A Place Called Winter
By Patrick Gale
Published by Tinder Press (26 March 2015)
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 colonised 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.
A Place Called Winter is a passionate and powerful novel written by a gifted storyteller. I admit that I haven't read a Patrick Gale book before, but will certainly now be checking out his other novels.
Set in the early 20th century, the book follows the path of a man called Harry Cane. It's emotional and tragic, with beautiful descriptive passages and sensitive, tender writing. It's a story of forbidden love set against a backdrop of remote Canadian farmlands.
The reader first meets Harry as a patient in a Canadian psychiatric hospital. The book then jumps back and forth in time to uncover the reasons behind his confinement.
Harry is born into a privileged lifestyle in England. He is a shy, gentle man, whose naivety leads him to put too much trust and faith in other people. Following a passionate affair, he is forced to leave his wife and child and seek a new life in Canada.
I read A Place Called Winter in one sitting. This is a moving tale of hardship, violence, determination, betrayal, pride and triumph. It's not always an easy read, but it's certainly a fascinating one.
I received a digital Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but also treated myself to the hardback as it's such a stunning book (in more ways than one).