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All the Winters After by Sere Prince…
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All the Winters After

by Sere Prince Halverson

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6612180,945 (3.84)7

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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
beautifully written but ending left open ( )
  Claudia.Anderson | Jan 13, 2017 |
When I, someone who has never personally been there, think of Alaska, I think of snow, vistas like you've never seen before, and miles between you and your closest neighbor. Whether this is true or not, I couldn't tell you for certain but based on Seré Prince Halverson's newest book All The Winters After, my guess is that I'm pretty close.

Initially attracted to the stunning cover of this particular book, I picked it up and was drawn in my the description on the back. A tale of heartache, loss, new love, and the troubles that come when they all converge under one roof - to me, this sounds like a perfect read. I don't have a lot of patience for petty drama so I was a little worried that this might fall under that category but since I had heard so many things and the description really did sound enticing, I decided I should go for it anyway.

About 50 pages in, I knew I had made a good decision. Despite any hesitancy I had felt initially, I soon found that this story is as beautiful as it's cover. It's in no way over dramatized, it feels realistic in a very emotional sense, and it's beautifully written such that I wanted to relish in every word. As someone who often flies through books in order to find out what happens next, I took my time with this one. Over the course of the week I became acquainted with Kache, who's been away in Texas after a plane crash killed those closest to him, Nadia, who has run away from everything she knows and is on the path to figuring our who she really is, and the land of Alaska.

In the end, I was left only wanting to walk where they had walked, and give them hugs to let them know how meaningful their stories are. I was reminded of the fact that even when things seem cold and dark and unlikely to get better, that's usually just our own minds holding us back from our potential. But on a book-level, I was reminded of just how much beautifully crafted stories can touch you. My heart is thankful for this read, and I highly recommend that you take in this incredible story as well.


WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM ( )
  tipsy_writer | Nov 29, 2016 |
An exceptional character driven work, which quickly draws the reader in. An exceptional work of fiction. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Nov 24, 2016 |
This is an absorbing story full of emotional complexity about loss, loneliness, and love, which takes place over four seasons in Alaska. The seasons are reflected in the evolution of the characters, from the frozen winter to the awakening of spring.

Kache Winkel, named for the place he was conceived (Kachemak Bay in Alaska), is 38, but his life has been on hold for the last 20 years, ever since the rest of his immediate family died in a plane crash and he blamed himself. He has been living in a self-imposed exile in Austin, Texas, but his grandmother Lettie can no longer travel, and he wants to see her.

Back in Alaska, 28-year-old Nadia Oleska has been living in the Winkels' abandoned family homestead for the last ten years, also in a petrified [double entendre] state - never leaving, and carefully preserving the look of the house and memories of the Winkel family.

When Kache returns, he finds out from his late father’s sister Aunt Snag, that she has not in fact been maintaining the old homestead all this time as she had averred. Rather, she too has been avoiding it from her own sense of guilt. Upon driving out to the house, Kache discovers Nadia there, and takes to this odd, brave woman. In an awkward reverse that puts Kache in the position of visitor, he begins to go to the house daily to help with repairs, and soon an intimacy develops between them. Kache, of course, thinks he is rescuing Nadia, but they each need rescuing, as does Snag.

After a year, with the renewing strength of the seasons, as well as the wise insights of Kache’s grandmother Lettie, they all come to grips with their pasts as well as their futures. The ending is a good one, but unconventional and unexpected.

Discussion: This is not just a story of love and redemption; nothing is that easy. And it's not just love for a person that is transformative in this book; the characters come to find that the emotion of love alone - the feeling of it, itself, can help you get over a bridge in your life. Moreover, there is a note of sinister menace that rumbles through the plot and keeps you turning the pages far faster than you might for a book only focused on journeys of the heart.

Finally, you never are meant to forget the magnificent surroundings of Alaska, whether the characters are looking at the window, or looking at each other:

"...there was another type of smile that Kache was learning to appreciate: the shy, rare smile that presented itself as a gift. It wasn't given freely; it had to be earned. Nadia's face had been fearful, watchful. But now and then, her smile came through like determined sunlight working its way down through spruce and aspen branches, and he wanted to close his eyes and tilt back, expose his face to the unexpected warmth of it."

Evaluation: This is a surprising and engaging story with an unusual Alaskan setting fully as integral to it as each character. With its unconventional plot lines and ending, it would make a very good choice for book clubs. ( )
  nbmars | Mar 1, 2016 |
Such an exquisitely written book with its hauntingly beautiful prose and story line. It entwines stories of great loss, pain, fear and deep regrets. As the characters help one another free themselves from their inner demons, the healing begins. Light shines into the deepest recesses of their sorrows, angst and pain and the characters are all the better for it. But after the healing, difficult choices linger unspoken. In the freeing, one risks equally the possibility of losing. Eventually, for good or bad, choices must be made and life continues on.

The book's cover art drew me into the first few pages and the painterly prose held me there. The wilds of Alaska are beautifully rendered and are just as I had previously imagined them to be. That same toughness of nature lies within each of the leading characters as well. Although love is a thread throughout this story: love of land, freedom, family and mother nature, it is romantic in the pure sense of the word and not a typical "romance novel". There is considerably more substance to the characters and greater depth of emotion. Well done, Ms. Halverson!

I am grateful to Sourcebooks Landmark for having provided a free Advance Reader Copy of this book. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review, the words of which are mine alone.

Synopsis (from book's back cover):
Alaska doesn't forgive mistakes
That's what Kachemak Winkel's mother used to tell him. A lot of mistakes were made that awful day twenty years ago, when she died in a plane crash with Kache's father and brother--and Kache still feels responsible. He fled Alaska for good, but now his aunt Snag insists on his return. She admits she couldn't bring herself to check on his family's house in the woods--not even once since he's been gone.
Kache is sure the cabin has decayed into a pile of logs, but he finds smoke rising from the chimney and a mysterious Russian woman hiding from her own troubled past. Nadia has kept the house exactly the same--a haunting museum of life before the crash. And she's stayed there, afraid and utterly isolated, for ten years.
Set in the majestic, dangerous beauty of Alaska, All the Winters After is the story of two bound souls trying to free themselves, searching for family and forgiveness. ( )
  KateBaxter | Feb 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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For Daniel, Michael, Karli, and Taylor
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Evening crept its way into the cabin, and she went to get the knife.
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Kachemak Winkel's mother used to tell him that Alaska doesn't forgive mistakes. A lot of mistakes where made the day she died in a plane crash with Kache's father and brother-- and Kache still feels responsible. He fled Alaska for good, but now his aunt Snag insists on his return. Returning to his family's cabin in the woods, he finds smoke rising from the chimney and a mysterious Russian woman hiding from her own troubled past. Nadia has stayed there, afraid and utterly isolated, for ten years. Together, can they find forgiveness?… (more)

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