A Spell of Winter is a gothic novel by Helen Dunmore, set in England, around the time of World War I. The novel was the first recipient of the Orange Prize. A Spell of Winter: A Novel [Helen Dunmore] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The inaugural winner of England’s prestigious Orange Prize, . “Not many novels grab the reader’s lapels with the opening sentence, but Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter is surely one We plunge.

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I began to travel a great deal within the UK and around the world, for poetry tours and writing residences. Another fantastic book by this author. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Their sense of isolation and dependency on each other mutates into incest. This haunting and evocative novel was the first Orange Prize Winner and set a high standard for future hopefuls. No, she acted on instinct.

A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore

T he entire back wall of Helen Dunmore’s tiny studio-cum-office — eight floors up in a neat block of flats on Bristol’s northern slopes — is given over to a glass door, leading on to a strip of balcony.

Jan 07, Eva rated it really liked it. It takes off the pressure. I f I had a difficult time deciding how to rate this book. This is a novel of forbidden love, family secrets and how Cathy gradually becomes a woman and learns to understand what drove her mother away.

heleb You find yourself wanting the incestuous relationship to be a success, but all the while knowing that there is no way that it can be. Maybe because I oof no brothers and thus no frame of reference to get suitably skeeved out by it. Although it is not immediately apparent why, both of their parents are not at home with them, and more than a whiff of scandal and whispers of the moral failures of their family hang over the household.


A life in writing: Helen Dunmore

In her latest novel, The Betrayal a sequel to ‘s The Siegeshe transports us to another port city, Leningrad, and sinks us deep into the oppressive heart of it. Dunmore didn’t start out as a novelist. Young Catherine says her favorite season is winter, and winter descends on her. Their relationship begins inside their mother, but without her presence later in their childhood, they become closer still, just as the outside world begins to threaten their bond.

They are being raised by their Grandfather and an Irish maid who is about a decade their elder, Kate.

D I cannot stress how amazingly beautiful the writing is – I was disgustingly jealous of it more than once while I was reading – and it’s so good that you begin to actually forget all about the incest and focus on how doomed this family is by the mistakes that seem to repeat themselves over and over again.

It’s not a perfect book, but I loved it–stories with this kind of emotional heft, without melodrama, are hard to find. There was no barrier of space or skin between us. It’s not milk and water.

I had never heard of Helen Dunmore until I read her recent obituary and saw the heaps of praise she had received for her novels. Sep 06, Brianne rated it it was ok. To ask other readers questions about A Spell of Winterplease sign up.



Dunmore perched on high, peering down into the lives playing out below. An established and creatively realised plot and characters who seem to step forth from the page, it also has the best sex scene I’ve ever read in any book and I’ve read a lot of both books and sex scenes!

The writing is extraordinary, but the story lacked for me. The cover made me think I was in for a romance novel with heaving bosoms and complicated schemes to helwn about unexpected and perhaps diasapproved but fortuitous marriage proposals.

Her mother has abandoned her and her father loses his mind, and she and her beloved hhelen must live with their eccentric, troubled grandfather. They’re raised by their grandfather and no nonsense maid, Katie. The father went insane, the mother abandoned her children, the grandfather becomes inept, the maid wastes away and begins looking toward her charge for intimacyand the siblings begin a sexual affair.

The trouble with this book was that it just plain loses you.

Her loneliness and her dark search for love lead her to a place which threatens her, and only the coming war seems to break the spell.