A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.


Title - A Place Called Winter
Author - Patrick Gale
Publication Date - 24th March 2015
Publisher - Tinder Press
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)
Pages - 400

The blurb

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything. 

Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before. 

In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love. 

Becca's thoughts 

Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thank you to Georgina Moore @publicitybooks for providing me with a review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review, and also, thank you to the incredible Patrick Gale. I very rarely stray from my chick-lit roots, but every now and again, a book like this will come around and make me thankful that I did, because quite simply, it was epic

Harry Cane's story begins in the present day. Harry is a patient at Essondale Asylum, until one day, he is told that he is going on a journey, and ends up at Bethel, a private therapeutic community. Here, Harry is introduced to the other inhabitants, and also to Gideon, the man who is to take care of him. Personally, I cannot think of a more intriguing, interest-piquing way to begin Harry's story. What was even better was how Gideon encouraged Harry to tell the story of what had happening in the past, and we were taken right back to the past as Harry's memories of his life gone by resurfaced. I don't know if you know this about me but I love to be taken back in time when reading. There is something incredibly pleasing about it, being invited back to witness a character's past, to see all that has happened to them, and how those events shaped them up to the person that they are in the present day. It's a fantastic technique, and made Harry seem all the more believable in my mind. 

After that point, we're taken right the way back to the beginning of Harry's life. Patrick details Harry's family in a fascinating light, also describing how very different Harry and his younger brother Jack were. Whilst Harry was painfully shy and very rarely ventured over the boundaries into unknown territory, Jack was far more adventurous and seemed to know exactly what he wanted from life. I loved the obvious contrast between the two brothers, and to me, it seemed to put emphasis on the fact that the two brother's lives would very much end up going in opposite directions. I also found that I had a strange feeling about Harry from the moment I first read about him, not only because of his quietness, but there was something else there too, and even now, after reading, I just can't put my finger on it! It's almost as if he had secrets, and they were right there, just inches away from the surface, bubbling and simmering, ready to break through. And it wasn't until they did! They were shocking secrets too, especially given the date in which the book was set. There was a mass of intrigue and secrecy, and a constant invisible threat, telling me that it wasn't too long until Harry was found out, and things were about to get shaky!

The story progressed beautifully, taking me from one place to the other alongside Harry. As well as being a fantastic book containing some of the most fascinating descriptions and settings, it was an epic adventure through the years of Harry Cane's life. His circumstances changed, his life and his surroundings, and I was gripped constantly. 

Patrick's characters in A Place Called Winter were incredibly in-depth and detailed. Of course, Harry was the hero of the story, but there were so many others to touch upon, too. As we move forward through the years, new people come and go, leaving their own unique marks on us as readers. 

There's also a huge emphasis on the theme of setting up home and farming. I really enjoyed watching Harry bring his new home in Winter to life, from building his actual house to planting and harvesting crops. War rages on around him, but right there, at Winter, I felt calm and peaceful, as if nothing bad could touch the place. It was brilliant, and Patrick achieved the atmosphere perfectly! It was like being cocooned in this beautiful fictional world, surrounded by wheat and all things organic and homely. 

Without giving away too much, I also want to add that A Place Called Winter will reel you in and hold you captive. Secrets, threats, mystery and intrigue await you, dear readers, and believe me when I say that you definitely need to add this book to your to-read lists. As I said earlier, it really isn't my usual choice of book, but damn, am I happy that I was sent a copy to read and review. Not only is it story of danger, but it's a story of love too, the strongest kind that can withstand anything. 

Becca's Books is rating A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale with five scrummy cupcakes! I loved everything about this story, the characters, the settings, even the illicit circumstances that Harry found himself faced with. I cannot recommend this book enough! Even if it's not something that you'd normally go for, I urge you to do so anyway. You will feel all the more better for it, I promise!




   

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