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Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

Winter Rose (1996)

by Patricia A. McKillip

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Winter Rose (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,443388,359 (3.89)76
In the woods that border Lynn Hall, free-spirited Rois Melior roams wild and barefooted. She soon meets Corbet Lynn, who has returned to rebuild the estate of his murdered grandfather. As autumn gold fades into winter, Rois becomes obsessed with Corbet's secret past--and with the curse that will forever haunt him.… (more)
Recently added bycaess, adrienne, sandstone78, Debi1990, Jacksonian, private library, lowrescat, parasolofdoom
  1. 40
    Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: These books share a dark portrait of the woodlands, an intimate, loving family, and an air of unknown peril.
  2. 30
    Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Another retelling of the fairytale, Tam Lin
  3. 20
    Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Solstice Wood is the modern-day sequel to Winter Rose.
  4. 31
    Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (Maid_Marian)

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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Winter Rose is a tale of two sisters. When Corbet Lynn returns to claim his ancestral home, rumors of a curse on his family start circulating. Conventional Laurel falls madly in love with Corbet, forsaking her fiancee, while "wild girl" Rois becomes obsessed with finding the truth about the curse. Trouble is, everyone seems to have heard something different - and no one was actually there when it supposedly happened.

The book is a romance where not a lot does happen, and if it hadn't been written so beautifully I might not have finished. Rois treads water through much of the book with her investigations that go nowhere, and then there is a series of confusing hallucinatory sequences (they are real, but feel dreamlike.) By the end, I didn't feel like I'd read much of a story. Patricia McKillip is one of our best fantasy authors, but this isn't one of her best books. (I recommend [b:The Changeling Sea|59|The Changeling Sea|Patricia A. McKillip|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1313430180s/59.jpg|2085180] or [b:The Book of Atrix Wolfe|77353|The Book of Atrix Wolfe|Patricia A. McKillip|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170900098s/77353.jpg|1105994].) ( )
  chaosfox | Feb 22, 2019 |
Winter Rose is a quiet, slow-paced fantasy focused on a character named Rois who can go back and forth between the fae world and her human world. When the grandson of a man who was murdered long ago appears in her small town, rumors abound as to why he’s back. Rois is desperate to find out his past and that of his family, but it means going against the faerie queen and putting herself in great danger.

You definitely have to be a patient reader to get through this book. This book is very slow-paced and not much happens; when stuff does happens, it has a surreal feeling to it that isn’t quite magical realism because this is a fantasy book, but almost touches on it. For much of the first half of the book, I wasn’t really sure what was going on or really where the plot was going, but I’ve read McKillip’s books before, so I trusted her to get around to it eventually. I did very much enjoy reading this book, I can just see how other readers might not like how it’s constructed or written.

I especially loved how the faerie world (it’s not really called that, but it’s pretty much what it was, I think) was depicted in this book. It’s hard to go too into detail with what exactly happens, because it’s all woven together, but I loved the beautiful descriptions of nature and how wonderfully McKillip does in showing that the fae world is beautiful beyond imagining, and yet incredibly terrifying.

The slow reveal of Rois’s and Corbet’s respective pasts was super interesting, and that more than anything kept me hooked into the book. Coming to terms with one’s past and how it has shaped a family and a person is a big theme throughout the book, and it was handled in interesting ways. One of the most evocative moments is when Rois sees Corbet’s grandfather within Corbet himself, showing that Corbet has a cruel streak because of how his grandfather abused his father.

If you’re at all a fan of McKillip, I would highly recommend this book. If you’re a patient reader who likes fantasy, definitely give this a try. It’s interesting and the prose is gorgeous.

Also posted on Purple People Readers. ( )
  sedelia | Jul 23, 2018 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Winter Rose
Series: ----------
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 173
Format: Digital Edition


Rois, younger sister of Laurel, is a wild young woman who loves the woods. She finds a hidden pool behind a curtain of wild roses and in the process of drinking from it one day, sees a stranger coalesce out of light and shadow.

She later finds out that a young man, Corbet Lynn, has returned to the village to repair and live in his ancestral home. His father supposedly murdered his grandfather in the middle of winter long ago and the grandfather cursed him and all his descendants. But no one knows what the curse actually is.

Rois feels an attraction to Corbet and in a dream is told to never let him go. Back in the real world, it becomes obvious that Corbet is in love with Rois's older sister Laurel, who is engaged to Perrin, a local farmer. Rois figures out that Corbet is from the fairy world, ie, The Wood and in a dream-like trip there, comes across Corbet's father, Tearle Lynn. He is under the spell of the fairy queen and when the fairy queen tries to take Corbet for her own, Tearle fights his ensorcellement and ultimately ends up dead in our world in the Lynn house and Corbet has disappeared.

