A Place Called Winter – Patrick Gale
This epic story of a journey of self-discovery begins around the early 1900s when Harry Cane has an indiscreet liaison with another man. He flees England to avoid disgrace and imprisonment, sacrificing his wife, family and privileged life. A solitary existence for Harry begins on the Canadian prairie.
He finds the harsh surroundings, unyielding earth and the hardened people to be exactly what he needs. Overcoming ‘battle scars to the mind’, he will ultimately find real love with another man and the opportunity to share it without being discovered – but not before he experiences the inhuman and brutal side of life. These ordeals teach him how far a person will go to retain secrets in order to protect himself and his loved ones.
The complexity of love is the current that surges through this tale of manipulation and survival, male sexuality, courage and acceptance. Patrick Gale insightfully explores and presents the strengths and weaknesses of men and women and cross-gender people: their beauty and uniqueness, and the struggles and conflicts of the human heart and spirit. His stunning prose and impressive research reach back to a time of forbidden and unaccepted relationships between men and transgender people. The story reveals how condemnation and punishment was meted out to those who dared be true to themselves.
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.
4 Stars (Highly Recommended) – Headline $29.99
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis