Cole Riann's Reviews > The Winter Garden

The Winter Garden by Hayden Thorne
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Mar 24, 12

bookshelves: m-m, brief-encounters-reviews, m-m-short, m-m-ya-or-coming-of-age-tale, m-m-historical
Read on March 20, 2012

4.5 stars

Review posted at Brief Encounters Reviews.



I will say this up front. While this story was sweet and constantly made me smile, it also made me cry. I leave it up to you! I do recommend this one though. LIke always, Hayden Thorne knows how to tell a story.

Nicholas is sick. It is 1822 and he’s confined to his parent’s garden as he always has been. It is a refuge and a prison. His wasting illness has kept him sheltered, yet also innocent and pure. He’s stifled. He can’t live the life he wants. He’s confined to the garden with no hope that he’ll ever leave it.

One day another boy comes by the garden and starts to talk to him through the iron bars. Adrian says to him:

“Are you a prisoner?”

“Well, no. I live here.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I haven’t done anything wrong.”


Smelling of wine and never asking permission, Adrian sweeps into Nicholas’ life and becomes his lifeline. Through their daily meetings in the garden they grow quite close. They’re almost complete opposites. Where Nicholas feels trapped and restless while simultaneously weak and fragile, Adrian seems to dazzle Nicholas with his experience and knowledge. They liken themselves to a tree and the wind.

What is so wonderful about this story are the characters. Hayden Thorne knows how to write young characters and this is especially shown in this story. While their disparate qualities seem to feed a need in the other, they’re often quite alike, though they don’t recognize it. Through the idealism and romanticism of youth, they both seem to ache for some things they other has. They envy one another.

The story is told by Nicholas, but even though I ached at times for his character, Adrian’s came through to me just as well. I think that style of writing, heavy on narration and voice, works well for Hayden, and also well for the character in this story. The first person past tense works well to bring forward that romanticism in the prose, which is what drew me in — and ultimately broke my heart just a little bit.

I really don’t want to discourage readers, because I know a lot of you don’t like “bittersweet” stories. I wouldn’t classify this story as such, because I think the sweet so outweighs the bitter. Yet, I will warn you that there is some. I think it worked very well for the story, yet it is the way in which Hayden wrote the transition between the two (which I won’t go into further) that so affected me. It might not be that way for other readers. I suppose that is what I love about her writing — I’ve yet to read one of her books or stories where I didn’t sink so far into the characters voice.

So, it is short and well worth reading. I’ve yet to be let down by this author and I have a feeling that I will always enjoy her stories. Definitely Recommended!
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Mandy*reads obsessively* Cole, I bought this one before I saw your review, spoil me please is the end sad :( ? Thanks


Cole Riann Hmm, it is (view spoiler)

Hope that helps!


Mandy*reads obsessively* Thanks Cole, since I have it I will, but I was reluctant to read it if it had a sad ending! :)


Cole Riann Hey, at least you know! I went in blind :) But I was happy that I read it and I'm not a big Bittersweet fan either, so I'd say you're probably safe, though there still is some sadness. But yeah, I think you should read it.

I hope you enjoy it!


Mandy*reads obsessively* Thanks Cole!
The blurb just sounded so intriguing, I couldn't resist!
And you are right, i'll have the tissues at the ready! ;)


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