I am so excited and delighted to be on the blog tour today for The Winter That Made Us by Kate Field. Her Joan Hessayon award-winning novel The Magic of Ramblings was my favourite read of last year and you can read my review of that book here to find out why I loved it so much. When I discovered that this book is set back in Ribblemill and features some of the characters from the previous book, I was desperate to read it. My great thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
“When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?
Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…
As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.”
If any of you have read my gushing about The Magic of Ramblings, no doubt you will be wondering if this book reached the expectations I had of it as a follow up and I admit I was worried. I was so in love with the first book that I didn’t want to read anything set in Ribblemill that might sully that experience for me.
I need not have been concerned. This book is everything I could have hoped for and more. It is every bit as sweet and gentle and moving and poignant and affecting as the first book was and it made me feel exactly the same way. It transported me to a place where I was totally at one with the characters, feeling what they were feeling and, once there, I didn’t want to leave.
Kate has such a tender writing style and she gets completely under the skin and right to the heart of her characters and what they are experiencing, and takes her readers with her very step of the way. And what they are experiencing is not out there, but the kind of personal struggles that we can all relate to – grief, loss, relationships, self-awareness. It is all completely real, which is what enables us to really relate to the characters, because they could easily be you or I.
In Ribblemill, Kate had created a beautiful setting peopled with such a delightful community that I am sure you will want to move there immediately, and it has retained the magic and charm from the first book but with a new couple at the centre of the story with a new set of issues to face, and these are very difficult issues that Kate has given them to tussle with. They are things that are not easy to talk about, and may ring slightly painfully for some readers, but they are dealt with so truthfully and sympathetically that, even if they cause you some tears (and they will, I cried), you will come out feeling that it has been a cathartic and ultimately uplifting experience. One of the subjects is one with which I have personal experience and I really felt the author addressed the subject with real thought and understanding.
I said in my review of The Magic of Ramblings that I could not explain why I loved the book so much. Over the past twelve months, as I have done more reviewing and more writing myself I have become more aware and now I know why Kate’s writing resonates so much with me. She makes me feel the way I want to make people feel when I write but I don’t believe I have the skill to achieve it. Her characters and settings and issues are completely authentic and alive to me, she deals with issues that are important to ordinary people, her writing is down to earth and gentle and sensitive but compelling and her books feel to me, real and warm and slightly magical. She has firmly established herself as one of my favourite writers and someone I aspire to emulate. If only.
The Winter That Made Us is out now and you can buy a copy here.
To find out what my fellow bloggers thought of the book, make sure to follow the tour:
About the Author
Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire, where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.
Connect with Kate:
Facebook: Kate Field Author