Book Review – The Winter House
The Winter House By Nicci Gerrard
When Marnie Still receives a phone call that summons her to the side of a once-beloved friend, she is wrenched from her orderly London life and sent back into a past from which she has fled but never escaped. Ralph, Marnie and Oliver once knew each other well and are still inextricably bound by ties of love and betrayal. Now at last they meet again in Ralph’s secluded cottage in the Scottish highlands, to spend the precious days that Ralph has left with each other. It is nearly Christmas; outside it is icy and dark, and inside time is running out.
As they talk and share memories, Marnie is taken back to the summer all those years ago when everything changed between them and heartbreak and desire broke up their little group. Will Ralph have the chance to say what needs to be said before it’s too late? Can they put the devastating events of twenty years ago to rest and rekindle the intimacy they once shared? Heartbreaking and poignant, The Winter House is the compelling story of families and lives assembled from the broken remains of what has been lost.
Nicci Gerrard writes for the Observer and is the co-author, with Sean French, of the bestselling Nicci French thrillers. She lives in Suffolk with her husband and four children. Her novels Things We Knew Were True, Solace and The Moment You Were Gone are all published by Penguin and received rave reviews.
Although they say never judge a book by its cover, in this instance it may be true. The pretty little house in the snow is where most to the story centres around Marnie, Oliver and their dying friend Ralph. In many ways “The Winter House” is about the long lasting effects of our childhood and how events from our past no matter how trivial sometimes cast a long shadow over our lives forever more.
As one reviewer wrote “Nicci Gerrard certainly understands the importance of those intuitive and sometimes inexplicable aversions, attractions and loyalties” that are adult relationships. In the interview at the back of the book Nicci Gerrrard explains that there were times when writing “The Winter House” that she felt suddenly stranded. She says: “Indeed halfway through I stopped for several months”. Sadly this appears quite obviously in the novel and at some points it would seem easier and smarter to just put the book down and forget it. But do persist with this charming little story about the three friends in the little house in the snow. The story does complete itself and you may find yourself enjoying the wonderfully descriptive passages and the depth of their relationships and the history entwined in these three complex characters. Don’t be surprised if this book brings some own childhood memories of your own to the surface.