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A Spell of Winter is a gothic novel by Helen Dunmore, set in England, around the time of World War I. The novel was the first recipient of the Orange Prize. A Spell of Winter: A Novel [Helen Dunmore] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The inaugural winner of England’s prestigious Orange Prize, . “Not many novels grab the reader’s lapels with the opening sentence, but Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter is surely one We plunge.

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While the world appears to have opened out from the narrow limits imposed by the blockade, Dunmore reveals that in many ways it remains dunmlre as constrained: We stared at her.

View all 6 comments. Dunmore didn’t start out as a novelist. The ending is perfect and bittersweet. I loved the poetical, sensuous writing in places – the box of lemons arriving from distant Italy being one stand out description.

I knew it wouldn’t be about me, because I’d done that with those two novels in my 20s. Inside my nest of quilts I am warm, and Rob’s coat presses down on me like two hands. I have got what I wanted. I feel very passionately that it is not only legitimate to write about these people, but absolutely vital. This is a novel of forbidden love, family secrets and how Cathy gradually becomes a woman and learns to understand what drove her mother away. More abandonment when Kate leaves the farm, and then Rob too, leaving Cathy alone in the empty house to try to eke out a living as the hardships of WWI take hold—a war that will deprive her, perhaps and perhaps not—of everything.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

BBC – Radio 4 – Woman’s Hour -A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore

Born in Beverley, Yorkshire, in — the year in which The Betrayal is set — she was a poet first, if no longer foremost. Very nice of The Book People to have put dunmode a bundle of all ten of her books pre-The Betrayal for eight quid as well. I’ll give this 3. But in my mids, I was working on a short story. Similarly, the pull of the house towards destruction is inevitable: I wanted to write a novel where people would feel an engagement with the subject splel not that this was something strange and far off, which could only ever have happened in another country.


And it’s impossible for me to say. It’s hard to work out why I left it so late. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Quotes from A Spell of Winter.

The chill which has taken hold of the crumbling previously grand country house and its occupants is almost tangible – you will get cold fingers just holding the book and turning the pages.

The story was well written, though at times deeply disturbing.

A life in writing: Helen Dunmore | Books | The Guardian

However effective that atmosphere, it deadens the intensity of relationships and characters’s sufferings. They are being raised by their Grandfather and an Irish maid who is about a decade their elder, Kate.

It is gradually revealed to us that their mother has left and winer living abroad, while their father, unable to cope without her, has been admitted to a sanitorium. Trivia About A Spell of Winter. Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Food is a particular source of delight. At around this time I began to write the poems which formed my first poetry collection, The Apple Fall, and to publish these in magazines.

Romantic turmoil, but every square inch done with a sharp exactness of eye, word, and detail that give it the pleasures of a Merchant and Ivory on the page.


As Catherine fights free The inaugural winner of England’s prestigious Orange Prize, A Spell of Winter is a compelling turn-of-the-century tale of innocence corrupted by secrecy, and the grace of second chances. But the sexual frankness belongs to a much later period still, and there is also a modern sensibility in the heroine’s path to self-realization, not through others but on her own terms.


Only Kate, the no nonsense Irish servant, brings some kind of stability to the children. But a large part of her brilliance as a writer is in the way she offsets harrowing issues with a deep, sensual attention to the material world.

Had they done it in a half-hearted way I think it would have fizzled out, but they didn’t. They are stories in which things are so odd and sort of awful, but you get pulled in and start to feel the weight of the events surrounding the most normal of things, like the eating of a piece of cheese.

Bullivant’s lover which would’ve made it more interesting. Het sterkst zijn voor mij de beschrijvingen van de winter en van het innerlijk gevoelsleven van Cathy.

By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. The analogy of the all-seeing novelist is hard to resist: Set in the years before WWI, it’s the story of Catherine and her life as it happens around her. Her father is in a sanatorium at th This book is hard to like, but it’s also hard not to like. The windows stare back at me, blind with frost.

With a huge house to creep around in and no one to pay attention to them except Kate, their trusted servant, Cathy and Rob fall into a strange spell of their own. Rob and Catherine live in virtual isolation in the crumbling old house belonging to their grandfather. The cover made me think I was in for a romance novel with heaving bosoms and complicated schemes to bring about unexpected and perhaps diasapproved but fortuitous marriage proposals.