In this dark-comic novel, Morrie Schiller is a new student at an evangelical college in Milwaukee with philosophy as his major. Try though he may, he just doesn't fit into the Christian campus scene. The girl he loves sees him only as a ‘brother’, and he’s in the crossfire as radical fundamentalists rage against the school with extremist views. Add to mix, he's haunted by an obsession to become a Roman Catholic.
Enter (antagonist) Jack Joplin, a mysterious, larger-than-life stranger, who lures Morrie to embrace a spurious brand of philosophy, which promises to "transcend beyond religious conventions". Morrie takes the bait and his lack-luster love-life is catapulted into Faust-like adventures that go beyond his wildest dreams. He goes from a nobody to one who can allure the hearts of the most beautiful (and posh) girls on campus, even threatening the power of the school's authority and the entire religious establishment on campus.
This is not your ordinary "Christian novel" and you probably won't find it in most church libraries. Aimed at the reflective reader, it challenges the bedrock of conventional, evangelical religiosity. However, as a coming-of-age novel, Morrie also comes to a higher place of faith after passing through the fire of testing. Here you will find a backdrop of liturgical spirituality that should also appeal to Catholic readers. Morrie passes from a grossly underdeveloped sexuality (ladened with religious shame), through Jack's misogyny, to a place of authentic maturity.
Mr. Wenzel: I have read ... ‘Caught in the Winds’ with a great deal of interest. I must say that it is not like anything else that I have read, which is a compliment since I read many hours every day ... Philosophy, theology, mysticism and the quirks of evangelical subculture filter throughout its pages. (The Writers Edge, Wheaton, Ill)
Wenzel masterfully captures the struggle between love, faith, and modernity with a prose that is effective and discerning. Spare, tender and full of surprises, ‘Caught in the Winds’ makes for a perfect summer getaway.
(Best Damn Creative Writing Blog)
Dr. Arthur F. Holmes, (philosophy) Professor Emeritus, Wheaton College (now deceased)
"Wenzel seems to have a writing gift: his sentence structure, his way with adjectives and sense of timing hold the reader’s interest. The characters come alive, and the overall plot hangs together and is neatly resolved. He takes on engaging philosophical issues." (2005)
L. D. Wenzel weaves an intriguing story that meanders through a variety of thought-provoking topics ... does an admirable job of character development and creates believable plots that make ‘Caught in the Winds’ an entertaining story. 5 stars (Foreword Review)
Morrie Schiller ... tries to come to terms with himself and his pursuits... A thoughtful read of Christianity and coming of age, ... a fine read and solidly recommended. 5 stars (Midwest Book Review)