Winter’s End by Clarissa Cartharn – CreateSpace Publishing (2013)

wintersend-cartharnI typically avoid romance novels. Two reasons: I’m a guy and… and I’m a guy. I’m just not the market.

Having said that, I mostly enjoyed Winter’s End. It was a slow, rambling exploration of a widowed woman’s healing, re-marriage and romance [pretty much in that order]. I won’t give any spoilers, but the basic plot involves the widow, a scheming old lady, an handsome but callous actor, and the emotionally constipated brother of the widow’s deceased husband.

The descriptions of the Isle of Skye made me want to visit someday. The characters with their decidedly UK sensibilities were interesting. The plot has enough twists and turns to leave you guessing.  As with many of the chick flicks I’ve watched with my wife, I admit to being frustrated  here and there. At one point, I clearly recall thinking, “Why would she want to be with either of these dudes?” yet the end resolved itself nicely. There was even a twist in the protagonist’s identity that was like an “Ah! I should’ve picked up on that” moment for me.

My only complaint was the way the character development was handled. It reminds me of the way Doyle sometimes wrote Sherlock Holmes: we couldn’t solve the mystery ourselves because a single critical detail was left out until the end. Once we knew that detail, we could put the pieces together and have a hope of solving the mystery before it was revealed. Cartharn likewise leaves out critical pieces of her characters’ backstory, leaving this male USAmerican reader angry and confused until it all came together. At which point, I said, “Oh, well, that makes sense now.” I’m only deducting one star for this because I suspect it might be an oddment of storycrafting from my fellow authors across the pond.

For those of you who shy away from romance novels because some of them degenerate into torrid sex scenes, I note that there’s nothing more objectionable in Winter’s End than we might read in Biblical Song of Solomon.

All in all, a pleasant read, one I’m surprised as a guy to be recommending.

-Tony Breeden
From the Bookwyrm’s Lair

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


About Tony Breeden

Tony Breeden is an author, creation speaker, Gospel preacher, vocalist and artist from West Virginia. He is also the founder of Find out about his books at

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