Patricia established her career as a writer of fiction, but I haven't read any of her novels. I do like to read some poetry occasionally, so when I saw this book at a tempting price, I took a chance on it. Patricia didn't actually write any of the poetry herself, but instead assembled a selection of poems and other quotations about winter and used them as a basis for this book. Patricia has used her own writing skills to provide an introduction explaining how the book came about, and to add various short stories reminiscing about her childhood growing up in Ireland. These stories set the book apart from other poetry books.
The book is divided into three main sections, the first being winter, the second being Christmas and the third being about hope and renewal. Of the three sections, the one devoted to Christmas was what particularly attracted me to the book. It also happens to be the largest section, which isn't really a surprise because Christmas has become the focal point of the winter season. Note that the last poem in the winter section really belongs in the Christmas section; since Christina Rossetti originally wrote In the bleak midwinter, somebody set it to music and it is now a Christmas carol. On the other hand, some of the poems and quotations in the Christmas section have no Christmas theme and really belong in the first section devoted to winter generally. A prime example is Father and son, written by F R Higgins, which describes November in Meath. It's a great poem that definitely belongs in this book, but it's in the wrong section.
In most poetry books, one expects to see an index to easily locate a poem based on the title and / or the first line. This book contains no such index, so if you want to quickly find one that you've read before and don't remember where it was, you have to flick through all the pages to find it. As it's a relatively small book, that's not as bad as it might be, but with some poems classified incorrectly, they might not be as simple to find as you instinctively expect. Perhaps the author meant the book to be read from start to finish, since it's more than just a poetry book. However, not everybody who reads the book will do it that way and even those who do the first time may wish to go back to specific poems subsequently.
This book was a great idea and is, for the most part, put together well; however, the absence of an index costs it a star. If you don't mind the absence of the index, add the missing star back in again.