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Magic is out of fashion.
Except, obviously, at Winterturn.

Winterturn in Ragnor Bella is a holiday for family, feasting, and a few religious festivities.

Jemis Greenwing and Mr. Dart are both quite ready for a quiet week or two after their adventures going to and coming home from Orio City. Jemis in particular is looking forward to the first Winterturn spent with his father since he was a child.

Then the fairy fox shows up.

Wild magic. Family secrets. Gifts from unknown admirers. Sainthood. And that's before the pageant.

Kindle Edition

First published December 21, 2021

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About the author

Victoria Goddard

35 books450 followers
I walked across England in 2013, fulfilling a long-held dream. I'm currently the sexton of an Anglican church in Nova Scotia, which means I am keeper of the keys and opener of doors (and shutter-off of alarms). I have a PhD in medieval studies from the University of Toronto, looking at poetry and philosophy in the works of Dante and Boethius -- both the poetry and the philosophy come into my stories a great deal (and occasionally the Dante and the Boethius).

I like writing about the ordinary lives of magical people on the other side of the looking glass ... and the extraordinary deeds of ordinary folk, too. Three of my favourite authors are Patricia McKillip (especially 'The Riddle-Master of Hed' trilogy and 'The Bell at Sealy Head'), Connie Willis ('Bellwether' and 'To Say Nothing of the Dog,' which latter would make my top-ten books on a desert island), and Lois McMaster Bujold ('The Curse of Chalion' and its sequels). I'm aiming somewhere between them and Neil Gaiman's 'Stardust' ...

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5 stars
200 (53%)
4 stars
136 (36%)
3 stars
37 (9%)
2 stars
3 (<1%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for Alexa.
173 reviews4 followers
January 10, 2023
This book felt like a bit of a break after the dangers and adventures of the last two! *pointed look* Well. If only one life-threatening situation counts as a break? Or perhaps two. ANYWAY this was a calmer book and all the more lovely for it. There was family bonding time! Knitting! Holiday festivities! Our best boy Jemis has grown considerably over the last several books, which is good considering the size, stakes, and scope of the dangers awaiting him. I am very, very eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series. (What am I supposed to do in the meantime???? ;-;)
3 reviews
January 28, 2022
I read the Greenwing & Dart series in quick succession over the past month, so I had come to recognize and appreciate how different books draw on different narrative tropes and styles. This one is set during the Winter Solstice holiday season, and the plot is based on that, but it's much much more than a "your favourite characters celebrate xmas-ish cozy Holiday Special." - More like a Doctor Who holiday special adventure, rather than sitcom special or "heartwarming made-for-tv xmas movie." Argh, I can't find the right words here.

With its winter solstice riddles, quests, strange apparitions, traditions, and gifts, this reminded me somewhat of "The Dark Is Rising" in very good ways, although it been over three decades and a concussion or two since since I read that so I can't be sure or specific.

I appreciated how woven into the plot the "N days of Giftmas" theme was, the domestic traditions and the spiritual, that it was whimsical and deadly serious in balance.

This wasn't a book in which circumstances changed obviously and drastically in ways that would make headlines in New Salon, but it still felt like what happened was deeply important to those involved, relationships continued to grow and reveal without feeling forced, and the understanding of mythology/reality continued to deepen in very satisfying ways.

It feels like we're taking a moment for catching our breath and getting our feet under ourselves, building up to a series-climax, and it feels that this book weaves in a lot of setup for that, yet manages to be a very satisfying read in itself. I want to know what happens next, but I don't feel like I'm being forced to wait on the cliffhanger of an incomplete story.

Shortly after finishing this, I happened to read a different book set in a snowy setting leading up to winter solstice, which failed to convince me that the author has actually lived with snow the way their characters do in the book - it was particularly jarring compared to how realistic and relatable "life with snow" is depicted by Victoria Goddard in "Love-in-a-mist" and "Plum Duff", how much axial tilt actually matters in such a climate (how long "the longest night" actually is and how short the days feel, how daily life and travel is affected from season to season based on the length of days and not just weather), how long it takes to dig out from a blizzard, how bright (yet not too bright) moonlight on snow is, and the nature of slush. (My own Canadian basis of comparison: I'm from Newfoundland, living in PEI.)

