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The Winter House

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  711 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
A compelling story of families and lives assembled from the broken remains of what has been lost.
Published 2010 by Gardners Books (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 05, 2010 zenbren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first read of 2010. I loved this book and read it over 2 nights. The story challenges the reader to confront the issue of mortality and the fraility of the human condition. It moves easily through the different stages of development from childhood to adolescence as seen through the eys of middle age. You can almost feel the icy coldness of the Scottish landscape which houses the 3 main characters as the play out their final days together and the inevitability of death.
The move from the thoug
Mari Biella
Aug 07, 2010 Mari Biella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like subtle reads
The plot of The Winter House is simplicity itself - a group of old friends (one of whom is dying) get together and reminisce. Think you've heard it before? You have. After all, the friends you make during the earthly hell of school and adolescence are often the best friends you ever have, and who can resist some misty-eyed nostalgia, especially when they're standing on the grey shores of encroaching middle age? A lot of writers certainly can't, and so the "old friends get together and remember" ...more
This is one of my favourite books with one of my favourite characters (Ralph) from one of my favourite authors. So. That's all you need to know.

Here's what I wrote about it elsewhere in 2011:

"I got this one from my sister and have been sneaking around it until it was the perfect time to pick it up. And man, I'm glad I picked it up just now. What can I say about Nicci Gerrard's writing that I haven't said already? She takes you into her worlds and you just become part of them. She manages to mak
Aug 29, 2014 Boyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is about a man, named Ralph, who is ill from cancer. His illness gathers tree out of four old friends back together - Ralph, Oliver and Marnie.
Long ago Ralph, Oliver, Marnie and Lucy were really close. But then something happens and their friendship is broken. Lots of things are left unsaid, lots of deep feelings are buried.
As Ralph`s disease increasis he wants Marnie to remind him the beginning of their friendship and also what happend that it fell apart.
Filled with love, pain, dissa
Sue G
Nov 22, 2010 Sue G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of the Nicci French books, but someone told me I therefore probably wouldn't enjoy Nicci Gerrard's solo books. How wrong they were. Although the subject is very dark and I did end up dabbing my eyes on the train I loved this book and couldn't put it down.
The story is contemporary and follows forty-something Marnie as she is called to Scotland to the bedside of a dying friend. The story of the friendship is told as Marnie talks to Ralph while he lays bedridden and Ralph's thoughts
Steve lovell
Apr 17, 2010 Steve lovell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Death - will it come quietly and humanely in the night? Will we go at peace with a life well lead and long, or will it take us raging at the unfairness of it all? Will it be long, drawn-out and befuddled in the arms of Morphia? The latter was certainly the cse with Ralph - it was novel length in coming. 'The Winter House' was a journey through three main lives entwined with two lesser players. The still strong ties of long lapsed friendships drew Marnie north to an isolated house in a frozen Sco ...more
Apr 03, 2012 Bowerbird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite books! It is also the first book that actually made me shed a tear! It is extremely emotional and I really felt what the characters were feeling.
Ralph - who is dying of cancer is such a likeable character, I couldn't help but want him to just be OK and for him and Marnie to put the past behind them and live happily ever after!

