Book Review: Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Info: November 2002 by Time Warner Books UK (first published 1996)

Pages: 264

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

Rois is obsessed with Corbett Lynn. His pale green eyes fill her thoughts and her dreams are consumed by tales of his family’s dark past. Of son’s murdering fathers, of homes fallen to ruin, and of a curse that, as winter draws in, is crawling from the frozen forest to engulf them all.

Winter Rose is a retelling of the Scottish Tam Lin legend/ballad by my favourite author, Patricia A. McKillip. I didn’t know anything about this origin before I begun reading, but afterwards did some research and the book retells the story but with some major differences to the original story. Well, wouldn’t be any point in retelling it the same would it? Fairy tale retellings seem to be quite popular at the moment.

As usual, McKillip’s poetic prose is enchanting. Her use of language and descriptions always captivate me and capture my imagination. At times though, things were too vague and ambiguous, leaving me confused in places and reading passages again to make sure I’d understood what was happening.

The plot is good but dragged on. I wasn’t hooked. I think the book would have been better if it were shorter as, really, only a few things happen. If it had been more condensed it would have pulled me in more to keep me reading as there was too much dilly dallying to keep my interest. There were some unexpected twists and turns which surprised me though, and some aspects went against my expectation, so it was refreshing to see something different for the ‘romance’ element of the book. However, things are alluded to (well, more than alluded, more like stated as fact) which will happen, as if the narrator is looking back on these events, but then that doesn’t happen, and I found that frustrating and confusing. I’m being rather vague because this issue revolves around a large plot point which I don’t want to spoil.

The characters were good and well fleshed out and I liked the small village setting. It made it feel like they were isolated from everything else, which tied in well with the fantastical goings-on.

It was a good book, but nothing remarkable, and not as good as the other books my McKillip I have read. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more of her books, there’s a long queue of them on my shelf waiting to be read.