A Place Called Winter is a departure from the normal contemporary novel that you can expect from Patrick Gale. I was unsure of how he was going to tackle a historical novel, especially when he was going to take it the plains of Canada
The book opens with a rather harrowing scene of treatment in an asylum to cure an infliction. . Harry Cane is being treated but for what we do not know. As the book progresses, we are taken back to the asylum and associated places at times throughout the novel as we being to piece together a picture of Harry Cane and how he started the book as he did.
Harry and his younger brother Jack, live a privileged life at the turn of the twentieth century in London. Money means that they have little to worry about and also little to do. Whilst Jack is the more outwardly personable of the two brothers it is Harry who finds himself married. Marriage seems pleasant enough and a child completes the ideal picture. Life is good but a turn of events means that Harry has to leave everything he knows and those he cares about with haste.
It is this which leads him to Canada.
The privileged lifestyle is a thing of the past and Harry now needs to work. To work hard to forge a new life and one that will still test him every day.
What Patrick Gale has done is create a book full of love in its many different forms and that how you have to endure heartache and hardship to be with the one you truly love.
I learnt so much through this book as Gale seems to create the landscape of 100 years ago and brings it vividly to life, that you can feel the heat and the cold that Harry endures. As each season moves on to the next and everything begins to grow, friendship, love and the future. Of course as you grow as a person or whether you try and grow a crop, you will encounter much against you, Harry Cane is no exception and as I continue to read I was very much on Harry’s side even if I did question perhaps his actions and the ramifications it could have for those he loved, left behind and the society he lived in.
I discovered much about Harry Cane as Harry did about himself and when the ending came it was the right one. The future was no longer going to be one cold winter.
Read this novel, it has a lot to say and a lot to teach you. One of the most moving books I have read this year.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this novel.
A Place Called Winter is out now in all formats.