Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Review: Ours is the Winter by Laurie Ellingham




I'm delighted today to be taking part in the Publication Day Push for Laurie Ellingham's  novel Ours is the Winter. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher, HQ Digital, for the advanced reading copy. This review is my honest, unbiased opinion.

The Blurb
Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

My Review

Brrr! You'll want to snuggle down under a duvet or a fleecy blanket with a hot chocolate to read this. The setting for this emotional book is in the Arctic snows as we are taken on the journey of a lifetime, a challenging seven day trip sledding with huskies. Laurie has such a magical way of describing the surroundings that I could almost feel the snow stinging my nostrils with the cold.

It's a tale of endurance, as a group of people take on this challenge, taking themselves right out of their comfort zones. Three members of the group in particular find that they cannot escape the past, instead they have to confront it - in just about the coldest place on earth.

Noah's story made for uncomfortable reading. His girlfriend is one of the most annoying people I've ever met in a book - I'd have buried her in a snow drift. 

Half sisters Erica and Molly haven't spoken since their brother died. Their relationship is more complex than that of most siblings. Molly resents older sister Erica for ignoring her, but Erica has had her own problems to deal with. Molly certainly behaves like a much younger sister as Erica tries to reconnect with her. I found it hard to warm to either sister particularly, as they both seem too wrapped up in themselves to consider anybody else.

For me the stars of the book are the huskies. I love the descriptions of them, even if they do have particularly smelly breath. I just want to bury my face in their fur. I love the relationship between Erica and her lead husky.  

Ours is the Winter has great descriptions of the surroundings, but I would have preferred to be able to have connected more with the characters - they just weren't particularly likable.

You can buy Ours is the Winter here.

About the Author

Laurie Ellingham lives on the Suffolk/Essex border with her two children, husband, and cockerpoo Rodney. She has a First Class honours degree in Psychology and a background in Public relations, but her main love is writing and disappearing into the fictional world of her characters, preferably with a large coffee and a Twix (or two) to hand.

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