The Winter House is the beguiling story of a woman summoned to confront the trappings of her youthful past, a complex quadrangle of tangled relations, which have long been buried but never forgotten. With a wisdom beyond its pages it is a novel that makes you explore you own half-forgotten friendships and relationships; whether consciously of subconsciously you cannot help but relate to Marnie's circumstances by placing a question mark against people, choices and events from your own past.
When Marnie receives a phone call out of the blue from old friend Oliver Fenton, he his summoning her to a small cottage in remote Scotland where their friend Ralph is dying. There was a time when these three, and Lucy (a fourth) were all very close and inseparable friends. But that all came to an abrupt end years ago and Marnie hasn't been in touch with the boys since. Can they all put past events behind them and transport themselves back to their youth, to give Ralph the peace, the strength and love he needs at the end? Much has happened in their lives since their youth, but will the bonds of friendship still be strong enough to see through their differences now?
It is a very warm and poignant novel, more about relationships and emotions than about events. The main characters are real, immediate, - very well portrayed. In just a couple of places I think the writing loses it's thread, with the theme of 'home' and 'homesickness' being ever so slightly over-played as well, but on the whole it's a novel I can recommend for its originality, kind heart, warmth and good story telling, and only the hardest of hearts will fail to be moved by this story of loss, love and friendship.