Thursday, 27 September 2018

New Release Spotlight & Review: The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field

The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?
Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…
As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

A thoughtful empathetic story about two people struggling to overcome difficult problems in their lives and yet find a common connection; "There's no place like home".

Ribblemill, where Tess grew up, is a far cry from the life and home she's left in Sussex. Her parents still have a home in the village, but finding her own temporary place to live is preferred. When she views a cottage for rent, she instantly loves the place however, someone else has already agreed to rent the place too. The solution? Both will share the two-bedroomed cottage. It's an awkward agreement to agree too, but she's only back temporarily, isn't she?

A quiet life, that's all Noah is asking for, but when someone else shows an interest in the cottage he's agreed to rent, he reluctantly agrees to share. It's only a temporary arrangement but life as Noah wants is about to change.

I felt sorry for Tess and the burden she's carried around all her life. The weight of expectation dragging her down until she hit rock bottom. Far from perfect, I respect how she finally faces her problems and simultaneously re-builds a new life by dropping the pretence. Noah is a gentle soul who manages to show his feelings rather than say them out loud. I'm not a fan of silent heroes but particularly liked how the author uses a secondary character to help to draw him out of his dark place.

The author has written relatable protagonists with heart-breaking and tragic back-stories. Somehow circumstances throw them together in a positive way leading to a new beginning neither could have envisaged. Before their introduction, each view their own situation as rather hopeless, so it's wonderful to see how each can see the positives in the other's situation.

A wonderfully written novel by a new to me author. As someone originally from Northern England, it always comforting to read a story set close to home, even if on the occasion, it is on the opposite side of the Pennines ;-) The warm community spirit of the folk from Ribblemill shines through and provides a heart-warming backdrop to Tess and Noah's relationship.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Accent Press***

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire,
where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

Twitter: @katehaswords