I also liked the knitting accuracy, as I have come across some suspension-of-disbelief failures in other books about that recently, too, although that's not nearly as important and as central to this plot as the nature of winter. I appreciated it anyway, as I am often knitting while reading!
213 reviews
April 7, 2022
I was thinking 3.5 stars, but since I blazed through all 6 1/2 books in the series in 8 days, they must have been engrossing and fun to read, and that's at least a 4. As promised, they deliver magic and derring-do, friendship and character development, and humor, in pleasing proportions. My only quibble is, the world is so British, from its mythology to its society to its landscapes and food, even to the appearance of the characters - blue-eyed redheads abound. Not that there's anything wrong with the world; it's well-built and interesting and beautifully written; I just feel like I've been in a lot of similar places before. One the many delights of Goddard's Hands of the Emperor and its series is the freshness of the settings: both the Palace and the Vangevaye-ve keep presenting details that make me rethink my mental images of them.

In the later books the two series begin intertwining in interesting ways, and since both of them seem decidedly unfinished, I look forward with pleasure to whatever comes next.
Profile Image for Kiwi Carlisle.
982 reviews7 followers
May 25, 2023
This is a beautiful book that will appeal to fans of Susan Cooper. It’s very moving in places, but features the same mischief and puzzles as earlier books. I hope that more of the same will be coming our way. There are strong hints of more adventures for the intrepid pair. I want to read them!
Profile Image for Robbie.
507 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2021
Yet more set-up for something bigger. There's less of a coherent story to this and the ending is much less an actual ending of any kind than to the previous novel. There's also a lot of effort to more explicitly tie this in with some of the other novels; going beyond the mere hints that were dropped before. It's pretty much just more moving characters into place and having Greenwing and Dart come into their strengths and abilities as they might apply to the grand fight that is simmering in the background of these stories. It doesn't resolve anything that's already been brought up, but adds a few more mysteries and potential subquests to the increasingly byzantine background plot. Though it is fun to read, I can't help but wish that the author had written longer books and did a traditional trilogy to play out the overarching plot or at least had given this one a plot that went beyond Jemis wandering around discovering things about himself and those around him.
Profile Image for Alicia.
3,212 reviews35 followers
January 22, 2023

As usual, Goddard totally subverts my expectations of where she’s going with this series, as most of the plot here involves Greenwing and Dart getting ready to celebrate their winter holidays with their families and friends. But the stakes are raised yet again! Along the way we get more insight into their religion, several kittens are named, a unicorn gets a sweater, there are a lot of hugs, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. A/A-.
Profile Image for Kate Turner.
296 reviews4 followers
November 13, 2022
the highest compliment i can give this book is that it reminds me of the dark is rising. it's a christmas story (in the way of fantasy soltice-inflected stories that are really about christmas) and also a story about ancient and malicious fairies, and about midwinter, and about holly keeping the dark out. there is a fox with mysterious pronouncements and fairy food and the wild hunt, not to mention the setup for the series to move to an entirely new stage of things, all of which i am really, really excited for. loved this one, rocketed through it as much as i did the rest, and i cannot wait to see what happens next (though i suspect some detours along the way as goddard swerves a little to write about cliopher and the red company).
Profile Image for Olosta.
166 reviews3 followers
June 7, 2023
Started with a weakish 4, ended in a strong 5. I'm so looking forward to the next volume!!
Profile Image for Becca.
1,584 reviews2 followers
March 5, 2023
Parts of this one are completely adorable, but it felt like the main plot didn't start until halfway through and then didn't resolve at all. Is she setting up for more books? I hope so! I want to make it at least as far as the scene in The Return of Fitzroy Angursell, which I think is at the next midsummer assizes.

I also need to mention that Jemis is clearly a more confident knitter than me-- he's willing to cast on a sweater in an unconventional shape without doing a lot of math first.

2023 reread: I liked this more on a reread, but I'm still miffed that all of the plans from book 5 seem to be coming to naught. Changing rating from 3 to 4 stars.
Profile Image for Tanya.
955 reviews16 followers
February 28, 2023
I was coming to have some understanding of why I might be afflicted by everything always happening to me. Part of it was surely my longstanding friendship with Mr Dart, whose magic would be seeking ways out into the world.
And part of it was apparently because I'd been cursed by a fairy whom my mother had for whatever reason not invited to my christening. [loc. 676]

Winterturn in notoriously dull Ragnor Bella: snow is falling, greenery is gathered, and solstice traditions that keep the dark at bay are, perhaps, rather less metaphorical than usual. Plum Duff feels more ... epic, perhaps, than earlier novels in the Greenwing and Dart series. There is a lost god; there are several saints; the Hunter in the Green appears (and this one is definitely a divinity, not a cosplayer); there are visions of the legendary past, and a siege by the powers of darkness. Also, Jemis is literally a fairytale princess.

I did enjoy this, but not quite as much as the cosier, more mannerist novels earlier in the series. Jemis is still solving puzzles, of course (I especially liked the scene where he diffidently mentions to Mrs Etaris that he's guessed her secret identity) and Mr Dart is finally opening up about his magic and the events of the summer. The Gentry, or the Good Neighbours, or whatever you want to call them, are seldom seen but very much present in this novel: in stories about Jemis' christening, in Mr Dart's two-tailed fox friend, in the gifts of live birds left for Jemis, and in the siege of the Lady's chapel on the longest night. There is an increasingly important religious aspect to these novels. Plum Duff explores faith, spiritual experience, and the simplicity of grace: again, I'm reminded of Bujold's Five Gods, and Penric's personal relationship with his god.

And now, woe! I have run out of Greenwing and Dart... the seventh novel is due soon, though. Meanwhile, I have a little list of as-yet-unresolved plot threads, and am noticing that several relate to middle-aged women not being where they're supposed to be. Ingrid, Flora, Magistra Bellamy ...

Profile Image for Jess Hale.
380 reviews
December 6, 2022
What you expect from this series: mysteries of manners, cosy fantasy village vibes.

What you get six books in: theology; what is it to be a saint; friendships which are more passionately devoted than the 'romances'; very little mystery (and the better for it); how do we open ourselves to the families we make for ourselves; how do we find our selves in the places we come from and see the entire world in the places we hold dear instead of needing to go out into the world.

This series becomes a better read the more Jemis settles into himself. This book is rewarding as he gains confidence in who he is and what he has to offer after the wireweed addiction (and curse related to his father) left him feeling uncertain and empty. There are also some few answers starting to appear, although there are still lots of plot threads left to pick up.

This felt like the end of a character arc(s) in the way the first three books seemed to be an arc. Jemis and Perry are both settled into themselves in a way they've been working towards for a while, and seem outwardly focussed on a new challenge.

I continue to have little interest in the romances; it would be nice to have Hal as a main protagonist again.
Profile Image for Debbie Gascoyne.
607 reviews25 followers
April 30, 2023
I don't understand why more people are not talking about these books! They're so wonderful. Now I think this one is my favourite. The only problem with it is that it has set us up for continued adventures that haven't been written yet. But oh how lovely to have something to look forward to.

Several people have compared this to The Dark is Rising, and I can see that, particularly with the essential integration of deep midwinter traditions and magic. The Dark isn't quite as dark here, although there's one notable and quite scary episode. But there's the same sense of timelessness, and the atmosphere of "winterturn" being celebrated in a small rural village, and family, and friendship. But there are delightful things that could only happen in this series, like Jemis knitting a cardigan for a unicorn. And there's a wholly satisfactory and satisfying character reveal.

Oh how I love this series.
152 reviews
August 29, 2023
I'm starting to sound like a broken record in this series, but I loved this one! It was not quite as action-packed as the previous ones, allowing a bit more time for reconnecting, reflecting and revelations. And with those three, it has everything. The reveal of Mrs Etaris (I am so fascinated by this character and am almost sad we discovered who she is... though there is much more to uncover), Jemis' spiritual journey, his joy in reuniting with his father, learning about his history and appreciating his community. And (accurately represented) knitting! And a unicorn! And knitting FOR a unicorn! And all of this set during the fantasy version of Christmas, which I personally have never felt a huge connection to, but this book made me want to love it. Honestly, this book felt like a warm hug.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Nicole Luiken.
Author 20 books160 followers
December 5, 2022
I enjoyed this book right up until the end which kind of fizzled out. I'm quite puzzled, honestly. Perhaps the book got too long and had to be cut in half? Only one of the three warnings from the fox had yet come to pass and Jemis seemed on the brink of figuring out something important. I did like what happened at the end it just didn't feel like an "end"--there's nothing like the high action scenes of Whiskeyjack or Black Currant Fool. Perhaps it's just that this is more of a middle series book where the author is setting up dominoes she intends to knock down later. Anyhow I'm very intrigued by the intimation that Jemis (after his brush with death in book four) may now be a saint, and will be waiting for the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Donna.
2,523 reviews32 followers
June 6, 2022
This series just gets better and better for me. I'm reveling in the slow progression of the overarching plot as it allows me to spend more time with these characters and this world. There are some fascinating revelations (Mrs. Etaris!) and the meeting between and Jemis was really beautiful as well as opening up the story in a new way. Plus, Jemis knits Ballory a sweater. What's not to love?

