The Winter Children – Book review

I’ve gone all off piste! Warning… this post is not about food.

When the lovely people at Mumsnet Bloggers Network said here, read a book for free! Then tell us what you thought, I had to say yes. Free books? I’m in.

A week later, The Winter Children arrived.

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This is, it has to be said, not my usual sort of a read. But I was nicely surprised. This is Lulu Taylor’s 7th novel, and she really can write. From the outset I was actually hooked. The characters are extremely well constructed, hopelessly cliched at times, but readable and (mostly) believable. They were likeable too, for the most part. Although I have to say that I found the character of Olivia a bit problematic. Her constant selflessness and blind ability to put everyone else’s needs before her own was more than a little bit annoying.

One of the key hooks for me was Taylor’s tandem narrative. Cleverly telling two stories at the same time, different chapters being given to each. The principal story, that of Olivia, Dan and Francesca is set in London, Norfolk and Switzerland. Its very much a story of the here and now, contemporary and up to date. The characters lives and its events, from IVF to redundancy are very much of the here and now. The second story is set in Norfolk in the 1950’s, this story is also very much of its time, a very different story that is linked to the first. It would be difficult to say much more without giving the game away, for a game is definitely afoot. The tale is fast paced and gripping, I read it in a week on the tube as I travelled too and from work, snatching every moment I could to find out what was going to happen next. Its atmospheric and exciting. At times bleak and creepy.

The cold, snowy cover and winter setting make this a great stocking filler for your mum or sister. It would make a most excellent holiday book, if you or someone you love are lucky enough to be jetting off over Christmas. I will be taking a look at Lulu’s other books the next time I head to the book shop.

Thanks to Mumsnet Bloggers Network and Pan Books for the opportunity to read and share.

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