Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.
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 in 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.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale will be published by Tinder Press on 26 March 2015 in hardback, the paperback release will follow in September.

Fans of Patrick Gale may be surprised to find that he has written this novel, for A Place Called Winter is historical and set, for the main part of the story, far away from his usual English locations, in the wild, dangerous newly-discovered farmlands of Canada.

From the opening pages, when we are introduced to the lead character; Harry Cane, through to the very last page, I was totally immersed by the story, the characters and the location. I wanted to read the whole story in one sitting, but instead, it took me longer than usual to finish this outstanding and quite breathtaking novel. Why did it take so long?  Two reasons; the first was that I actually rationed myself. It is very rare that I say that I don't want a book to end, but this this one of those rarities, the writing swept me away, the story haunted me. The second reason for my slow reading was that there were times when I just had to put it aside, for despite the tremendous writing and the captivating story, there were times when I found the plot so heartbreaking and so emotionally tiring that I had to give myself a break.

Harry Cane has led a fairly privileged, if uneventful life. The son of a self-made man, he inherited his father's wealth, and apart from his determination to ensure that his younger, and brighter, and more ambitious brother Jack is comfortable, Harry has no life plans of his own. He spends most days reading the newspapers, lunching at his club and taking baths at the local spa. It is down to Jack, and his socialable personality that Harry meets and marries his wife Winnie. Theirs is not a conventional marriage grounded in love, but more of a convenience for both of them. They are, however, happy in their own way and Winnie gives birth to their daughter.

Harry is vulnerable and confused and after a scandal hits the family, he finds himself exiled to Canada, penniless and forced to use his hands to work for the first time in his life.

The opening pages of the novel finds Harry as a patient in a psychiatric hospital before being transferred to an experimental community where he becomes a subject of a forward-thinking Doctor. When Harry undergoes hypnotic therapy, the reader travels with him and the reasons for his incarceration are revealed.

A Placed Called Winter is emotive and beautiful. Patrick Gale is a genius story teller, he has created one of the most stunning and moving novels that I have read in many many years. His sense of timing, his ability to create a setting that engulfs the reader is a triumph. The story deals with serious issues, with social injustices, with hardship and with also with triumph.

This novel is not all hearts and flowers by any means. The reader encounters violence; there are rapes there is a murder, there is pain and there is suffering. There are also themes of friendship and determination and huge loyalties.

So, I hope that I've encouraged people to go out and pre-order this book, I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.  A Place Called Winter is a story to adore and to cherish and to shout about.

Huge thanks to Georgina Moore from Headline who continues to feed my ever growing hunger with her startling selection of titles.

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University.  He now lives on a farm near Land’s End. One of this country’s best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, The Whole Day Through and the Richard and Judy bestseller Notes From An Exhibition.

For more information, visit his website www.galewarning.org
Find him on Facebook       Follow him on Twitter @PNovelistGale

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  1. I know it's not remotely cool for an author to thank a reviewer publicly but, what the hell, I am not REMOTELY cool. Thank you so much, dear Anne. This even moved my heartless whippet... PG

  2. It may not be cool for an author, but it's so cool for a blogger! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my review. I'm wishing you huge successes with this one! Cheers x

  3. You've really communicated your passion for this book! Great post!