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The Dead Of Winter

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  683 ratings  ·  127 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,813)
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Melki
'It has escaped, you know,' he said matter-of-factly. 'It used to be simply noises. The noises were dreadful enough. But now sometimes I think I see it in the shadows.'

A young orphan finds his life forever changed when he is sent to spend Christmas at the haunted estate owned by a man whose life was saved by the boy's father.

There's an old-fashioned feel to this story and as such, it may seem rather tame for the horror genre, but there ARE some genuinely creepy moments. It's also a bit predicta
...more
Michael
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
Blair
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
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 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
Angie
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
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
TheBookSmugglers
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
Peter
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
Mary Orchard
This is a story about a little boy named Michael whose mother passes away and he is invited to live with a wealthy gentleman who was saved by the boy's father in circumstances that cost his father's life. Bitter and discouraged, Michael grudgingly moves to the old mansion where Sir Stephen lives. At his arrival, Michael observes paranormal activity happening, and few believe him. He becomes engaged in the history of the old mansion and discovers the secrets of the past. A ghost from its past hau ...more
Katrinka
Nov 16, 2014 Katrinka is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Katrinka Chavez -herring
11/16/14
periord 1




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 to s
...more
Bill
This is a nicely written story with paranormal aspects, but portrayed in such a way as to be almost believable, particularly as the narrative is described in the ‘first person’ of Michael Vyner, so it is easy to forget the author is Chris Priestley.

While I wouldn’t normally be interested in reading a book with ghostly aspects, I was captivated by the story, which flows well to an interesting finish, so I had to keep reading until the end.
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
Kat O'B
"It will take every ounce of willpower I possess to tell this tale. But tell it I must." So says Micheal, the narrator of this gothic tale of psychological horror. Death of his mom, sent off to a creepy, old mansion in the frigid marshes in the care of a guardian who is seemingly insane, footsteps in the hallway...screaming in the night... you get the picture. Nicely written; setting well-drawn. One of the reviews I read before actually reading the book calls this short novel a, "nod to Poe's Fa ...more
Sara
Bookmarked Book. The kids were so-so about it. Some straight up didn't like it, others said it was okay, a couple said they really liked it. I did not. I really don't have any great criticisms - it's not like the writing was horrendous or the premise utterly ridiculous - I just didn't like it. It was a quick and easy read, and there were a few parts that creeped me out, but...no. For all that I love YA, this just felt too juvenile. Discussion in Bookmarked was fun as everyone told their own ghos ...more
Hannah
11/14/2014
I'm currently on page 38 and this book is amazing!! I begins a Michael writes down everything, calling up his past. The real story begins in a graveyard. His father had died in war, protecting a man. His mother had died from illness and he is expected to stay with a strange man that he has never met before. He has to stay with the man that his father had protected with his own life. On the ride, in a carriage, late fall/near winter, Michael claims to have seen a girl in the snow. Him,
...more
Lisa Martin
Brilliant. A good old fashioned ghost story. It absolutely scared the living daylights out of me.
Amanda
Boken hade egentligen alla ingredienser som en läskig spökhistoria ska innehålla: ett hemsökt hem, någon med psykisk sjukdom, mörka korridorer, tinnar & torn, samt ett tragiskt förflutet. Blanda i det in en liten föräldralös pojke som ska fira sin första jul sedan hans föräldrar gick bort i det hemsökta slottet och du får en fantastisk grund för en skrämmande historia. Det är bara det att jag inte rycks med. Jag fastnar aldrig, kommer på mig själv med att kolla Instagram eller fastna för TV4 ...more
Minna
I'd say this is a middle grade book, although our library's copy was in young adult, and certainly due to the scare factor/death count I suppose it could go either way. I'd say it's at least a MATURE middle grade book, if that makes any sense.

I wasn't expecting this to be particularly scary, considering the reading level and length (it's pretty short), despite the ominous cover. I was surprised by just how spooked I got reading it late at night. It's exactly the sort of horror that does me in (f
...more
Melani Hour
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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
Jodie
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
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do you have suggestions for "contemporary" GOTHIC ghosts stories? 1 6 Jul 07, 2012 01:49PM  
  • The Haunting of Tabitha Grey
  • Saving Daisy
  • Tyme's End
  • Angel Dust
  • Name and Number
  • Kill All Enemies
  • The Hunting Ground
  • Horowitz Horror: Stories You'll Wish You Never Read
  • Wolf Blood
  • Arsenic for Tea (Wells and Wong, #2)
  • The Thornthwaite Inheritance
  • The Sleepwalkers
  • Scarlett Dedd
  • White Crow
  • Jasmine Skies
  • David
  • The Long Weekend
  • Stones for My Father
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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 Christmas Tales of Terror (Tales of Terror)

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