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Winter Rose

(Winter Rose #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  6,655 ratings  ·  357 reviews
Sorrow and trouble and bitterness will bound you and yours and the children of yours...

Some said the dying words of Nial Lynn, murdered by his own son, were a wicked curse. To others, it was a winter's tale spun by firelight on cold, dark nights. But when Corbet Lynn came to rebuild his family estate, memories of his grandfather's curse were rekindled by young and old - an
Mass Market Paperback, 262 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Ace (first published July 1st 1996)
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Abbey Content-wise totally fine; there's no sex or swearing or anything like that. Comprehension-wise... they might struggle. It's pretty abstract at times.…moreContent-wise totally fine; there's no sex or swearing or anything like that. Comprehension-wise... they might struggle. It's pretty abstract at times. Still, there are always the outliers so maybe?(less)

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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,655 ratings  ·  357 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Winter Rose is Patricia McKillip's take on the Tam Lin folktale. It veers from the standard legend pretty dramatically.

An attractive young man, Corbet Lynn, moves to the medievalish village of Rois and Laurel Melior, two sisters. Rois (our narrator) likes to wander around outdoors barefoot, heedless of propriety; Laurel is the more proper sister, with a fiance who loves her. Somehow Corbet, who seems to be struggling with some kind of family curse, manages to upend both of the sisters' lives.

Umut Reviews
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my first McKillip book, and I'm a little disappointed actually. From the first pages, I thought it was going to be a combination of beautiful writing, fantasy with a solid plot and well developed characters. I'm afraid it only delivered the beautiful writing, and couldn't just hook me to the rest of the story.
I can imagine some people will love it more than others. It's a very slow going book, with lots of descriptions, atmosphere, etc. But, even so, there should have been a bit more b
I love Patricia McKillip's writing. That bald statement doesn't do the depth of my feeling justice, but there it lies. She turns the simplest statement into poetry, creating exquisite images that shimmer before the mind's eye long after the book has been closed; she imbues the whole world with magic, drawing forth colors unimaginable from the stark black text on a white page.

It is possible that Winter Rose is her best book. Where normally her prose creates just the slightest distance, separating
3 stars solely for the quality of McKillip's writing - evocative, lyrical, full of beautiful imagery. Sort of a combination of Marillier's style, which is vivid, always filled with otherworldly and draws inspiration from folklore, and McKinley's - which is heavy on psychedelic "trips" her heroines have to go through to evolve and grow.

Winter Rose is an interesting enough Tam Lin re-imagining, too bad so much of the story is dedicated to the main character's running in the woods or in snow or hav
I’ve actually reviewed this here before, and in fact read it twice before. I wanted to give it another go, because I’ve been reading a couple of other Tam Lin based stories (The Perilous Gard; An Earthly Knight; just starting Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin) and because I want to read the sequel to this, Solstice Wood. And because I’m stubborn as heck and I didn’t ‘get it’, and I don’t like that feeling.

Well, I still didn’t really ‘get’ it, though I was more content to go with the dreamlike logic and just
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
When I first read this, it was the first book I’d read by McKillip and I really didn’t appreciate it. I thought the words were lovely, but the substance was all over the place; everything had dream logic, and sometimes I couldn’t hold onto that logic and follow it through — or I’d come to totally wrong conclusions that I don’t think McKillip intended at all. But I expected this time to be different: I’ve come to really love McKillip’s work, in general, and to enjoy and follow the lyricism, the i ...more
I love the evocative writing where dream and reality blend and are impossible to tell apart. This part was great, as was the hidden magic underneath the surface.
What I liked less was way the story dragged out. It's pretty clear from early on that this is going to be a type of Tam Lin retelling. The heroine, Rois wanders out in the night a few too many times looking for Corbert, the mysterious and obviously enchanted/cursed neighbor. It got to be IMO too repetitive. It would have been better to
PJ Who Once Was Peejay
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written, near-hallucinatory little novel, almost breathless in its telling of the story of a young man, Corbet Lynn, who returns to the ruins of his ancestral home, Lynn Hall, and starts to rebuild. There's a village rumor of a family curse, a dying man's words no one can quite remember the same way, as if the words and the memories shift with each retelling. One winter Corbet's grandfather was murdered by his son, Tearle—Corbet's father—who then disappeared without a trace ...more
A.G. Howard
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ms. McKillip is one of my favorite authors. Her prose is simply beautiful and magical. Loved this broken fairy tale!