The book made me feel so many emotions and I love the way it makes you think "if you want something, go get it while you can".
Excellent read!
Donnah Brown
Jan 05, 2015 Donnah Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-2015
Although I have read this book I'm not sure about it, it wasn't what I expected. The characters are mostly believable, although on occasions you feel annoyed by their actions. I think it was the all devouring, overwhelming weight of their entangled love that at times made it uncomfortable to read.
Nov 13, 2014 Hannah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Well written but I found all the characters so dislikeable. And honestly all that fuss and really not much happened to make a fuss over! Not my kind of story basically.
Helena Wildsmith
Nov 16, 2016 Helena Wildsmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautiful but heart-breaking. I absolutely loved the characters and the ending was perfect. I definitely need to read something funny to cheer me up now though!
Helga Beuckelaers
Nov 12, 2016 Helga Beuckelaers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
zo mooi, verstild en gelaagd...
Jun 25, 2017 Gerda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book written by a bestselling author: technically good, but the ideas are too ‘formatted’, and the contents too sentimental. And there’s a complete lack of wit or humour, not one sentence in the whole book. I know, I know, someone is dying, but what about all the good memories that could have triggered some form of comic relief? No discussion of ideas, or art, which is all the more strange because the main character Mandy becomes an artist later on in life. It’s like a housewife attempt at Rom ...more
Lukas Van Veen
...when you know someone's past, it's hard to disentangle them from it. That's why we have to leave home, isn't it? We have to get away from our family and friends' versions of us.
Douglas Swy
Apr 14, 2013 Douglas Swy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good read, highly recommended if your into the type of book that throws pieces at you letting you put it together as it builds to a rather anti climactic end. Even though the end slides away it was still good trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together without the writer having to spell out every bit for me. I had already worked out the end about half way through, but that didn't stop me and if it did I would have missed out on some crucial facts. These facts help build and change ...more
Roman Clodia
May 22, 2016 Roman Clodia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, this is very different from the psychological thrillers written under the Nicci French name. Marnie is 40 when she receives a phone call from Oliver to say that their mutual friend, the mercurial Ralph, is dying. Having not seen each other for twenty years, her journey to Scotland is also a journey into their shared past and the ties that both bind them and separate them.

This is an emotionally-intense book that manages to deal with big and difficult subjects - adolescence, love, death -
Beth Bonini
Feb 10, 2010 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know one thing about this author when I picked up this book . . . but something about the title/cover appealed to me. Frankly, I was surprised by how beautifully written it was; the author has a really poetic feeling for language. It also had really interesting characters who were likeable -- and not at all "stock" or predictable.

The story centers around the friendships/romantic relationships of four characters and much of it is told in flashback. Although the "present" is a small cotta
Jul 23, 2012 Janey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it about this book that sets it apart from the run of the mill 'chicklit' I usually avoid? Maybe it's the really likeable characters - gentle Marnie, hunky dependable Oliver, studious, sarcastic Lucy, artistic,solid potter Emma. And Ralph... ah Ralph. Damaged, vulnerable, wild, brilliant Ralph...

Ralph is dying and Marnie is called by Oliver to Ralph's remote cottage in Scotland to spend his last few precious days with him. At Ralph's bedside, Marnie dips in and out of their shared past t
Jennifer Davy
Mar 10, 2013 Jennifer Davy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university-shelf
I bought the winter house from a second hand book shop for £1. The reason I bought it was because it was brand new and unread previously. It wouldn't probably be a book I would necessarily read otherwise. However, I'm so glad that I did buy it and read it. I loved it. This book is character driven and very well written. It goes through the characters lives up to the point where they are now at their friend, ralph's death bed. I hoped something exciting was going to happen, but even though nothin ...more
Katie Gerrard
Mar 13, 2011 Katie Gerrard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, as you expect from Nicci Gerrard, is wonderfully written with each section flowing into each other with ease and the story building with perfection. It follows a really interesting idea of a group of friends and their complicated 'who wants to be with who' politics from when they met as teenagers, through to the student years and beyond to their meeting in the book. A winning formula. The only thing that I found problematic is that I found it very difficult to build sympathy with any ...more
Deborah Allin
Mar 21, 2015 Deborah Allin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've enjoyed immensely all three of the Nicci Gerrard books I've read, she is one of my favourite writers. The Winter House brings together three characters, Ralph, Marnie and Ollie whose lives had been connected since adolescence. Unresolved issues linger in the shadows and Ralph's impending death brings these to the surface as Marnie is called to his bedside. The power of the past and all that happened is explored as Ollie and Marnie confront the loss of their friend to cancer.

The bleak froze
This book tells the story of three friends reunited after many years, and reveals their individual and entangled pasts piece by piece. The pace is slow, but the story cleverly written.

