The Winter Children is a haunting mystery from Lulu Taylor, author of The Snow Angel.
Behind a selfless act of kindness lies dark intentions....
Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends.
Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they've always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know. And the house, too, holds its darkness deep within it....
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I just don't understand the positive reviews
Well... I have been thinking about this. On the positive side it was well written in terms of the prose flowing, no irritating illogical words thrown in to distract (such as one book where everyone 'went' instead of 'said') and I did listen to the end which I can't say for many of the books I have disliked.
- it is very, very, slow. The author seems to use 100 words when 5 would have done. I love atmospheric, descriptive books but this is just more like a long series of actions and unnecessary additions: 'then Olivia walked around the room and picked up the baby then put his little shoes on him and then his little bonnet that she got from that shop in London when they were newly married....' of course this is a made up example but it drove me mad. There was a mildly interesting opening paragraph which is a pretty unlikely seeming situation but makes you want to see where it goes, then it literally stops. There is endless information about the lives of the characters without really going anywhere or sparking any interest. You do learn about their history but it is not very surprising and I found it difficult to really even care what happened to any of these people.
- So much of the book is about motherhood. It is about the feelings of the various women for their children and lots of descriptions of the various children and their relationships. I wondered if perhaps this is why I seemed to find the book so dull compared to most of the reviewers. Not being a parent myself perhaps it is difficult for me to relate to any of this. Some of it was borderline cringe-inducing (she is a fierce goddess defending her children, as one example - I don't recall the exact quote but along these lines.)
- There was a scene towards the end when I wondered if I was going to change my mind (the last scene with Dan and Cheska) when I suddenly started to feel so much more sympathy for the characters, but even that was ruined by Cheska suddenly becoming improbable and unlikeable again.
- There really wasn't any mystery. It wasn't difficult to see where it was going and though I perhaps didn't know how all the relationships were going to end up I also didn't much care.
- For God's sake Argentina isn't always that warm! It felt like the 'Switzerland' and the 'Argentina' scenes were just chose for their pretty names and connotations and no real believable background was given to life in either of these places.
I am considering the new Clare North book as I loved the first fifteen lives of Harry August
The first part of the last scene between Cheska and Dan, I felt a lot of sympathy for her and it briefly became a bit more believable.
Well Olivia - obviously she couldn't be cut but I would have made her much more sympathetic and likeable.
I realise my view is very different to most reviewers and therefore perhaps donMt let it put you off!
I love the narrator, she is so believable as the different characters.
- Emma Jones
Not really a book I enjoyed