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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lyrical and unjudgemental morality tale
A haunting evocation of young souls left to develop alone in a large house full of emotional and financial disintegration. A brother and sister's isolation and loneliness lends their love for each other a new and dangerous bent. Without guidance or boundaries they struggle with the moral and physical implications before one (perhaps) finds redemption and hope.
This...
Published on 15 Jun 2000

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Slow
Generally love Helen Dunmore's books especially The Siege, The Lie and The Greatcoat but this one failed to draw me in and I gave up after a few chapters.
Published 8 months ago by Eileen A McBain


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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing, unlikely story, 10 Oct 2010
This review is from: A Spell of Winter (Paperback)
Brother and sister fall in love and take things a bit too far. I'm not convinced it would happen, even under the unusual circumstances found in this novel. The author handles the potentially distasteful subject matter very well however, and although the story might be a bit unlikely, the writing is brilliant. I hadn't read any Helen Dunmore before and was surprised to find a British novelist who could write as well as some of the best American writers (she reminds me of Marilynne Robinson). Dunmore's depiction of winter scenes here are hauntingly beautiful and the standard is kept up throughout the book, making the plot seem almost irrelevant. Which is probably just as well, as it all seems a bit unlikely: I kept reading because it was so very readable, and I suppose I did want to see where it was all leading. Actually it doesn't lead anywhere very satisfying; I thought the end was rather a let down; I got the impression that the author wasn't quite sure at which point to finish the story.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother, 9 Mar 2011
This review is from: A Spell of Winter (Paperback)
This is the first book I read of Helen Dunmore. I don't agree with the raving reviews at all. I find her style overly descriptive, there was hardly any dialogue and it was practically impossible to understand the motives of the central characters. I gave up after 143 slow and uninspiring pages and trashed the book.
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5 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wouldn't rush to read another, 30 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Spell of Winter (Paperback)
There is no doubt that Helen Dunmore is a talented writer, but I found this tale of sibling incest distasteful and uncomfortable to read, not because of the subject matter but because the main protagonists were so unsympathetic and difficult to relate to. I am not inspired to read another of her novels.
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A Spell of Winter
A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore (Paperback - 25 Oct 2007)
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