I’m delighted to be one of the blogs kicking off the tour for The Winter That Made Us today, especially since it’s publication day. Congratulations Kate Field – I hope you have lots of lovely things planned to help you celebrate!
The Winter That Made Us is about Tess who has returned to Ribblemill, the village where she grew up. Much to her parents’ surprise she announces that her husband Tim is working in Dubai for a year while she takes a sabbatical from her high-flying law job in London. She is reluctant to stay with her parents though and ends up sharing Cobweb Cottage with housemate Noah. It seems clear that there’s something going on that she’s trying to escape from or hide. But is soon becomes equally clear that there is something in her past at Ribblemill which she has spent much of her life trying to hide, something which has profoundly affected her relationship with her over-protective mother in particular. With Noah also seeming to have something he is trying to put behind him, The Winter That Made Us is a book full of secrets and people not talking about things which are having a huge effect on their lives.
Kate Field has written beautifully about the vulnerabilities of her characters. Slowly the readers begins to guess at what has happened to Tess and her family and can see why The event which has affected Noah so badly is revealed to Tess quite early on though she feels she cannot talk about it with Noah unless he wants to talk about it. Despite his physical size there is a fragility about him. When Tess discovers a little boy hiding in bushes outside their cottage, he becomes a significant person in both their lives and through helping him, they help themselves.
I absolutely loved the setting of the village of Ribblemill. Although I haven’t read it, the author has written another story set in the village and featuring the big house The Magic of Ramblings. Ramblings plays such an important part in Tess’s experience in Ribblemill as it becomes the centre of village life with many clubs and groups meeting there. Kate inspires the villagers to help undertake the huge task of restoring the walled garden and develop it as a community asset. The sense of a real community was vividly portrayed throughout from Ramblings, to the No Name pub, the local post office and the local Church. As Tess does so much to try to forget her past, she throws herself into many village projects and in doing so, helps not just the village but also herself. She finds a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth to help her move forward into he future. I must just mention the New Year Purge. Without going into details, I thought this was such a wonderful tradition where the whole community came together moving forward into a new year.
This is a beautiful story of two damaged souls finding themselves and helping to heal each other. More than once I had a lump in my throat reading about the desperate sadness in both Tess and Noah’s pasts. But this is far from a sad book. It’s a tender love story and an uplifting read about finding purpose in your life.
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my copy of the book. The Winter That Made Us is available from today in paperback and as e-book. You can order a copy online here: The Winter That Made Us
From the back of the book
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.
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.
Don’t miss the rest of the tour for this lovely book