Winter Rose – Patricia A. McKillip
Ace Books, 1996
Rois Melior was born on her father’s farm, but her heart belongs in the wood. She wanders there freely, familiar with its secrets and gifts, until one day a stranger emerges from a fall of light to claim a place in her life. His name is Corbet Lynn. Long ago, his father became local legend by killing Corbet’s grandfather in the old manor house and vanishing into thin air on a winter night. It’s said the Lynns are cursed. Corbet does not seem anything out of the ordinary – but Rois knows better. Entangled in Corbet’s terrible secrets, she soon realises the curse is all too real, and it endangers everything she loves most.
I will read really anything written by Patricia A. McKillip, who has the most gorgeous, lyrical style and a delightful wry wit. This is not one of her best books. The plot meanders, backtracking too often over the same ground, and crucial points are a little too mysterious to hold it all together – but for all that, it’s beautifully written, flavoured with several different fairy tales without being a direct retelling of any. It has a sequel of sorts in Solstice Wood.