Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dead of Winter” as Want to Read:
The Dead of Winter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dead of Winter

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,099 ratings  ·  199 reviews
An orphaned boy, a desolate house, and a poltergeist with a terrible itch for revenge…

After Michael's parents die, he is invited to stay with his guardian in a desolate country house. He begins to suspect something is not quite right on the day he arrives when he spots a mysterious woman out in the frozen mists. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itse
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published October 1st 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dead of Winter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dead of Winter

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,099 ratings  ·  199 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Dead of Winter
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'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
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
Book-Bosomed  blog
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
*No outright spoilers but my critique may hint at them through discussion of the novel's flaws.

Michael Vyner is orphaned, lost, and distraught as he’s nudged from his mother’s grave to the guardianship of his benefactor. An isolated and foreboding estate awaits him along with its secrets, horrors, and mysteries.

From the start, the first person narration echoes elements of gothic fiction while evoking nods to Victorian works such as Dicken’s and later horror techniques of Stephen King (think Gre
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
Fiona MacDonald
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never read a Chris Priestley story (I a now a bit wary of horror stories intended for children) - but when I found out that he lived in Cambridge (and this novel is set in Ely!) I couldn't pass it up.
Michael recalls a sad time when both his parents died, and because of this he believes that he is to stay with his parent's lawyer, the executor of their will. However, soon it becomes clear that he will in fact be staying with his guardian over Christmas in his old, terrifying mansion. On hi
Leanna (daisychainbooks)
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
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
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
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
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Farley
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 world
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short and fast-paced ghost story. It was engaging and kept me wondering till the end. It was a nice short book to read between longer reads.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciate the connection with Uncle Montague; however, this book was not as strong as that one.
Emily Wrayburn
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

I probably would have found this spookier if I was the right age for it... but as it was, it felt like a check-box of haunted house tropes, with only a mild creepiness.
Sandra Turton
Jun 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*1.5* stars
Vedant Mange
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Dead of Winter is a story that follows the progression of the orphan Michael Vyner whose mother has recently passed away due to an unfortunate accident. His father died saving the life of a soldier in the war who he was very close to (Sir Stephen Clarendon). It is mostly set in the English countryside in a mansion called Hawton Mere which is owned by the rich founder his father saved in the war. As introduced to us at the beginning of the book at his mother’s funeral, Micheal demonstrates ma ...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
Amy Lignor
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
If spending a lifetime watching horror movies has taught me anything, it's that no horror movie can be made without using the worst possible cliches. Just realized that this is true for some books too. And lemme tell you why:

Let's Investigate!

It's 2:00 A.M. and suddenly there's some creepy noise. So instead of hiding himself under a blanket (like any sane person would), the main character trudges out to investigate. Who cares if there's a maniacal ghost out there?

Creepy Mansion

Of cou
Ms. Yingling
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book to me as I read it reminds me of those winters ghost stories made so famous by M R James and the like, now that is not a bad thing but having read so many of them I feel that this is more of a homage than a true winters ghost story. I find it ironic then that the author makes reference to such works in the articles surrounding this book.
The build up to the unveiling of the crimes though suitably dramatic I felt a little rushed the conclusion to it all and the ultimate downfall of the v
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a chilling story about ghosts and murder in a creepy house. I am not lying when I say I felt the same fear that Micheal felt during this book. Dead of winter by Chris Priestley is my top favorite horror/murder mystery book and I do recommend reading this story. The characters in this book seem very real and almost like real people. In summary, ghosts, murder, intrigue, fear, grief (Drop the mic)
Lisa Martin
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. A good old fashioned ghost story. It absolutely scared the living daylights out of me.
Today We Did
Today We Did
When Michael’s mother dies, his future is placed into the hands of a distant and unknown guardian, Sir Stephen. Along with his sister, Sir Stephen lives in a large house, Hawton Mere, stood by itself in the middle of some marshes, far from everything and everyone. Michael is invited to stay with them over the Christmas period, which he is very reluctant to do. Upon his arrival it is immediately apparent that there is something not quite right in the house, and that Sir Stephen is als
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of the Tales of Terror series by Christ Priestley, so there was not a hair on my head that expected anything less than a book worthy of a 5-star rating. And I was not disappointed.

Thi book follows a young teen Michael whose parents have died and who is shipped off to the manor house of a wealthy man who in the past has been saved by his father and who in return has taken Michael as his Ward. But as the Tales of Terror there are some supernatural ghostly creatures tied to the manor
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Dead of Winter - Mustafa F. 1 1 May 25, 2016 03:02PM  
do you have suggestions for "contemporary" GOTHIC ghosts stories? 1 6 Jul 07, 2012 01:49PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • 14/7. El descubrimiento (14/7, #1)
  • La lluvia sabe por qué
  • Foto Estudio Corazón
  • The Collector
  • Los ojos del perro siberiano
  • Llévame a cualquier lugar
  • Voces bajo la lluvia
  • Lunela
  • Querida Alejandría
  • Conceal, Don't Feel
  • The Hostage (Jon Roscoe Thriller, #1)
  • El Secreto de La Casa Gris
  • Simple
  • Highfire
  • Monster High (Monster High, #1)
  • El regreso de Anna Crowell
See similar books…
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,

Related Articles

Myths and mayhem, the fantastical and the scientifically plausible, these are readers’ most popular sci-fi and fantasy novels published in the ...
140 likes · 28 comments