And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer

Writing a novella is a unique challenge. In a short number of pages, the author must create an intriguing story that features well-developed characters. In his debut novella, And the Soft Wind Blows, author Lance Umenhofer chooses to focus mainly on one character, allowing readers to delve into his psyche and really begin to understand his motivations.

The story itself balances on the edge of convention. The main character, Timmy, is a skinny, middle-age pharmacist who works at the local Walgreens. The opening portion of the story sets up the monotony that is the life of Timmy Enosh. Each day, he wakes up before dawn and heads out to pick up Alex, a high school student who tosses newspapers from Tim's truck. After their morning paper route is complete, he drops Alex off at the bus stop and proceeds to have breakfast at Roxie's, a small diner.

We learn of Tim's obese wife who seems to use him as a personal butler more than a husband. It is no wonder then that Tim finds himself attracted to Roxie, the owner of the diner where he eats his breakfast each morning. In his mind, Tim fantasizes about the life he could have with Roxie, but per routine, he doesn't act on these feelings. Instead, he goes to his job at Walgreens, continuing the monotony that is his life.

Soon this predictability becomes too much for Tim to handle. In a radical shift of self-discovery, he begins to do things that make him happy. He buys marijuana from his paper route partner, Alex, decides to act upon his feelings for Roxie, and moves back in with his overprotective mother. But is all this change for the good, or is it the early sign of Tim's slow descent into madness?

I was very impressed with this novella. By following the actions of one character, Umenhofer creates a story that maintains a strong focus, while still being engaging. The story follows Tim chronologically, broken down by each day. I was reminded a bit of the 2002 film, One Hour Photo, where Robin Williams plays a photo technician at a store, similar to Walgreens. In the movie, he too becomes disenchanted with the routine of his life and turns violent. In Umenhofer's tale, readers are guided into the mind of Tim the pharmacist and become so involved that it is hard to discern reality from fantasy. The story ends with a kind of twist ending that made me question every conclusion I had drawn to that point. With this novella, Umenhofer has proven his competency as a writer, and I look forward to seeing what he produces in the future.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.
To purchase the book, visit

(2013: week 17, book 15)

This entry was posted on Monday, April 22, 2013 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

9 Responses to “And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer”

  1. Ethan: I've read and liked your review, but also explained that I thought the review was genuinely well-written and made me curious about the book. This was indeed one of your better reviews!

    For the record, I'm at


  2. I really enjoyed your review. This novella has a provocative premise, and your comparison to One Hour Photo was excellent. I liked the review on Amazon.

  3. etotschinger at yahoo dot com - liked your review on amazon (did it both with my account and my husbands.)

  4. I completed step one.

  5. I completed the steps Ethan thank you.


  6. Congratulations to Angela! She will receive a copy of this novella. Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to the author, Lance, for providing the review and giveaway copies.

  7. I'm not quite sure why this isn't getting better reviews. I just finished it and really enjoyed the twist at the end! (Discovered you on Goodreads!)

    1. I agree! I really enjoyed this one. Thanks for reading and following.


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