Sunday, August 25, 2013

One of the Most Beautiful Novels I've Read in a Long Time!

Winter in Full Bloom
by Anita Higman
Christian Fiction
Available August 2013
River North
304 pages

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About the Book
Lily Winter’s wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily’s lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she’d been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

My Thoughts
When I agreed to review Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman, I had several ideas of what I was getting into. Let me just tell you: All of my pre-conceived ideas about this book were wrong. Sure, I assumed it would be good (otherwise, why read it?!), but beyond that, I didn't have a clue! (As a total side note, despite my assumptions based on the cover, this book is a contemporary novel. Not sure why assumed it was a historical novel ...)

Lily's story begins with a somewhat comical account of her flight to Australia. She's nearly panic-stricken, and her 5-year-old seatmate begins chatting her up to help her calm down. Lily's fear was nearly palpable, but the conversation had me chuckling aloud. At this point, I realized that Higman was going to give me a different story than what I initially expected—and that it was going to be quite the roller coaster.

As the story progressed, I was impressed with several things. First, the setting. Wow. Of course, Australia seems exotic to most everyone, but after reading this book, it's been added to my "must visit" list. Higman's really makes Australia come alive with little details like how to pronounce "Melbourne" and descriptions of common foods. Then there are the characters. Each one had such distinct personalities but they never seemed flat or "cartoonish" (as sometimes happens when emphasizing one or two specific traits). Instead, as the story unfolded, I grasped more of who they were and why they acted certain ways. I even began liking characters more as I read more because I understood the whys behind some of their flaws. This is one of the few first-person narratives where I felt like the other characters were just as lifelike and completely developed as the one telling the story.

The story itself was absolutely breath-taking. The emotions within the pages were raw and real. Each character had a journey to understanding, faith, and forgiveness. While each was unique, they were all equally well-written. Additionally, Higman's writing has a lyrical quality that makes me want to hand this book to English teachers everywhere and say, "This is good literature. Ask your classes to read this and pick it apart looking for literary devices. And the best part is that it has a wonderful message." 

I could go on and on, but this review would turn into a gush-fest (yes, even more than it already has). Let me simply say that this is one of the most beautiful novels I've read in a long time. Read it for yourself to find out! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from River North and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Anita Higman Online
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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like something right up my alley! Well, not classical but Christian fiction! Love to get my hands on this one!


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