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A Winter Night

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34-year-old Angie Dugan struggles with many things--anxiety, her career as a social worker in a retirement home, and her difficult family. Her biggest struggle, though, is finding love. When she meets Matt, she's swept away by his attention. As issues from his past come up she wonders if she can trust him. Should she break it off, or give him another chance? In the end, all she can do is listen to her heart, and evaluate what she wants most.


First published March 16, 2021

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About the author

Anne Leigh Parrish

17 books287 followers
Award-winning writer Anne Leigh Parrish's next novel, an open door, arrives in October 2022 from Unsolicited Press. Recent titles are a winter night, a novel, March 2021 and the moon won’t be dared, a poetry collection, October 2021. She is the author of seven other books, most notably maggie’s ruse and the amendment. Her short fiction has recently appeared in New Pop Lit, The Slag Review, and O:JA&L. Recent poems have appeared in Mocking Heart Review, Crow Literary Review, S/tick, Wilde Boy, Feminine Collective, 34thParallel Magazine, and Q/A Poetry. She has recently ventured into the art of photography. She lives among the evergreen trees in the South Sound region of Washington State. Find her online at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.

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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Debra .
2,124 reviews34.9k followers
February 8, 2021
Thirty-four-year-old, Angie Dugan works as a social worker in a retirement home. She helps others all day but what she really needs/wants is to be cared for herself. She struggles with anxiety and self-doubt. Angie is also struggling to find love. She meets Matt. Is he the one? Will issues from his past affect their present? Do they have a future? Trust is an issue. She is a social worker, she knows about trust issues, but how will she address them for herself? Is she ready to take a step? Will she listen to her heart?

This book is a journey of sorts as Angie makes decisions and goes through her days. This is a quiet type of book. It moves along as a slower pace but does not feel slow. I feel this book’s pacing matches Angie as she deals with her issues, working on trust, moving forward, forgiving and being in a relationship. She has an inner dialogue which I thought was a useful tool to helping readers know what is in Angie's head. As Angie works on self-acceptance, will her confidence grow? Will she find love?

The writing style took some time for me to get into. Once I found my footing, I got into the flow of the book. If you have read Anne Leigh Parrish other books you might recognize Angie's last name. The Dugan family have been featured in her previous books.

If you want to take a break and try something new, this book might be for you.

Thank you to Unsolicited Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,109 reviews183 followers
June 14, 2021
A WINTER NIGHT is my first book by Anne Leigh Parrish but after reading A WINTER NIGHT, I plan to order some of her previous books. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was afraid that it was going to be a dark depressing book — it was absolutely the opposite. I don’t really want to give anything away so I won’t say anything else about the plot, but this was such a wonderful book, and I really loved the whole story. The chapters were really short as well which is something I l really like. I also thought the characters were developed enough that I felt like I knew them for a long time.

A WINTER NIGHT tells the story of how Angie and Matt meet. Angie is really struggling with self doubt and anxiety. She really likes Matt but is unsure if she can trust him! This is the part of A WINTER NIGHT where you will need to go and get your box of tissues and keep them right next to you. You are going to need them. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I read this wonderful story in three sittings! Anne Leigh Parrish pulled me right in from the very first page and never let me go. She does such a great job of describing the scenery and the way the characters are feeling that it was almost as if I were right there with them. I love when an author can put me in their story.

I usually am reading many books at one time but once I started A WINTER NIGHT all other books were put aside. I found myself cheering for Angie at the same time as I was really sad for the struggles she was going through. I finished reading the very last page with a huge lump in my throat and a big smile on my face! I can not wait to read more by Ms. Parrish. Once I started reading this very emotional love story, I could not put it down. Be prepared to ignore everything else until you are done. All I wanted to do when I finished reading was to reach out and give Angie a big hug.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from TLC. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
1,945 reviews299 followers
June 13, 2021
A Winter Night by Anne Leigh Parrish is a novel about Angie Dugan, a social worker working with the elderly in a senior living facility. The novel explores her thoughts, her current situation, anxieties and trust issues. She is embarking on a romantic relationships and learning to trust and discover herself within this rlationship.