I now begin the long wait for the next book but at least it gives me the chance to delve into Goddard's other books.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
Author 63 books63 followers
July 23, 2023
Absolutely a Christmas novel, so odd to read in July but also as comforting as knitting a sweater for a unicorn. Most of Mr. Greenwing's friends have gathered for the Winterturn festivities, a few lingering questions raised by earlier adventures are answered, but mostly this is a much needed rest before his next adventures begin. For Mr. Greenwing and Mr. Dart now know who they are and (almost) what they are, and are ready to save the world. Just as soon as they finish charades by the fire, exchanging gifts, and eating a flaming plum duff. Oh, and dressing the unicorn in a cozy striped sweater.
Profile Image for Sarah.
657 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2022
A wonderful next chapter for these characters. I happened to read it at the perfect time. The events take place between the winter solstice and New Year's Eve, and that is when I read it. The book is cozy and comforting, and I was glad to see a few plot threads that had been hanging since book 1 finally get resolved. My regret is I now have a long wait for a possible book 7.
Profile Image for Akkisuitok.
859 reviews4 followers
February 28, 2022
I love this world and these characters, even if this again is largely exposition. It seems like this series is drawing closer and closer to one final big battle, but at what pace is anyone's guess. I really wish I just knew how many books it's going to be, because it would make it easier to expect installments like this, who do not resolve anything but only open up the mystery further.
Profile Image for Emily.
172 reviews2 followers
April 6, 2022
Absolutely superb. The plot was quiet this time, a slow working through and weaving together of where it will lead us next. And gave us, the reader and the characters, a chance to process some of the emotional beats from the past few books. I adored this one and I'm absolutely bereft I don't have another one to read immediately.
Profile Image for Jennybeast.
3,580 reviews13 followers
August 31, 2023
Aaaaaaaah! This series! It just keeps following such a weird and winding road. I love it. It continues for a while in the general unfolding of a potential revolution.... and then it all goes religious, and I love it -- both the fey aspects and the strange new quest that seems to be coming. Love it, love it, love it. Very much a cozy winter traditions and joyful celebration of relationships.
Profile Image for Rachel.
747 reviews56 followers
December 27, 2021
Wow, metaphysical

Things just took a turn for the weird as Jemis and Mr. Dart start to figure out their place in the world, and how they will change it. It was pretty cool to read this book on the Solstice, since the book takes place during Winterturn holiday.
104 reviews
December 29, 2021
hoping for more tales of Greenwing and Dart

Not only do I love Victoria Goddard’s writing, but her stories relate the goodness of people and the beauty of nature. The heroes have each gone through harrowing circumstances yet they remain kind, loving people. This is a story of hope
Profile Image for Jill Heather.
892 reviews12 followers
January 15, 2022
I really enjoy this series -- though it is not at all a series of books, it is one long (unfinished) book split up into normal book size pieces -- but honestly, if you're going to make up a whole new religion based on the seasons etc, it's not necessary to put Christmas trappings all over it.
36 reviews16 followers
February 20, 2022
Wow. The reveals just get better and better as Jemis and Mr. Dart start to come into their powers. There are powerful lessons about not making assumptions about the people you've known forever. Also, Jemis knits Ballory a sweater - awwwwww.
Profile Image for Eva.
548 reviews12 followers
June 28, 2022
This is now my second favourite after Whiskeyjack - I do enjoy daring prison breaks and murder mysteries, but, more than anything else, I yearn to see Jemis at home with his loved ones, knitting unicorn cardigans.
Profile Image for Erica O'Shea.
129 reviews2 followers
July 30, 2023
Love this series so much I’ve devoured them in the month of July. Perfect summer reads, for me anyways. Hoping the saga continues! I’m a newcomer to the Nine Worlds and see there are many more paths to follow.
Profile Image for Tom.
116 reviews4 followers
January 8, 2022
Number 6

This was just fun … a fine read. For anyone interested in the adventures of Greenwing and Dart I highly recommend them …but begin at the beginning.
Profile Image for Alison.
176 reviews
January 25, 2022
I love the Hands of the Emperor but my heart belongs to Greenwing & Dart. I laughed, I cried, I gasped at various revelations and I eagerly await the next installment.
Profile Image for Kim.
606 reviews10 followers
May 31, 2022
My favorite so far in this series!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews

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