The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those books that defy categorization - it has a bit of a number of things (mystery, psychological thriller, literary fiction) but none of them are a clear match. All in all, I really liked this book. I think its very unique and interesting. I haven't really ever read anything quite like it, yet its not so out there as to be strange. It's definitely a psychological study of families, love and redemption. All of these aspects really appealed to me as a reader.
The pacing of the novel was extremely well done - giving away just enough to keep me reading but never enough to keep me from wondering what was really going on. The novelist moved back and forth in time effortlessly, giving the reader much to think about as the plot moved forward. Some of the pieces involving going back in time seemed to be short vignettes of their own. Yet, by the end of the novel, everything comes together to a satisfactory conclusion. All of the bits and pieces dropped along the way finally come together. It's obvious that Lisa Tucker is a good writer. She can construct fantastic stories and capture so much with her word.
The characters are what really made this novel stand out for me. I loved how well rounded they all were - fragile, raw, and complex. They are not particularly likeable but they are flawed and interesting to read about. Their experiences and the resulting flaws of character certainly made me think about the effects that our past experiences have on our current lives.
This isn't a happy book, per se. Although I wouldn't call it sad either. It's a fairly dark look into human fragility, family dynamics and forgiveness. But, its not sad or depressing in any way. I didn't find it to be a downer type book at all. But, it was thought-provoking and captivating. I definitely recommend this if you lean towards literary fiction, particularly stories with a strong psychological bent.
NOTE: I received the galley proof of this novel from the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for review consideration.
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