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Winter Haven by [Dickson, Athol]
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Winter Haven Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Synopsis

Receiving news that the brother who had run away years earlier has been found dead, Vera is astonished to discover that her brother did not age at all in the time he was gone and seeks answers in the mysterious New England island community where he had lived.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1333 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Author Author; 2nd Edition Christy Collection edition (5 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009AZM8B0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #822,842 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dark,. compelling and sinister is this tale of a woman's efforts to make sense of the world into which she is thrust as she makes the journey to recover her brother's body. At about 60% I felt that enough was enough but as I say....compelling and in the end worth hanging on in there. Well written and edited; I didn't notice any mistakes and NO bad language at all. Great for a modern book and all good wishes to the author
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the storyline rather confusing and repetetive in parts. Ending of story became easy to work out or guess at as book progressed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
very good book kept you wondering all the way through,well worth reading a very good book,can recomend reading this couldnt put it down
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excellent read this on train and didnt want to put down
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 107 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Winter Haven 9 April 2013
By Lelia Rose Foreman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book so much that I read it in one day. I found all the characters interesting and their dilemmas fascinating. The main character, Vera, has an interesting history with an overbearing faith-healer pastor father and an autistic brother who spoke using Scripture and herself with visions of her brother surrounded by white. Later she learned to call her times of vision and collapse epilepsy, but since her father refused to call doctors, she had to feel her own way through things. And she had to use his interpretation of his abuse and anger at her.

I loved the beautiful descriptions of the granite island fifty miles off the coast of Maine, where Vera must go to claim the body of her brother found on one of the island's beaches. But she cannot at first believe the body is her brother's as he has not aged in the thirteen years since he ran away from home. And he has on his body a Viking artifact.

The story grows spooky as Vera is chased by a ghost and showers of stones like the ones on the beach where her brother was found, and warnings from her angry landlord and the island sheriff. Who can she trust and believe on an island filled with hostile people and ghost stories?

In the end, she solves the mysteries and makes almost everyone tell the truth. And the truth sets her free.

I liked the descriptions of the autistic brother and the problems he created in church for his father. After I read an article about a research project involving siblings to autistic people when we were living in Alaska and attending a church where the people did not want to deal with our daughter's severe autism, I asked my oldest son what it was like having an autistic sister. In the pause between my question and his answer, my daughter squealed and then groaned in the basement (she is still non-verbal, which does not mean quiet.) My son answered that it was like living with a wookie in the basement. We've called her Wookie, ever since, because if you tell her "No." she might rip your arm off. So we've had to come up with all sorts of new strategies to live with that. When I see autistics described as Indigo Children or wise sages, I lose all patience. A high enough percentage of those of us on the spectrum are savant so that I can stand another literary description of a savant autistic, which we have here. Vera's brother has memorized the Bible in several languages. That turns out to be a useful savant skill (most aren't) though it is misused by the father as he tries to maintain his status as a healer.

Elegantly written with a satisfying puzzle and plot, I can recommend this book to anybody who likes good literature and is not scared by charismatic gifts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good / Clean Suspense 4 April 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vera Gamble leads a quiet (somewhat boring) life as a CPA in Dallas. Haunted by her past, she hides behind the numbers. If she stays focused on just the day to day tasks, then she will not have to face the pain. Then, a stranger calls out of the blue bearing news that her brother, Siggy, has been found dead. He washed up on the shores of Winter Haven, a small island community just off the coast of Maine. Reluctantly, Vera embarks on the long journey to claim the body of her older brother who has been missing for thirteen years.

Upon arrival at Winter Haven, Vera is instantly aware of how unique this place is. The people are quiet and keep to themselves and seem bothered by the presence of a stranger. Yet, there is an underlying sense of danger / unease. Why does she feel like there is a hidden secret?

Vera is lead to the old shack (Ice house) where her brother's body has been preserved. She is shocked to discover that that not only is the body indeed her brother, but he also hasn't aged a day since he vanished thirteen years ago. Vera sets out on a quest for the truth behind this startling revelation and along the way learns the dark history of Winter Haven. Her search for truth will bring her face to face with her greatest fears and her troubled past. The truth that is uncovered will forever change Vera and the people of Winter Haven. And I never saw it coming. Some of it yes, but not all of it.

