I was very fortunate to receive a review copy of A Place Called Winter earlier this year. For the last few weeks I have delighted in seeing the steady stream of support and adulation for Patrick Gale’s extraordinary story. The praise is richly deserved too as this is a compelling read and I defy anyone that joins Harry Cane on his journey not to be moved by the events that define his life.
Patrick Gale has done a phenomenal job of capturing the spirit of Edwardian England. I loved his depiction of Harry’s home life and then his awkward courtship. There was a real sense of history leaking off the pages as I read and it was easy to imagine Harry travelling around old London and finding his way in the world.
As I was reading with my ‘21st Century Head’ on it took me a while to grasp that I was reading about something scandalous. But the penny soon dropped and Harry’s story was heading in a new direction – to Canada and a life overseas. To avoid arrest and a public humiliation for his family Harry elects to leave London to strike up a new life for himself on the wild frontiers.
Once he leaves London Harry makes new acquaintances and forms essential alliances. These encounters will give him the opportunity to learn the skills he will need to establish a new life working the land to survive. However, not everyone is acting in Harry’s best interests and there are adversaries to overcome too. I loved reading how this shy character was able to overcome the obstacles to forge new friendships and force himself to meet the people he needs to rely upon – Patrick Gale created a charming hero for his tale and gave him all too real traits which give Harry a constant air of vulnerability.
A Place Called Winter has an appealing charm and tells an absorbing story. Personally I found the elements of the story recanting how Harry learned to work the land and build his home the most interesting. I suspect, however, that the majority of readers will be entranced by the compelling drama surrounding Harry and his evolving relationships with his family and friends. Quite simply, A Place Called Winter is a beautiful story and reading it will enrich your life.