However, whilst I sympathised with the character of Marnie and hoped that she would get what she wanted from life; I struggled to feel much for Ralph, who may have been deeply troubled, but also seemed incredibly selfish. I'm sure others would disagree with me but the impression I received was that he kept putting
Barbara Elsborg
Jul 27, 2012 Barbara Elsborg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I've read this before but it stood reading again. I really liked it but it made me cry several times. It's a story about death and life and everything in between. Called to the death bed of a man who was a childhood friend and a little more, Marnie goes to Scotland to be with Ralph, who's dying, and Oliver, his best friend who she once loved. Ralph loves Marnie and has done all his life and although Marnie loves him too, it's not in the same way that he loves her. Not spoiling anything b ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Nickey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An intensely emotional look at the intricacies of relationships and the tangle of lives, lies,truths and joys of youth. As marnie sits by her dying friends bed she finds her self looking back at the life she has lead and taking stock of all she has achieved and failed at. Her love for Ralph and Oliver Intensifies as the story unravels as does her relationships with other key characters. I went from pity to love to despising Ralph and his selfishness, it was as if I was Marnie. Such fabulous writ ...more
Ik heb dit boek als luisterboek in de auto gehad en het leek wel of er geen eind aan kwam. Het kan ook komen door degene (Johanna ter Steege) die het voorlas, namelijk op een vreselijk zoetsappige manier maar het had zeker de helft korter gekund, dat er dan wat meer vaart in had gezeten. Het kabbelt zo maar voort. Je gaat terug in de tijd met de personages, terug naar hun kindertijd en hun ontmoetingen en de keuzes die ze maken. Een boek over (verloren) liefdes, vriendschap, het leven en de dood ...more
Elizabeth Braun
Feb 25, 2011 Elizabeth Braun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The reader immediately begins to sympathize with Marnie. She is dyslecsic, a wall flower, and always seems to blend into the background. When she is called to the death bed of one of her oldest and dearest friends, Ralph, all over her childhood memories flood her consciousness. So at Ralph's bedside they relive the memories. Some where joyful, but more often than not they were trials.
An enjoyable book.
May 20, 2012 Saskia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ontzettend mooi, maar triest boek. Ik heb er toch even overgedaan eer ik het boek uit had, maar iedere dag ging ik steeds meer van het boek houden. Het is heel ontroerend geschreven, vooral wanneer Ralph verteld... Een thrillergehalte kan ik er niet in vinden, maar het is zeker een prachtige psychologische roman over liefde, jaloezie, verdriet, vertrouwen, herinneringen, vriendschap, leven en dood. Een bijzonder gevoelig boek wat me bij zal blijven...
Wat ik knap vond van de schrijfster is dat ze emoties en 'hoe dingen voelen' op een hele goede een herkenbare manier omschreef (ook karakterontwikkeling etc); wat ik minder vond is dat het boek nogal stroperig was (langzaam en een tikkeltje dramatisch). Daardoor had ik, als ik het boek tijdelijk had dichtgeslagen, niet echt de dringende behoefte om verder te lezen. Hoe dan ook: het laatste boek van dit jaar is uit! Een fijn 2015 iedereen!
I loved this book. I feel the same way about it that I do a favorite song - and that is that it moved me in such a way that I could not begin to put my feelings into words. It just would not do it justice. Read the summary if you want to know what it's about. You may not like it. All I know is that I am very glad I read it (well, listened to the audiobook, anyway)
Lucy McLaurin
May 24, 2014 Lucy McLaurin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Get the tissue box ready ... this was such an emotional and poignant story.

I absolutely loved this story and almost didn't want it to end as the end is inevitable and what the book is leading to, and the lead up got inside my heart and I just cried nearly all the way through. I believe this to be an excellent story as it totally involved me emotionally.
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Half of the writing team known as Nicci French . Nicci Gerrard & Sean French also write separately.

Gerard still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials.

Novels include Things We Knew Were True (2003), Solace (2005) and The Moment You Were Gone (2007), The Winter House (2009) and Missing Persons (2011).

More about Nicci Gerrard...

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