The Dead Of Winter
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The Dead Of Winter

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  565 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will . . . Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests s...more
Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published January 12th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published October 1st 2010)
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Review from Badelynge.
Imagine if Le Fanu had tried to write for a YA market and he might have produced something like The Dead of Winter. I'm sure Chris Priestley would cite him as one of his primary influences, along with others like Elizabeth Gaskell. Her 'The Old Nurse's Story' springs to mind quite strongly. The book, more a novella, is artfully written, perfectly invoking the Victorian setting that uses as much Gothic imagery and motifs as it can possibly pack into the page count. Michael V...more
Thanks to Amazon failing to present things clearly enough (grrr), I had no idea this was supposed to be a book for kids until I'd spotted it in my recommendations, added it to my wishlist and duly purchased it when it was reduced to 99p in the Kindle sale. Still, it sounded like a decent little ghost story and the opening chapter seemed fairly well-written (and not especially childish), so why not?

Suffice to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by this little book! The narrator, Michael Vyner, b...more
Daisy Chain Books
The Dead of Winter is the type of old school gothic horror that I just love. I should point out that as a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe I like my horror to be chilling, suspenseful and just a little twisted, rather than gratuitously violent or gory. This one, reminiscent of Poe's work in it's themes, ticked all the right boxes for me. It’s the perfect spooky read just in time for Halloween. Priestly presents us with a host of characters who are slightly unhinged and untrustworthy and a creepy house...more
The Dead of Winter is horrorlicious. It's a scary book that actually scared me. Priestley does a great job of giving his novel a classic Gothic feel. A few times I had to remind myself that this book wasn't written in the 19th century. The prose is classic and well-written. I loved it.

The horror:

The Dead of Winter is full of frightening scenes and these moments wouldn't have worked without Priestley's truly creepy descriptions. The book played out as a movie in my head and left me terrified. I c...more
Ms. Yingling
Priestly, Chris. The Dead of Winter.
In Victorian London, Michael's mother dies, leaving him an orphan, since his father was killed in a war. Luckily, he died saving Sir Stephen Clarendon, and this gentleman is now going to take Michael in. Michael ventures out to the windswept moors where Sir Stephen lives with his sister Charlotte and a variety of caretakers, and will stay until it is time for him to go to boarding school. All is not well at Hawton Mere-- Sir Stephen is haggard and haunted, and...more
Martin Belcher
I didn't realise before starting The Dead of Winter that this book is Young Adult title so it was a tiny bit simplistic in places and a bit of a guilty read but that aside, I did enjoy it as an easy read classic ghost story with a twist at the end.

The story concerns a young boy, called Michael who already has lost his father and now looses his Mother, his only family he is on his own and at the mercy of family friends The Bentleys. He is approached by Mr Jerwood a lawyer acting on Behalf of Sir...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
I could not help but think of The Woman in Black the whole time reading this and finding comparisons. Mostly because The Woman in Black recently came out on film and because there are a lot of similarities. But this book was written for a younger crowed, more 12-15 years of age.

Characters: I liked all of the characters in this novel. I thought that Michael was very brave and that the lawyer was above and beyond nice by taking him into his home. Michael is not afraid to ask questions and as most...more
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Young Michael Vyner has had a rough lot in life - his father died heroically in the first world war saving the life of a fellow soldier, leaving Michael and his mother pressed to make ends meet. After his mother dies of illness, Michael is orphaned and left adrift in the world when he learns that Sir Stephen Clarendon - the same soldier his father died rescuing in the war - has become Michael's legal guardian. Whisked away from his home, Michael is sent t...more
Amy Lignor
Angels and statues that have been colored green by time surround Michael when the reader is introduced to this young man who has lost his mother. Standing at the funeral, Michael has no idea what he’s going to do next. What he doesn’t expect is a man to come out of the mist to let Michael know that he has now become the ward of a stranger by the name of Sir Stephen Clarendon.