Though we are in the midst of summer reading, this book reminded me of how I long for the cool winter nights and activities related to the winter season. The winter season in itself is like a character in this novel, as well as, creating this atmospheric read - one that brings the sense of coolness/chill rather than the warmth of sunshine.

A fantastic character driven story.
Profile Image for Mom_Loves_Reading.
366 reviews84 followers
June 16, 2021
I'm so glad I joined this book tour! What a refreshing & palette cleansing read for someone that gets way too wrapped up in the dark world of thrillers quite often! (...which I'm not mad about, but I totally dig a change of bookish scenery from time to time.) The main character of Angie Dugan is written in a way that is easily relatable, with the right amount of layers & depth, which makes 'A Winter Night' even more enjoyable to read.

'A Winter Night' is a story of personal growth, learning to love & trust again, dealing w/ loved ones addictions, & so much more. The Dugan family first appeared in Parrish's previous novel, 'Our Love Could Light the World' & in this new release, Angie Dugan gets center stage. 'A Winter Night' is poignant, character driven, engaging, wise & witty. I look forward to reading more from Anne Leigh Parrish in the future & plan to check out some of her backlist soon!
(*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. More info about it on my blog momlovesreading(dot-com) & instagram (@mom_loves_reading)
659 reviews3 followers
September 17, 2021
A really lovely and beautifully written book - the language is to be savored. There is an understated gentleness, too, which is countered by flashes of wonderfully funny observations. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Janilyn Kocher.
3,079 reviews59 followers
January 23, 2021
Do you really ever know a person? Angie is juggling many things and her anxiety is very high. Then she meets Matt, but can she trust him? The main issue in this book is how does Angie best cope with all that life has thrown at her. Trusting someone new is a big step. I thought the dialogue was good. The subject matter of the book is very relatable to issue people contend with in their lives. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the early read.
Profile Image for Diane.
734 reviews97 followers
June 17, 2021
I was first introduced to the Dugan family in Anne Leigh Parrish's book of linked short stories, Our Love Could Light the World. The Dugan family story continued in the novel The Amendment. I loved both books, and so I really looked forward to a third meeting with the Dugans in A Winter Night.

A Winter Night focuses on 34 year-old Angie Dugan, who works as a social worker at a retirement/nursing home. Angie helps families and residents adjust to a new life. She's good at her job, even if it is not exactly what she wants to be doing with her life.

Angie is dating Matt, a younger bartender who is a real people person, a useful trait for his profession. Their relationship is fairly new, and Matt is a friend of one of Angie's younger brothers, which means they spend a lot of time with her brother and his girlfriend.

Trust is an issue for Angie in relationships. She's only had three serious relationships, and each ended on not great terms. Angie's mom Lavinia left the family for a time when the children were young, and then divorced her alcoholic husband Potter and married a wealthier man who later died after being struck by lightning on the golf course. Angie has always helped pick up the pieces of her father's life, even after he married a successful realtor.

Parrish's beautiful writing gives us such insight into Angie, as seen in this passage about Matt's apartment building:
"It reeks of the temporary, the rootless, somewhere people stay on their way to somewhere either better or worse. She's only channeling her own experience, though, of moving so often when she was growing up. Her family never seemed to stay anywhere longer than a year."
Angie "was told her honesty was a weapon, a means to hand out judgment that was seldom unbiased. Her mother said she liked to beat people up with her words." She sees a therapist to try and have a better understanding of herself.

When Potter relapses and starts drinking again, Angie does not want to be pulled back into the caretaker role she undertook when she was younger. Although Potter promises to stop drinking, as Lavinia says, his "promises are never false. They're just seldom kept."

Reading A Winter Night felt like going back to your hometown and catching up with an old friend. The Dugans live near the Finger Lakes region where I grew up, and that connection drew me in once again. Like Angie, I also grew up as the oldest of five children, and the Christmas dinner scene with all the siblings with all the family dynamics that entails is so relatable.

I highly recommend A Winter Night. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but do yourself a favor and read the two earlier books to get a deeper appreciation of the arc of the Dugan family story. I hope we get to read more about the rest of the Dugans in further stories, as Angie's story reminded me how much I missed them.

