Harry Cane is the elder son of a well-off Edwardian family. When Jack his younger brother is born, their mum sadly passes away. Jack and Harry grow up together and are protective of each other. Harry is so painfully shy that he stammers whereas Jack is confident and has an idea about what he wants to do in his life.
Years later Harry gets married and has a child, but little does he know what is around the corner. His life is totally turned upside down when he has an illicit and dangerous affair. The shock of being discovered and the risk of being arrested costs him everything and he is forced to abandon both his wife and child. Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies and sets off on his travels to set up home on a plot of land near the town of Winter. For Harry this is going to be a big challenge as he has never worked before. The threats of war, an evil and sadistic man and madness seem to reveal in Harry an inner strength he never knew he had.
I loved ‘A Place Called Winter’ and I really liked the way this story was set out. The first time you meet Harry he is in an asylum and then soon after is moved to a therapeutic community called Bethel. That of course immediately intrigued me. I was desperate to know how he ended up there but found I had to wait for quite a while to find out. That didn’t put me off though. The storytelling was absolutely amazing and the descriptions throughout were wonderful. I could really picture the scenes in my head.
It is clear that Patrick Gale has done a lot of research for this book. He has put pen to paper and created an incredible novel complete with flawed characters. This is an intense story of secrets, sexuality and finding love. I think this could be one of the big books of this year.
Until last year I had never heard of Patrick Gale. Having read ‘A Place Called Winter’, I am now determined to read more of his novels.
I give this book 5 out of 5.