With Corbet gone in deepest mid-winter, Laurel begins to fade away, much like their mother did years and years ago. Rois offers herself up to the Fairy Queen but her humanity ends up breaking the spell the Queen has over her, Corbet and Laurel. Laurel wakes from her infatuation with Corbet and Corbet realizes he was trying to be in love with her humanity to keep himself out of The Wood. Since he is free, he can choose Rois and she can choose him.

The book ends with spring just around the corner and Corbet beginning to truly rebuild Lynn Manor.

My Thoughts:

One of the reasons I like to re-read books is to re-evaluate how I feel about them. When I read this back in '07, even though I praised it highly, my feelings were just how unpleasant everything was. So I went into this with some trepidation, wondering how it would be. I really shouldn't have worried as it turned out. I enjoyed the daylights out of this read.

Ominous, that is probably the best word to describe the tone for this book. The setting of winter and the Cold and the Wild Hunt and the Fairy Queen and Nial Lynn (the cruel grandfather who set this all off) and even such mundane things as roses and thorns just give out vibes of ominosity (I love making up words that aren't real, at least in my reviews). In the hands of someone else that all might have been extremely depressing, but in McKillip's hands, the lyrical words swept me along and brought me back into the spring and the sunlight.

The thing that stopped me from bumping this up all the way to a full 5star rating was the whole thing with Corbet and Laurel. While it was explained and made part of the story, I wish there had been another way. I don't like reading about infidelity, even if it's only emotional and all because of magic.

Other than that, this was a perfect book. I think when I read it again, some time in the future, I'll try to read it mid-summer and not in the middle of a bleak New England winter.

Kinuko Craft does the cover again and I have to admit, it is probably one of my least favorites by her. Most of that is because of my dislike of the Fairy Queen in this story and since she's THE cover, it just makes me go “blah”. But when you look at the full piece of art by Craft, you can just see what a gorgeous work this is. It goes hand in hand with the book and fully complements it.


★★★★½ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Feb 25, 2018 |
A retelling of the popular ballad Tam Lin, Winter Rose uses lyrical language to distract from the mundane mystery central to its plot.

The scenes in which Rois works her way through the village elders' recollections were the most slow-going. These repetitious conversations read more like info dumps than authentic curiosity/ investigation. I also did not appreciate that the two sisters were vying for the same man's affections. Nor did I like that Rois submitted to her sister, Laurel, without any fight whatsoever. I guess this is meant to show the purity of Rois' love for both Laurel and Corbet Lynn. But, to me, it translated to the beautiful sister deserves the love while the free-spirit (read: plain-looking) sister deserves to be alone. Finally, I was most disappointed by the fact that, in the end, Corbet shows true interest in Rois because she's lost, or at the very least tamed, her non-conformist ways by wearing shoes, riding a horse, etc. Does this mean one can only win their true love by compromising their Self? By caring about such superficial matters as clothes, hair, etc.?

What this book lacked in character and plot, it made up for with vivid imagery and a firm sense of place. These descriptions - from the water at the well to plants that Rois collected to the changing seasons - evoked powerful memories and personal experiences. Without the beautiful prose and fairy-tale premise, I probably wouldn't have finished.

If someone asked me for a good Tam Lin retelling, I'd recommend Roses and Rot instead of Winter Rose.

3.5 stars
(My first book by McKillip. I'll definitely read another by her, though.) ( )
  flying_monkeys | Jan 7, 2018 |
And to think, I had this in the giveaway box.

Reminded me of the darker Robin McKinley (Deerskin, etc.), and that's certainly a compliment.

Dark and cold - I'm glad I didn't read this in January, when the weather was the worst. It's a good book to read in March, when you can already see signs of Spring.

Bitter, complex, evocative, transporting. ( )
1 vote chelseaknits | Dec 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia A. McKillipprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craft, Kinuko Y.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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They said later that he rode into the village on a horse the color of buttermilk, but I saw him walk out of the wood.
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Woods-wise and free-spirited, Rois Melior is the opposite of her sensible sister, Laurel. But both Rois, who narrates, and Laurel fall under the spell of the stranger who enters their world. Decades ago, according to village gossip, Tearle Lynn murdered his father and mysteriously disappeared. Now Tearle's son, Corbet, has come home to rebuild crumbling Lynn Hall. Despite her attraction to Corbet, Rois is warned by her otherworldly senses that he is not what he seems. As Laurel falls hard for Corbet, Rois searches for the truth about the Lynns, but the answers she finds lead only to more questions. When Corbet disappears, Laurel begins to sicken and fade. To save her sister as well as Corbet, Rois will have to come to terms with the secret of her own changeling identity. The pace here is deliberate and sure, with no false steps; the writing is richly textured and evocative. McKillip (The Book of Atrix Wolf, and winner in 1975 of a World Fantasy Award for her novel The Forgotten Beasts of Eld) weaves a dense web of desire and longing, human love and inhuman need.
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