Profile Image for Chrissi Sepe.
Author 4 books24 followers
June 3, 2021
This is the third book I’ve read about the Dugan family - Anne Leigh Parrish’s wonderful creation of a mom, dad, stepdad and five grown children - and I found it as enjoyable and thought-provoking as the first two. “A Winter Night” focuses on Angie who is the eldest of her siblings, and she is the most mature and the most cautious. To me, she always seemed to be the most responsible Dugan family member, even more so than her mom, Lavinia, who another Dugan family novel, “The Amendment,” is about. This trait of hers rings true throughout “A Winter Night.” The novel explores her inner thoughts while she begins a new romance with Matt who works in a bar. Angie works in a nursing home because “the elderly are a great resource.” As Angie gets to know Matt, she struggles to trust him. She recounts the last few relationships she was in, and they all ended badly or hardly even began. She cares about Matt a lot and wants desperately for this new romance to work out, but we learn that “her instinct again is to hold back. Otherwise, she’ll be lost. She keeps this to herself.”

“A Winter Night” keeps us guessing with Angie. As she discovers more about Matt – facts about his own family and about the things that make him tick - we discover these things too. So many books about blossoming romances have a heroine who is cautious, yet we sense her “hero” is going to be her knight in shining armor, and we anxiously await our heroine to realize what we’ve understood all along. “A Winter Night” doesn’t run this predictable pattern where we can foresee the ending. Instead, it is refreshingly unique. In “A Winter Night,” we have no idea whether Angie should trust Matt or not. It is this anticipation of finding out along with Angie whether or not Matt is really the good, trustworthy guy he claims to be that keeps us eagerly turning the pages.

I also loved the running theme of winter in this novel. There are beautiful descriptions of winter’s imagery, and we read about Angie and Matt participating in winter activities such as skiing and Christmas shopping. Angie drives in the snow and struggles to keep warm, and she bakes bread and makes chocolate chip cookies. She also philosophizes about winter: “Everything feels harder this time of year. So many obstacles. So many things to watch out for. And every year, about now, summer feels like a dream, something that can’t possibly return.” But we know summer always does return. “A Winter Night” is filled with musings about winter and that is just one layer of this very intriguing and captivating read.
Profile Image for Robert Crooke.
Author 5 books4 followers
March 29, 2021
Small Benedictions

The novels and stories of Anne Leigh Parrish often follow the fortunes of the Dugans, an extended, multi-generational family from Dunston NY, a fictionalized version of Ithaca. Her work is comically irreverent and heartbreakingly honest. Nearly always, her stories turn on the dramatic resolution of someone’s longing for the truth of love.

In A Winter Night—the latest installment of her family series—it is cold enough to see breath. Snow keeps falling. Christmas is coming. Her characters pursue their careers, maintain their love affairs and friendships, and fret over their parents, siblings, spouses, lovers, and exes. They worry about whether their pasts foretell their futures.

Angie Dugan, the oldest family sibling whom we’ve encountered as a supporting player in other Parrish books, is a thirtysomething social worker on staff at Lindell Nursing Home. As the story begins, we find her reassuring a skeptical man that his elderly mother will be safe and comfortable—and he satisfied—with Lindell’s level of care, notwithstanding her dementia and his concerns about the costs. It is an extended opening sequence, colored by tart social commentary and subtle observations of human nature, which perfectly frames the Parrish sensibility and her diligent, self-effacing heroine.

We later learn that the residents Angie cares for have been encouraged to divert themselves and their quiet, winter days by participating in an oral history project sponsored by the big university across town. The old folks talk of lives now so advanced as to exist almost entirely in retrospect. They seem readily to mix approximate fact and wishful fantasy in relating their stories. And they appear to embrace these final, official versions of themselves in acceptance of a great puzzlement.

A similar metaphysical perspective arises in Angie’s encounters with her therapist, Nancy, with her uncertain lover, Matt, with her divorced but still connected parents, Potter and Lavinia, and with the various siblings and friends in her circle. Unlike her nursing home clients, however, Angie remains puzzled by questions.

Can anyone really be understood—or trusted? Is love possible? Is it too late for me now? Am I too old and too disappointed by what has happened before? Is anyone truly satisfied with their choices? Are life choices even meant to produce contentment, or are they simply the way we acknowledge our universal fate?

The appeal of A Winter Night will rest, ultimately, on a reader’s reaction to the way Angie’s relationship with Matt is resolved. I will only say that Parrish is a sophisticated writer whose fiction is always subtle when it means the most. This beautiful novel concludes with a realization that feels like a blessing, a small benediction that echoes the wise acceptance of Lindell’s elderly residents.

Human existence, in an Anne Leigh Parrish story, turns out to be a balance of disappointment and hope in equal measure. Human nature is inevitable, like the Dunston snow. There is never a moment in which a reader is unconvinced of the truth and reality of her characters’ experiences, nor a moment’s doubt of her compassion for them. A stunning turn of phrase, humanistic insight, or mordant observation is never far away. These are the small benedictions of Anne Leigh Parrish’s fiction.
Profile Image for Terri.
289 reviews2 followers
March 15, 2021
A Winter Night is the kind of book that sneaks up on you. Anne Leigh Parrish is also a poet, and now and then her descriptions and turns of phrase struck me. For example: “The sharp smell of silver on the air says it will snow tonight.” “She’s built like a soup can.” “She needed so much personal space that Matt felt he was only ever visiting.”
Profile Image for Sue .
1,585 reviews95 followers
June 20, 2021
A Winter's Night is a quiet book about trust and love and family. It is beautifully written and easy to get invested in the main character's life - both the highs and the lows. It's almost like getting in touch with a friend that you haven't seen in a long time and catching up on their life.

Angie Dugan is 34 years old and works as a social worker at a retirement home. She enjoys her job and is very good at it but isn't sure if she wants to keep doing it in the future. She has a difficult family and a poor self-opinion. She has just met a new man that she thinks she may have a future with but she questions herself and her feelings during every step of their new relationship. Because of past hurts she is afraid to trust him and is afraid to listen to what her heart is telling her. Along with her work at the retirement home, she helps to take care of her alcoholic father with the help of her brothers and, surprisingly, her mother who divorced him years before. Angie is a character that you'll feel happy for and at the same time want to cry with her as she navigates her new relationship with Matt. Will she be able to work through her issues and trust Matt with her heart? Is Matt even worth trusting or do his secrets show a side of him that can't be trusted. Read this book to enjoy the struggles and successes of a wonderful main character.

I didn't know until I read the reviews, that this author has written about the Dugan family in several other books. This book and the family were so intriguing, I plan to buy some of her earlier books to learn more about the struggles of the other family members.

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review.
Profile Image for Debra.
456 reviews16 followers
July 9, 2021
I went back and forth on my rating for this book. During the first half of the book, I was totally waffling. Then I became a little more interested. Then I skimmed.

There were parts of the plots (and there's a few going on) that I thought had promise and might have been developed further. Then again, maybe there was too much going on.

Let's get to Angie, the main character. She doesn't know if she loves her job. She doesn't know if her boyfriend, Matt, is the one. She doesn't know what to do about her father. My biggest issue with Angie is that she questions everything, even if she's worthy of love.

I read Parrish's Maggie's Ruse earlier and A Winter Night involves the same family, Maggie (of the title) and her twin Marta. I will say I enjoyed this book more.

Just when I thought Angie might be pulling it together and embracing and excepting love, I came up with more questions. Throughout the book she questions if she's worthy of a boyfriend, then she questions Matt's sincerity, then there's some trust issues. At the very end of the book as she expresses her love, she begins to find out a few things about Matt that she should question. But, the end of the book, she dismisses some pretty potentially MAJOR roadblocks.

Parrish's style was a bit odd--very short sentences and sometimes too many details.
759 reviews2 followers
February 25, 2022
"She's not used to good things happening without her constant attention." (p. 197)
Angie's family didn't give her much of a foundation of trust. They are all still around, very much part of her life when she falls in love. That could be the plot of a chick-lit novel, but (fortunately) this is serious and thoughtful.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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