Sir Stephen has been sending money ever since Michael’s father sacrificed himself so that Stephen could live and Michael...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
From the minute I started reading this book I was sucked into the wintry Victorian landscape of the bogland around Hawton Mere by Priestley's writing style, which reminded me of Jane Austen or one of the early gothic romances. Michael's mother has died, leaving him an orphan, so he must spend Christmas with the man, Sir Stephen, whom his father died trying to save in battle. Michael, who has a presentiment right from the beginning that something is amiss, sees a woman in white crying for help, b...more
Michael has lost both of his parents. His father died in the war saving the life of Sir Stephen Clarendon. Michael is approached by Mr. Jerwood, a lawyer acting on behalf of Sir Stephen. Sir Stephen is now Michael guardian. Sir Stephen invites Michael to Hawton Mere for Christmas. Sir Stephen and his sister Charlotte live in this big manor. Michael makes the journey with Mr. Jerwood. He and Michael would become good friends. Once Michael arrives a Hawton Mere, strange things begin to happen. Mic...more
Richard Farley
The book's story is set within Victorian times. The main character Michael sadly is coping with the death of his Mother and is taken under the guardianship of his dead Fathers friend. The story develops around the mansion to which he is sent and the mysterious events and history of it, with a great twist at the end. I read this book after another in the series, aftering enjoying the authors style of writing. I was not dissapointed and enjoyed this great Ghost story. I look forward to the next bo...more
Anthony Burt
This was an enjoyable, freaky little book written in the old Gothic Victorian style. Very much like the Lady in Black, it has a small and spooky story at its heart: the death of Lady Clarendon at a haunted house in the middle of nowhere on marshlands.

The narrator is an incredibly observant and perceptive young boy (possibly too much so as his over-use of explanatory language can get a bit much at times) who has recently lost his mother and heads off to stay with his very disturbed uncle, Sir Ste...more
Following the death of his parents, Michael Vyner is surprised to hear that his new guardian is Sir Stephen Clarendon of Hawton Mere. All Michael knows of this mysterious man is that his own father sacrificed his life for him in battle. When Michael meets Sir Stephen, it is clear that he is grief stricken and traumatised by past events. He spends most of his time hidden away in the tower room, leaving Michael to wander the lonely corridors of Hawton Mere. But Michael is not alone. Someone or som...more
Lisa Martin
Brilliant. A good old fashioned ghost story. It absolutely scared the living daylights out of me.
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Michael’s unnecessary overdramatic speech patterns detailing the events after his mother’s death grew tiresome to read, but I was surprised by the twist ending.

Opening Sentence: My name is Michael: Michael Vyner. I’m going to tell you something of my life and of the strange events that have brought me to where I now sit, pen in hand, my heartbeat hastening at their recollection.

The Review:

Recently orphaned, Michael Vyner is alone in the worl...more
Sue Moro
A middle grade gothic tale of a recently orphaned boy named Michael. He's been appointed a new guardian, Sir Stephen, a man whose life his father saved in the war, at the cost of his own. Michael resents the fact that this man lived while his father didn't, and though he wants nothing to do with the man, he has little choice and no other relatives to rely on.

Sir Stephen invites Michael to his remote country estate to spend the Christmas holidays. Once there Michael soon discovers that his new gu...more
The Dead of Winter is quite the chilling tale! I do feel as though it would be better geared for younger readers since the main character is so young, but all the same, seriously creeped me out as I stayed up reading this one late into the night. Priestley definitely knows how to put a scare into you!

Michael is now sadly left with no family due to the recent events of his parents death. Luckily, his father had connections and a wealthy friend has decided to become his guardian and take him in....more
Kirsty (overflowing library)
This book was lovely quick read and brilliantly unique. Set in the victorian era this book followed the story of a recently orphaned young boy who suddenly found that he had been made the ward of an aristocratic man who lived in a creepy house in East Anglia where he has been summoned to spend Christmas with.

The best thing about this book was that it was incredibly uninque in its premise and I don't think I've read anything quite like it. I enjoyed the setting of the Victorian era and loved how...more
Small Review
Originally posted at Small Review blog.

3.5 stars Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key

Looking for a good Gothic tale?

Look no further. From the spooky old house, mad residents, and ghostly occurrences, The Dead of Winter is classic Gothic horror. It's even set up in that typically Gothic "Let me tell you a tale" narration style I love so much.

The Dead of Winter is so classic Gothic, in fact, that it almost felt like Chris Priestley wrote the whole thing with a "Features of Gothic Fiction...more
Cover Blurb: It’s properly creepy, with the skull buried in the snow and the bold title font.

What I Liked: I have nothing negative to say about this story. It scared me, I love the writing style, and the characters, and the time period, and how isolated it feels. It reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. I kept picturing Michael’s guardian, Sir Stephen, looking like Vincent Price.

What I Disliked: Nothing.

Believability: Not really applicable. The time period is ideal, an...more
Hazel West
Thoughts on the Overall Book: It's been a long time since I've read a story that actually creeped me out, so I was really excited that this one actually did so. Apart from that, the setting, characters, and story came together and made this the perfect kind of ghost story, especially to read on a rainy day.