Athol Dickson is one of my favorite authors. Winter Haven is further proof of the depth of his talent and his storytelling ability. At its core this is a mystery novel, yet it is so much more. Dickson treats us to a wonderfully drawn story that includes suspense, chills, a hint of romance, and a search for spiritual truth that will resonate with the reader long after the last line.

I highly advise "River Rising" if you enjoy this story. This is Athol Dickson at his best and fans of unique mysteries and suspense will love this story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story! 21 Mar. 2013
By Dorothy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished this amazing story and wanted to share it with you right away. I might see this story a bit different than some of the reviewers since I was raised in New England. I can relate to New England thinking more so than others i guess.

Vera is a CPA working in Texas whose brother has not been seen or heard from in 13 years. She gets a call one day from Maine that they have found him, but he is dead. After absorbing this news, she heads up to Maine to claim her brothers body. In order to understand Vera, you have to understand the extreme close bond she and her brother have. From this bond stems the rest of the story. Winter Haven, Maine, and the experiences Vera has there, help her grow emotionally and become free to life her life. You will find a little religion in this book as Vera and her brother Siggy were raised by their preacher father. If religion is not your cup of tea, fear not. it is not overly done. For those who do not like sex in their novels, relax. there is none except for a kiss or two.

This book is about closure as Vera sees her brother's body, finds out how he died, and becomes proud of his accomplishments and courage. It is a book where Vera learns to appreciate who she is and become free to love. It is about a New England town who, despite giving Vera such a hard time in the beginning, come to know her and respect her as a person. It is a book about a small New England town and, how once they have accepted you, they are loyal and true.

This book has suspence, chills, a bit of romance, and characters who are so vivid you will think you know them for real after you finish the book. This book is about real life struggles, and no I do not mean reality TV. I mean real life and how hard it can be.

This book is a great read and I recommend it highly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Spiritual Mystery 13 Mar. 2013
By Sbullet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got 'Winter Haven' expecting a typical mystery novel, but was surprised. What drew me in was Dickson's incredible use of description. You're immersed in every detail and thought in the character's head, which has its pros and cons. Understanding what Vera's thoughts are as the mystery progresses led me on a windy and confusing path that I rather wish I hadn't been on. Her confusion led me to be so utterly confused and fed up that I almost gave up on the book 3/4 of the way through.

The author does get a little long in the mouth when the mystery is at its thickest. I found myself skipping over pages of description that weren't particularly necessary, especially when we'd been over similar depictions of the forest and whatnot before. Better editing would have made this a 5-star story. Also, the winding in and out of past/present events and memories/dreams is never clearly cut, so you end up not having a 100% understanding of anything until Vera describes it all at the very end of the book.

Despite those downfalls, I found it intriguing. This is partly a mystery, a smidgen of romance (would have preferred more interaction between Evan and Vera), a good dose of paranormal, an even bigger dose of deception, and a BIG part spiritual. Vera's deeply Christian background plays so heavily into everything that I was almost bored by it. There's so many questions and feelings of God being a cold, angry being that when peace and resolution come, you're almost loathe to believe it.

I will say, it was a good book, and I love a story that uses fate to pull together the past/present/future so that everything makes sense and falls into a neat little puzzle. If you're very anti-Christian, you might not enjoy this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Although beautifully written this doesn't work for me 15 Mar. 2013
By Barbara Mcauliffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, this isn't horror by any means. Generally, in horror the threat is real and it affects many people. It is clear from the beginning in this book, that the issues are the narrator's personal problems. I would call this a psychological thriller. Honestly, it's not even spooky.

The writing is wonderful, a pleasure to read, but there is no impulsion in this work. By which I mean, you can put this down in the middle of a sentence and not worry about what happens next.

The theme seems to be that you can question God. But as far as I could figure, the only one saying you couldn't was the narrator's father, and he was saying it as a harried man who had lost his wife and whose son had run off. I can't imagine any father, even a minister, getting involved in a theological discussion with a kid under those circumstances and the narrator is old enough, now, to at least give lip service to the idea that her father was under so much pressure that he blew her off.

So, if you want to read absolutely, breathtakingly, beautiful writing, and don't mind a very, very slow pace, this might work for you. But if you want normal pacing, don't bother.
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