The Orphan of Salt Winds

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For fans of Eowyn Ivey, Rose Tremaine, and Kate Atkinson, The Orphan of Salt Winds is a bewitching debut about the secrets that haunt us.

England, 1939. Ten-year-old Virginia Wrathmell arrives at Salt Winds, a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, to meet her adoptive parents—practical, dependable Clem and glamorous, mercurial Lorna. The marsh, with its deceptive tides, is a beautiful but threatening place. Virginia’s new parents’ marriage is full of secrets and tensions she doesn’t quite understand, and their wealthy neighbor, Max Deering, drops by too often, taking an unwholesome interest in the family’s affairs. Only Clem offers a true sense of home. War feels far away among the birds and shifting sands—until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, and Clem ventures out to rescue the airman. What happens next sets into motion a crime so devastating it will haunt Virginia for the rest of her life. Seventy-five years later, she finds herself drawn back to the marsh, and to a teenage girl who appears there, nearly frozen and burdened by her own secrets. In her, Virginia might have a chance at retribution and a way to right a grave mistake she made as a child.  

Elizabeth Brooks’s gripping debut mirrors its marshy landscape—full of twists and turns and moored in a tangle of family secrets. A gothic, psychological mystery and atmospheric coming-of-age story, The Orphan of Salt Winds is the portrait of a woman haunted by the place she calls home.



  • The Orphan of Salt Winds is a beautifully written, atmospheric novel—reminiscent of Jane Eyre with its wild, bleak setting and houseful of mysteries. . . . Bewitching and haunting.

    —Eowyn Ivey, author of THE SNOW CHILD

  • The Orphan of Salt Winds is an atmospheric, beautifully paced novel about sacrifice, the urge to belong, and revenge. It’s full of well-drawn characters I loved to hate, and those that I didn’t want to let go, even after I closed the last page.

    —Claire Fuller, author of SWIMMING LESSONS

  • Filled with unexpected twists, beautifully rendered characters, and told with great style, The Orphan of Salt Winds will seep into your soul.

    —Keith Donohue, author of THE STOLEN CHILD

  • Like Daphne du Maurier, this novel powerfully conjures up a
    a time and a story that are unforgettable.

    —Rosamund Lupton, author of SISTER

  • Hauntingly gothic . . . This quietly unsettling tale holds its secrets close, making for a powerful story of loss and longing.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Elizabeth Brooks’s writing has a quietly magical quality that conjures the atmosphere of Salt Winds effortlessly. This novel is a tenuous and thrilling unfolding of how events in Virginia’s past shape her actions in the present. An excellent blend of psychological mystery with a coming-of-age story, packaged in a unique historical setting—The Orphan of Salt Winds genuinely gave me goosebumps.

    —Johanna Albrecht, McIntyre’s Bookshop

  • I love this story! It captivated me from the
    first page and I was mesmerized
    until the last! Elizabeth Brooks has developed such wonderful characters and I
    developed strong feelings about all of them. . . . And then add to that some mystery with an unexpected twist at the
    end! What more could you ask for? A must read!

    —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette