The Winter People

The Winter People

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for The Winter People, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.

Over the last few months, I have reviewed several paranormal romances that have focused on the relationship between a human girl and a vampire. For today’s review, I’m going to be looking at something a little different.

The Winter People was written by Rebekah L Purdy and first published in 2014. It tells the story of seventeen year old Salome Montgomery who has suffered a crippling fear of winter since she almost drowned in a frozen pond as a little girl. After the incident, she swears that she was rescued by elfin creatures and spends years in and out of therapy in an attempt to cure her of her delusions.

However the hallucinations come back in force when she is left in charge of her Grandmother’s estate one winter and she gradually discovers that she is not crazy after all. There is an evil lurking in the woods around her home and it will stop at nothing to claim her life before her nineteenth birthday.

As she struggles to uncover a way to break the curse on her bloodline, she comes to realise that the three boys that she is closest to – volatile Colton, arrogant Nevin and protective Gareth – are more than they seem. With the darkness closing in to claim her, she must learn which of them that she can trust before winter is over or she may never live to see the spring.

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As you may remember, paranormal romance is not one of my favourite genres. While I can understand why people enjoy them so much, they just don’t speak to me the same way. I am easily frustrated by characters that are personified by self-hatred and melodrama, two aspects that characterise virtually every love interest in one of these stories. For me, The Winter People is an exception and I mean that in the best possible way. Even though these stories are not usually to my taste, I was completely enthralled by this one.

I think a large contributor towards my liking of this novel was the setting. I have always loved stories about the fair folk and feel they often get a bit mistreated by fantasy literature. When someone talks about a faerie, the first image that usually pops to mind is that of a creature like Tinkerbell, a tiny, fragile person with butterfly wings. People are often quick to forget that the blanket term also applies to creatures such as the terrifying Banshee of Ireland, or the demonic Barghest of Northern England.

The icy setting of Purdy’s novel helps provide a tidy reflection of faeries as they should be – beautiful and dangerous. Descriptions of the winter landscape through this novel portray both aspects of the season. Through Salome’s fear, we see it as something bitter and terrifying – cold, sterile and unforgiving – yet at the same time, the descriptions of the fluffier side of winter cut a beautiful contrast to this through troika rides, bonfires and excuses to cuddle up with another for warmth. This setting nicely sets the tone for the novel as it holds a mirror to the fair folk – outwardly beautiful to hide the danger beneath. In the same way that Salome does not trust the season, it is not clear until the final act of the story which of her friends that she can truly trust.

The novel, though heavy in romantic sequences, also contains a compelling underlying mystery. While I found the first third of the book to be a little slow moving, as the story progressed and Salome began to piece together random pieces of information regarding the curse I was fully drawn in. Purdy paces the last two thirds of the story well, gradually revealing pieces of Nevin’s past and his relation to Salome’s family curse without resorting to an information dumps or assumption. Although I was at first frustrated by the fact that a lot of people seemed to know the answers that Salome sought and yet refused to share the lifesaving information with her, a reason was eventually given for this silence within the story and I found this to be quite satisfying. I think some people may find it plot convenient for the curse to prevent those who know about it from speaking but personally, in a story that revolves around magic and illusion, this seems like as good a reason for the secrecy as any.

While I loved the setting and plot regarding the curse and faerie kingdom, my criticisms of the story are purely in regards to the characterisation. I felt that three love interests were a bit excessive. Love triangles are clichéd enough within romance literature and a love quadrangle simply took things a step too far. That said, I did actually see the appeal in all three of them due to their very different personalities. The way that Colton, Nevin and Gareth developed as the story progressed was also interesting as, because of their fey nature, Salome’s attitude towards each of them changed as the story progressed and she learned more about their true motivations. For me, this was the mark of a good mystery as the author caused me to initially believe that the characters were cut from a certain sort of cloth, only to completely flip my expectations towards the story’s climax. I also was kind of glad that Salome ended up with my favourite of the three – she had me worried for a while towards the middle!

Salome, herself, was my biggest issue within the tale as she was just a little too dependent on those around her. Although she showed some initiative and inner strength at the novel’s climax, throughout the rest of the story she was largely portrayed as a damsel in distress, requiring one of the men to rescue her every fifteen seconds as she was absolutely incapable of saving her own hide. The way that she flitted from man to man in the first half of the novel was also irksome as it just made her seem fickle. Although a decent explanation of her behaviour was given half way through the tale, it just made it difficult for me to connect with her in the early part of the story as she seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with pretty boys. Her best friend Kadie was a stage worse in this regard as she genuinely didn’t have anything about her other than her sexual preferences but fortunately this character gradually appeared less and less as the story progressed.

So, what was my overall verdict? Well, although the story was a little slow to start it gained momentum in the second third, developing into a competent mystery that I simply could not put down. Salome’s three suitors are all very interesting and showed and impressive degree of development as the story unfolded and the wintry setting helped to add visual emphasis to their magical natures. My only real problem with the story was the character of Salome herself as she just seemed to be a little too helpless. While I don’t mind females being rescued in fantasy novels, it gets a bit frustrating when it happens over and over again within a short period of time.

All in all, I can honestly say that The Winter People is the best paranormal romance that I have reviewed on this blog so far and I really look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

The Winter People can be purchased as an eBook on Amazon.co.uk

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rebekahlpurdy
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 16:23:44

    Thank you so much for reading TWP. I so appreciate it. And I’m glad you liked it!!! ((HUGS)).

    Reply

  2. Trackback: The Winter People by Rebekah Purdy Blog Tour | Entangled In Romance
  3. Trackback: The Summer Marked | Arkham Reviews
  4. vara fabrice
    Sep 20, 2015 @ 12:20:41

    great book

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Talon | Arkham Reviews

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