Cover--Yea or Nay: Yes, it's creepy and cold looking, and while the skull never actually factors into the story itself, it gives a feel that this is a ghost story or some sort of scary story,...more
Amber (Books of Amber)
The beginning of the novel throws the reader straight into the story, with Michael’s mother dead and Michael being forced to move in with Sir Stephen – someone Michael’s dad once saved from death - at Hawton Mere. We see Michael move in to the mansion, and then the creepy stuff starts to kick off.

Chris Priestly’s descriptions of the scary goings on in the mansion really creeped me out – especially the parts that were talking about the priest hole! It was so easy to imagine being locked into tha...more
Once again, not sure how I got here. The only reason I even read this book was because it was short enough for me to kill in a few hours. And kill a few hours it did. I didn't really relate to the main character what so ever--mainly because we are told next to nothing about him. I wasn't even really sure what time period this story was happening in and I couldn't get over that. I had quite a few hang-ups with this book that stopped me from really caring about the story.

I guess it was scary--ther...more
On the day of his mother’s funeral, Michael’s family lawyer offers him a new life to live under the guardianship of the man his father defended in the war. Sir Stephen is a wealthy man and eager to take in Michael as a ward, and Michael, with nothing to his name, cannot refuse. But the journey to Hawton Mere proves to only be a precursor for what’s to come at the manor. He spots a woman in the mist, terrified, wet, and screaming — but no one else can see her. As he steps foot in the manor, stran...more
Victorian horror and mystery comes to the fore in this tale that seems to blend Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens. Michael Vyner is sharing his own personal tale about a time when ti seemd lieke everything in his world had fallen apart. His mother has just passed away, and he would seem to have no one. At least, that would seem to be the case until a lawyer by the name of Mr. Jeerwood comes along with news. It would seem that young Michael has a very wealthy person who would...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
When I was younger, I used to read lots of horror novels. The first time I raided my parents' bookshelves, I took Stephen King's Firestarter (which I enjoyed) and a German copy of Pet Sematary (that didn't work out so well – my German vocab just wasn't up to the task). I'm much more of a wimp now and rarely read horror, but I couldn't resist the bit on the back of this book that said fans of Neil Gaiman would enjoy it.

This is one of those books that I enjoyed more as I was reading it and in the...more
Pixie/PageTurners(Amber) C.
Ohh this book gave me goosebumps. I had to stop reading it at night.

One thing’s for sure Chris Priestley knows how to scare the bejesus out of you. I love horror books. I have been reading them since I was a teen and I cannot remember a book freaking me out the way The Dead of Winter did. I am not sure what it was about Chris's writing but I had to stop reading at night because it was giving me nightmares.

Michael has lost both parents at a young age - his father saved the life of another man who...more
Being a huge fan of Chris Priestley thanks to his former children's books, the trilogy Tales of Terror, I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Dead of Winter for a long time. I'm not the target audience (it's a kid's book), but both my university lecturers and the staff at my old local book store had recommended Priestley's Tales series to me and they were so good and addictive that I kept going back for more. Sadly, Winter didn't quite live up to its predecessors, but there's no denying...more
I was so super excited to read this one. I am a sucker for a classic, creepy ghost story that takes place in a desolate house. Sadly, this book didn’t really work for me on a couple of levels.

First of all, it moved reeeally slowly. Normally that’s not a make-or-break issue for me but in this case things just moved a little too slow. There wasn’t a lot of action and a few times I found myself having to re-read pages because my mind had wandered. That’s unusual for me. When I read a book I’m usual...more
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do you have suggestions for "contemporary" GOTHIC ghosts stories? 1 6 Jul 07, 2012 01:49PM  
  • Tyme's End
  • Being Billy
  • The Haunting of Tabitha Grey
  • The Hunting Ground
  • This is Not Forgiveness
  • All Fall Down
  • Kill All Enemies
  • Jasmine Skies
  • The Poisoned House
  • Mortlock
  • Fifteen Days Without a Head
  • Almost True (When I Was Joe, #2)
  • Scarlett Dedd
  • Hunted (The Shadowing, #1)
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • Name and Number
  • My So-Called Phantom Lovelife (Afterlife, #3)
  • David
His father was in the army and so he moved around a lot as a child and lived in Wales. He was an avid reader of American comics as a child, and when he was eight or nine, and living in Gibraltar, he won a prize in a newspaper story-writing competition. He decided then “that my ambition was to write and illustrate my own book”.
He spent his teens in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, before moving to Manchester,...more
More about Chris Priestley...
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror (Tales of Terror, #1) Tales of Terror from the Black Ship (Tales of Terror, #2) Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth (Tales of Terror, #3) Mister Creecher Death and the Arrow: A Gripping Tale of Murder and Revenge (Tom Marlowe Adventures, #1)

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