A young woman runs wild through the woods and stops to sit by a hidden well overgrown with roses. One fine summer day as she sits by the well, she sees a strange young man step out of the sunlight. He looks otherworldly. His arrival begins events that will change lives. The Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip is a beautifully written fairy tale Fantasy of mysteries, change and winter. Memorable characters, a vivid setting and mystery plot makes the book on entertaining story of wonder.
Memorable characters gives readers focus points and interesting people to stay with the book until the end. Rois is the youngest sister of two with a caring father who is a farmer. She spends most of her time wandering the forest barefoot, exploring and collecting medicinal plants. Her family gets exasperated with her wild ways. Gifted with a strange magic, Rois can see things which drives her restless spirit, especially in winter. Laurel is the older sister, practical and engaged to be married. She is the foundation of her family that keeps them balanced. These two sisters encounter Corbet Lynn who affects their lives in different ways. He arrives in the village with a troubled past linked to an old mystery. The author makes these characters believable and sympathetic with her descriptive talent.
Next, Ms. McKillip creates a vivid setting for her story that gives it a strong sense of wonder. This book is set in a quiet farming village near a secretive forest. The forest has many secret places like the hidden well surrounded by roses, which leaves a strong image for readers. Also, the two rooms of Lynn Hall with its things like the magical tapestry seems real. Changing seasons play an important role in the setting too. The story begins in spring, but it is the images of winter that leaves a stronger impression. With added descriptions of the fairy other world, the setting brings the book to life.
Finally, the mystery plot blended with fantasy elements keeps the reader anxiously reading. Rois sees Corbet some out of sunlight one day by the well. She is uncertain about what she saw. Corbet’s appearance brings up the old mystery of his grandfather and the curse upon his family to the villagers. This creates a lot of speculation and sets the whole tale in motion. Rois is attracted to Corbet and becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of his life. Laurel falls in love with Corbet even though she is engaged and pines away for him. All these events dovetail neatly into a satisfying climax with the author’s subtly vivid descriptions.
To conclude, The Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip is a wonderful fairy tale Fantasy that is very thoughtful and full of wonder. The memorable characters, vivid setting and mystery plot makes the book an entertaining read that stays with the reader. Ms. McKillip is an excellent Fantasy author of many thought provoking, descriptive works. Most readers will not be disappointed with this or any other of her books.