If you've never read a Patrick Gale, stop now and pick up this book. From the author of the bestselling NOTES FROM AN EXHIBITION comes an irresistible, searching and poignant historical novel of love, relationships, secrets and escape
In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear.
They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies.
There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.
Patrick Gale treats the love that dare not speak its name with insight and sensitivity... - Sydney Morning Herald
The book may be set in the past, but it has a contemporary story to tell. And while the focus is on a gay character, it's relevant to all. - Daily Telegraph, Sydney
From the powerful opening in a mental asylum until the story comes full circle, this novel will captivate with its extraordinary and layered content that was inspired by real events. - Good Reading Australia
What Gale does so well is to delineate the unpremeditated consequences of actions...The final chapter left me with a lump in my throat - Guardian
Late at night on the day a new Patrick Gale arrives I am always to be found crouching on the icy bathroom floor, banished from the bedroom for keeping my husband awake, feverishly turning the pages - Spectator
A master storyteller. Quite simply, you believe every word he tells you - Independent on Sunday
A writer with heart, soul, and a dark and naughty wit, one whose company you relish and trust - Observer
“When a thing has always been forbidden and must live in darkness and silence, it’s hard to know how it might be, if allowed to thrive.” A Place Called Winter is the sixteenth novel by British author, Patrick Gale. In early 20th century England, shy and stuttering Harry Cane, nurturing older brother to the infinitely more confident Jack, is rather surprised to find himself married to Winnie, and before long, a father to Phyllis. Even more surprising, the obsessive infatuation for another that forces him to abandon his family, England and the bulk of his wealth for the hardship, privation and loneliness of the Canadian prairielands. Harry is befriended on the ship by a strangely charismatic man, a Dane named Troels Munck, who commandeers his life and steers him to a land plot near the remote Saskatchewan town of Winter. The narrative alternates between two time periods: Harry’s life after he leaves a mental asylum and joins the therapeutic community run by the unconventional Dr Gideon Ormshaw at Bethel; and the events of his life from when his father died, events that led up to his admission to the asylum. Based on story of his own great-grandfather’s life, Gale’s story portrays the reality of pioneering in the Canadian wilderness. It also touches on accepted therapies for mental illness at the time and the dangers of being a homosexual in this era. Gale has a marvellous talent for making the reader feel true empathy for his main character: it is virtually impossible not to feel Harry’s heartache, his anxiety, his anger and his fear, but also his love. Gale’s descriptive prose is a pleasure to read: “She looked after the geese and ducks and was an excellent shot, regularly bagging wild duck…. She also shot rabbit and the occasional hare. These she would pluck or skin herself in an efficient fury all the more self-righteous for being unapplauded and unregarded” and “As Troels came to stand beside him, Harry smelt the musk of his sweat and something else, something threatening, if threat had a smell” and “There were stars, a seamless, spangled fishnet of them from horizon to horizon, coldly lighting the land and lending the farm buildings, outlined sharply against them, an eerie loveliness” are just a few examples. Fans of Gale’s work will not be disappointed, and newcomers to his work will want to seek out more of it. This beautifully written novel is incredibly moving and completely captivating. With thanks to Hachette and The Reading Room for this copy to read and review.
Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. One of this country's best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, the Richard and Judy bestseller Notes From An Exhibition, the Costa-shortlisted A Place Called Winter and Take Nothing With You. His original BBC television drama, Man In An Orange Shirt, was shown to great acclaim in 2017 as part of the BBC's Queer Britannia series, leading viewers around the world to discover his novels.