Europe, and beyond.

Theirs is a decision that reverberates across centuries, shattering a continuum that bound their souls throughout time, and traps Edward in a battle with a past life over an eternal love.

As the miles roll by, and the couple's sordid secrets begin to surface, the couple encounters several men plucked from history, each one a vessel of Edward’s soul in a prior life. Of them, a 19th century art dealer proves dangerous, believing Kara is his ticket back to the past.

Tailwinds Past Florence is a contemporary love story with a magical twist, landing readers in the saddle of a global bicycle adventure.

With no kids on the horizon or in-laws willing to travel all that way, the second bedroom had become a land of forgotten hobbies. Dust-covered mountain bikes leaned where a dresser may have stood, a paint-splattered drop cloth took the place of a guest bed, an empty easel in lieu of a mirror.
As he rose from picking up the shoe, an unexpected absence caught his eye. The map was gone. For months it had hung opposite the door, above a bookcase lined with old college texts and a copious collection of brushes and paint tubes. Now, in its stead, only thumbtack holes in the same not-quite-white (Kara called it Saffron Lace) that covered every wall in their Seattle apartment.
She brought the map home last fall, a laminated Rand-McNally depicting every country on earth in shaded relief. Accompanying it was a proposal to bicycle around the world. She wanted him to take a sabbatical—a laughable notion in the world of venture capital—and spend a year or three traveling.
Issues of Adventure Cyclist appeared in the bathroom soon after, borrowed travel guides rotated across her nightstand, and seemingly every conversation held an air of wanderlust, with Kara pining for small towns and country roads, campfire beers at sunset. Just the two of us, she’d say in a coquettish whisper. While we’re still young. Edward could only guess what spurred her restlessness and expected it to vanish as abruptly as it emerged.
The map hadn’t gone far. A quick search found it crunched into a football of discarded fantasy, punted behind a pile of bags and boxes. By the looks of things, she’d cleaned out the closet.
He unfurled the map, exposing a runaway squiggle of black ink. His eyes locked on the map’s northwest corner, where a star marked the departure point. Home. From there, the line dipped and danced across the northern United States and Canada before dashing south from London to Spain. Onward it went, around the Mediterranean to Greece, Turkey, and beyond. Edward followed the trail, past a who’s who of countries he knew nothing about, to China and Vietnam and a hand-drawn smiley face clear on the other edge of the poster, in Bali.
She’d given up on it. No. She gave up on me.

My Review: I was given a free copy for an honest review:
Title: Tailwinds Past Florence                             

Author: Doug Walsh

Publisher: Snoke Valley Books

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Mainstream Fiction    

This is one of those adventurous stories driven by a touch of the paranormal, but readers don’t know this right away. A woman is at her wit’s end, tired of the long hours her husband works, and the neglect. She’s preparing to ask him for a divorce, until he comes home from work one day and suggests something amazing: that they follow one of her dreams and bicycle around the world.

Edward lost his job, but keeps this little secret and his motivation for his suggestion to travel from Kara. He and his wife sell their stuff and head out for their challenging adventure. It’s quite a change for the man with the MBA and the great-paying job. 

They face real dangers on the road: hunger, bad weather, even bears. Their marriage is sure to be tested. They have to get creative to survive, but this could prove to be fun—it all depended on perspective.

There’s also a mystery underlying the first part of their road trip. Whathad Edward done to get fired? During their exciting travels, beautiful scenery is described, and the couple has run-ins with interesting local people. They have some close calls, and though the journey is sensational, threats lurks everywhere, creating a sense of suspense.

The hardships test their marriage, and readers see how the couple interacts during these trying times. Kara, unbeknown to Edward, wants to save their marriage. He has no idea it’s in trouble. Kara hopes going from almost no time together to being together every moment will bring them closer together, but Edward would rather be working. Secrets and buried feelings come out. Can they survive this? We they change? Will they separate or grow closer? We witness their internal struggles.

Edward makes a great sacrifice for Kara, but then something changes—an offer to good to be true is made—and he accepts a challenging contest. Kara knows something is wrong by his sudden strange behavior, but he lies to her. Will he lose her over an important decision, a huge secret? The pressure is on. Ironically, as he keeps the truth from her, they grow closer for what they experience together on the road. But then, his guilt starts eating him up, and they have troubles.

There is a parallel character, Alessio, who is from the 19thcentury and wakes up in the 21st. His discovery of modern items is fascinating. He seems innocent enough…at first.
What will become of him when he ventures out of the apartment? When he does, his reactions to what he sees is often humorous. Another man from the past finds Alessio. They have some interesting conversations and come to some fascinating, profound conclusions.

Edward and Kara meet an interesting French-Canadian in Canada. He seems to be from the past, having grown younger, like Alessio in Italy, and searching for his girlfriend. Kara is drawn to him without knowing why. The stranger has a weird glow about him like a stranger that Alessio met. A pattern seems to be immerging of reincarnation. How fascinating to run into time-traveling people you knew in a past life. When they meet up, remarkable things happen.

Some of these returning people are kind and understanding. Others are not. The tension increases to a boiling point. Seeing if Kara and Edward will survive running into troubled past versions of themselves is exciting to see, and if they survive, will they work out the differences that have been plaguing their souls for centuries? 

This is a great book with a fresh take on relationship struggles. At the same time, it’s a travel adventure with paranormal elements, a page turner, whose tension just keeps rising to an exciting end.

About the Author:

Doug Walsh made his fiction debut with Tailwinds Past Florence, a road-tripping love story with a magical twist, inspired by the two years he spent cycling the world. The novel was a prizewinner in the PNWA Literary Contest. He's also authored One Lousy Pirate, a travel memoir, and over one hundred officially-licensed video game strategy guides. Travel guides to fictitious places, as he likes to call them. Originally from New Jersey, he now lives and plays in the mountains of western Washington.
Web/Social Links

Purchase Links:
Tailwinds Past Florence is available at the following locations:


Doug Walsh said…
Hi Laura, this is Doug Walsh. Thank you for hosting me on the blog tour and for the nice words in your review. Best of luck to you in your writing!

I'll be stopping by throughout the day to answer any questions anyone has so feel free to ask away.
I loved this book. I'm glad to be a host. :)

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