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Winter Rose (1996)

by Patricia A. McKillip

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Winter Rose (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,492408,879 (3.88)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)
  1. 50
    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 40 (next | show all)
A lovely horrible dream of winter, Faerie, farms, languishing and obsessed girls, and a cold and tragic young man held thrall to a cold queen. The quality of McKillip's writing keeps me going when I can't figure out what the heck is going on. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
McKillip's prose is undeniably gorgeous. She paints worlds and scenes which a reader can fall into and breathe in fully, and the effect is wonderful. I'd agree 100% with the reviewers and readers who compare her work to fairy tales in scope and tone--from beginning to end, that what Winter Rose feels like. At the same time, there's a part of me that things that that element exactly, wonderous as it is, is what holds back her books from being five-star reads for (or has so far, anyway). Much as I love the language and the worlds, the characters don't always feel quite real--it's as if they stepped out of fairy tales as they are, unchanging, and without quite the depth that normally makes me feel for and love a character. I suppose it's a matter of feeling like the plot and language are prioritized over character, to the point that all of the depth falls there rather than in either the protagonists or antagonists, and that alone keeps me from truly falling in love with the books vs. the language.

I'm sure I'll keep reading McKillip, waiting to fall in love with characters like I fall in love with her imagery, but this book did (like others) leave me wanting more in a not entirely good way, much as I enjoyed swimming through the world itself. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 3, 2020 |
Beautifully written and lyrical, Winter Rose can be viewed as many things. Supernatural, magical, surreal, reality, dream, or even a metaphor for a young woman’s desire and lost love. When I picked up this book some years ago, I knew nothing about the author, though the cover states she’s the winner of the World Fantasy Award. May not be for those who like straightforward stories with every t crossed but fans of the unusual may appreciate the book. ( )
  SharonMariaBidwell | Mar 2, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

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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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.

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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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