Friday, April 30, 2010

Winter Haven

Author: Athol Dickson
Publisher: Bethany House
March 2009
ISBN: 978-1-7642-0164-6
Genre: Inspirational/suspense

Vera Gamble has gotten the call she’s feared for thirteen years. A body has washed up on the coast of a remote island in Maine, and they believe its her brother, Siggy. Reluctantly, Vera takes vacation leave and heads for Winter Haven, while reading a guide book telling a spooky story about how pilgrims disappeared on the island leaving no proof when a man sent to find help returns with the promised help.

At first Vera doesn’t believe the body found is her brother. Siggy hadn’t aged a day in thirteen years! He didn’t look a day over fifteen. But he carries proof that he is indeed Siggy Gamble. The law on the island refuses to release the body in light of this new mystery, so Vera is forced to stay on the island.

But there is something evil on the island trailing her. It rains rocks around her. Trees bleed blood. And only she can hear the hissing voices. Amid tales of witches, unexplained deaths, unfriendly islanders, and threats Vera is sure who to trust. And with no way off the island, is she doomed to become one more Winter Haven legend?

I have read and loved all of Athol Dickson’s novels so far, and WINTER HAVEN has a different feel to it than the others, more gothic—dark and brooding. While repulsed, I couldn’t put the book down. I was caught up in a story I didn’t want to be caught up into. A story of evil.

There are some Christian touches in the story, so it is not all on the dark side, but WINTER HAVEN is too much on the dark side for my tastes. But the story is very compelling, the story very well drawn out, and there is a touch of a romance. Not sure how Athol Dickson did on characterization—the whole story is more plot driven than character driven, and what I learned about Vera was all related to the plot. Very well written. If you’re a member of the “chicken club” you might want to avoid this book. But if you like a bit of the dark side in your books, then WINTER HAVEN is a book to consider. $18.99 hardcover. 333 pages.

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