Friday, 20 March 2015

Review: A place called Winter by Patrick Gale

A place called Winter by Patrick Gale
Tinder Press
Release date:
24 March 2015
Rating: *****
Back cover blurb: 
In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear. They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.

Firstly I must apologise to Patrick because the review that’s about to follow could never do this novel the justice it deserves.
I also need to apologise for not having read any of his previous novels. Where have I been?
A place called Winter is a novel that can only be described as a masterpiece. When I read on Patrick’s website that it had been inspired in part by family history, well I fell in love with the novel just a little bit more.
Harry Cane (Hurricane, Windy – yes he’s heard all the jokes!) is a shy, caring man with a stutter that endears the reader to him even more. Brother to Jack, Wife to Winnie and Father to Phyllis. Harry appears to have it all. But the opening pages of the novel tell a different tale. Harry’s departure from a Canadian mental asylum to an experimental therapeutic centre under the watchful eyes of Dr Gideon Ormshaw shows us a man traumatised by the procedures he has been subjected to.
How exactly did Harry end up in Bethel? 
A place called Winter alternates between two time periods in Harry’s life. His life within in the asylum and later, Bethel, and the events of his life prior to the asylum; his early life in England, his emigration to Canada minus his family and his settlement in Canada.
Harry’s life begins ordinarily enough, left his father’s omnibus fortune, Harry is comfortable with his life as a bachelor, living with his brother Jack. But then Jack meets George, Harry is introduced to George’s sister, Winnie and everything changes.
Harry begins his married life happily enough, until he meets a stranger who unwittingly changes Harry’s future in a way that nobody could have foreseen. Harry is forced into a situation where he must make a devastating decision; leave his family, or risk losing everything including his reputation.
Harry agonises over his decision and on a whim decides to emigrate to Canada. On board the ship over he meets Troels Munck, yet another individual who is set to change Harry’s life. Upon arrival in Canada, Harry must learn how to farm before he is able to purchase his own land, which he does with commitment and a strength he never knew he had. Soon he is on his way to a place called Winter, where he decides to settle.
Here he meets the Slaymakers, Paul and Petra, brother and sister, who are no strangers to the situation that Harry has found himself in, and we begin to understand here, the path that the novel may take.
I don’t want to say too much more and spoil the novel for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of reading it. I suppose however I should say that Harry’s life in Canada is determined by three people, Petra, Paul and Troels Munck. The relationships with the former two and the actions of the latter set Harry’s life on a course that could never have been predicted.
And the ending? Well we all deserve a little happiness from time to time, and for me, it’s the perfect end to the perfect novel.
A place called Winter deserves every little bit of advance praise that it has gathered and is a truly exceptional novel. I guarantee you will fall in love with it.

A place called Winter is available from 24 March 2015. You can pre-order it now from Tinder Press and Amazon online. 

post signature 
Huge thanks to Georgina Moore who sent me an advanced proof copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment