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Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonized Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness, and an evil man of undeniable magnetism, that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.
In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real-life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality, and, ultimately, great love.
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By K Cornwinkle on 05-11-16
"It WAS bitter; like biting into memory itself"
says Harry when, late in the book, a Cree two-spirit healer (maybe) has him chew roots hoping to trigger a healing vision. Oh, and what bitter memories he has to bite – banished from home and family in England he lands on a Section on the Canadian plains working through every waking hour to fulfill the terms of the Grant; fence and cultivate 160 acres within 3 years. I loved the secondary story of the settling of the Canadian wheat basket and the hard lives of the homesteaders. We had just finished reading "Little House" to our youngest. But this is a story about discovering love, surviving and transcending abuse, emotional and physical. Mr. Gale's narration is good but not so much of a range and somewhat variable. It's much better than an average narration but not as good as one done by a skilled voice actor who could have made the audible version richer than the written one.
I'd read it again. Bonus points for the sensitive discussions of transgender (and coincidental timeliness).
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