By: Lisa Tucker
Published by: Atria Books
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Format: Hardback (288 pages)
(also available in ebook format)
Source: ARC provided by publisher
**Enter to win a beautiful hardback copy of The Winters in Bloom following this review!**
The Winters in Bloom was both not what I expected at all and at the same time exactly what I expected. When I started reading, I thought I was going to get the story of a couple, from how they met and their courtship to how their relationship changes with the birth of a child, through divorce and loss, from parenthood to grand-parenting. In many ways, that's exactly what The Winters in Bloom is. However, it's also much, much more.
The Winters in Bloom actually follows five main characters: David and Kyra Winter, David's mom Sandra, and David's ex-wife Courtney, and Kyra's sister Amy. While David and Kyra are most certainly the central focus, it is through the other characters that we discover that scope of life that I was expecting from David and Kyra. While the actual story takes place over the course of just one day, we get to know each of these characters through the course of that day, and through their lives we explore the dynamics of a whole range of relationships. The day starts with the voice of Michael, David and Kyra's five-year-old son. We learn immediately that his parents take the term "over protective" to a whole new level, and David is acutely aware of all of the dangers he faces on a daily basis and each and every way that his parents strive to protect him. While there is no doubt in his mind that his parents love him, there is also a longing to be a child, to live a normal life, and to experience the things that other children experience. By the end of the first chapter, Michael has been taken from his home and our emotional journey through David and Kyra's past has begun, as each of them feels that one of the women from their past is behind Michael's kidnapping.
I can't say much about the women themselves without giving away spoilers, but I will say this....each of the women quickly embedded themselves into my heart for vastly different reasons. I identified with each of them from various phases of my life...past, present, and even future. Any woman who has ever struggled with thoughts of self-worth, felt abandoned, fought the demons of postpartum depression, fought to maintain a healthy marriage, debated over the best choices for her child, wondered how to remain active in her adult-children's lives without meddling.... this book will touch a spot in your heart. It's a clean adult read hitting on topics that most women have struggled through or will struggle through at some point in their lives. The Winters in Bloom ends much like it began - through young Michael's point of view. It's a hopeful, heart-warming conclusion to an emotional roller coaster of a read.
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Summary from Goodreads:
Kyra and David Winter are happier than they ever thought they could be. They have a comfortable home, stable careers, and a young son, Michael, whom they love more than anything. Yet because of their complicated histories, Kyra and David have always feared that the life they created was destined to be disrupted. And on one perfectly average summer day, it is: Michael disappears from his own backyard.
The only question is whose past has finally caught up with them: David feels sure that Michael was taken by his troubled ex-wife, while Kyra believes the kidnapper must be someone from her estranged family, someone she betrayed years ago.
As the Winters embark on a journey of time and memory to find Michael, they will be forced to admit these suspicions, revealing secrets about themselves they’ve always kept hidden. But they will also have a chance to discover that it’s not too late to have the family they’ve dreamed of; that even if the world is full of risks, as long as they have hope, the future can bloom.
Lyrical, wise, and witty, The Winters in Bloom is Lisa Tucker’s most optimistic work to date. This enchanting, life-affirming story will charm listeners and leave them full of wonder at the stubborn strength of the human heart.