A little later than advertised – apologies, a slight mix-up with dates! – I’m delighted today to share my review of Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham, published by HQ Digital on 17th November. It took me far too long to discover Laurie’s lovely writing, but I so enjoyed One Endless Summer, and I was really looking forward to reading this one…
Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.
Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.
Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.
Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.
Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.
As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.
My goodness, I enjoyed this one – I don’t do a lot of cover-to-cover reading these days, but this book grabbed me forcibly from the opening pages and I just couldn’t put it down until I read the very last perfect page.
You can read this book on so many levels. It’s a superb adventure story with individuals pushing themselves to their absolute limits in a hostile environment – gripping and dramatic, with the most magnificent descriptions of the desolation and the breath-taking moments of beauty, the mechanics of sledding wonderfully researched and fed into the story. And those characters! The twists and turns of the difficult relationship between Erica and Molly were so very well done, from silent hostility to fierce defence and every shade in between – and Noah just made you want to hold him as he dealt with his pain and darkness in his own way. The supporting characters are so much more than that too – Noah’s girlfriend, the father and sons with the moving back story, the ditsy twins who have a lot more depth than you initially expect. Heavens, even the huskies have distinct personalities.
As the secrets and background stories emerge, it’s a very emotional read – there’s immense sadness, loss and guilt, so well portrayed that it really hurts when it hits you in the gut. The powerful message I picked up from the book (apart from “never let go of your sledge”…) was that it’s impossible to forgive others until you can forgive yourself: the journey to that point was one that I tremendously enjoyed, all-consuming, with moments of sheer joy among those of dreadful anguish and pain.
The whole story is superbly balanced – driven by its characters, every one of whom (well, almost every one) you’ll take to your heart. A rather special book, very accomplished story telling, and an unforgettable experience I honestly wasn’t expecting – I really loved it.
With thanks to Laurie and Neverland Blog Tours, I’m delighted to be able to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a signed paperback of Laurie’s previous book, “One Endless Summer”, open internationally.
Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
About the author
When I’m not running around after my two children, my husband, our Cockerpoo Rodney, or just plain running, I love nothing more than disappearing into the fictional world of my characters preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.
When I am in the thick of a character crisis, I can often be seen walking around the village with my jumper on inside out and back to front, chatting (and occasionally laughing) away to myself.
I have a first class honours degree in psychology and a background in Public Relations, both of which help in everything I do.