This book offered me everything I most certainly did not expect to get. I am not sure what I did anticipate but definitely not this. Yes, I signed up for an enchanting fairy tale about magic, light or dark, about otherworldly creatures, bizarre or wonderful, about the never-bending love or maybe not and I received something entirely different, something more complex and mysterious than that. I was offered an exquisitely written tale about need, loss and life. And I came to love the path I did no
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McKillip is one of my favorite authors: she has an unrivalled ability to take a seemingly simple story and invest it with a beauty of language and depth of meaning seen in few books. Her fairytales are for adults, as well as younger people (as such stories were originally meant to be); she stays true to the heart and soul of this most enduring and significant form of tale-telling.
This book is based on the legend of Tam Lin, with a bit of Andersen’s Snow Queen thrown into the mix –
Set in a timele
Winter Rose is written in a very lyrical style, but on reflection, not much really seems to happen. I quite enjoyed the style, but in the end, I can't really think of much substance to it. It was a bit Goblin Market-esque, I suppose, with the two sisters, and one pining away, and the other doing all she could to make things better... And of course, there was the story of Tam Lin. But I got a bit confused with who was related to who and how -- at one point I thought Corbet's father was also Rois' ...more
Megan Baxter
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
I intended to write this review yesterday, before the book club that was going to discuss it in the evening. But it didn't matter how many times I opened this page, I just sat there, unable to think of the words I wanted to say about this book. I'd liked it well enough, but damned if I could think of a single thing to say.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can r
Mar 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Admittedly I started buying McKillip's books because of their covers, and was lucky enough to find an author that I liked. What I admire about the covers, aside from being lovely, is that they're done by an artist who has obviously read the books. Don't you hate it when you judge a book by it's cover, get it, and even if you LIKE the book come to realize that said cover was done by someone who never bothered to read more then a summary of the contents they're decorating?

I think the worst offende
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I sat down and read this grippingly passionate tale in the space of 4 hours. I was hooked from the first page and I realised around halfway through that my mouth was dry, I had a frown of concentration furrowing my brows and I had a crook in my neck from not moving for a long time... The sense of distance and mysteriousness in the writing style really added to the story (which was almost a mystery itself) as I found out more and more about what was going on as I read. I loved the way I had to ke ...more
Winter Rose is a Tam Lin retelling, and I think a particularly good one; also, it's a favorite of mine among McKillip's books. The first person narrator (a device I can't remember McKillip using in any of her other books I've read) gives the book a little more emotional immediacy than usual, and the writing is just as gorgeous and rich as always: the faeries and the faery world are particularly outstanding, with just the otherworldliness I was missing from Janet McNaughton's An Earthly Knight.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Finished the book and still don't understand the plot...
I've been thinking quite a bit about this book lately. I loved it when I first read it as a fourteen-year-old. (This was not long after I read Villette by Charlotte Bronte and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, two amazing novels that opened my eyes to the manifold benefits of giving a book a strong female first-person narrator.)

McKillip is not for everybody: her writing is highly stylized, intensely florid, and stubbornly pre-Raphaelite in its aesthetics. She uses phrases like "He rode a horse the c
Mary Catelli
Rois sees a man walk out to the woods. . . and being a rather wild thing herself, she gathers flowers and herbs and returns to learn of Corbet Lynn, who returned home to claim his grandfather's lands, which have fallen to wrack and ruin since the day so many years ago when his father killed his grandfather and ran off, cursed by that grandfather. Not that any two people can tell the same story of what the curse was, or any one person tell who was there to see that it was murder, or hear the curs ...more
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't bring myself to finish this. I tried my utmost to like it, and I've gotten to the point where I feel a kind of moral obligation to finish a book once I start it, but I just couldn't do it. I know P. McKillip's style is all 'dreamy' and 'lyrical' or whatever, good for her, but I don't enjoy that kind of writing - it seems pretentious and unrealistic to me. Plus, I found the plot fatally slow-moving and I disliked the heroine with such a strangely passionate hatred that I longed to impa ...more
I've been hearing praise about McKillip's books for a while, so when I found out that she had written a "Tam Lin" retelling, I was excited to finally be introduced to her works.

By far my favorite aspect of Winter Rose is the language. Beautiful, nostalgic, and searching, it perfectly conveys the greater themes of the novel.

The hard winds sang their way into my dreams again that night. Long, white, insistent fingers of snow brushed against the window glass until I saw the storm out of memory, s
Alyssa Nelson
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Winter Rose is a quiet, slow-paced fantasy focused on a character named Rois who can go back and forth between the fae world and her human world. When the grandson of a man who was murdered long ago appears in her small town, rumors abound as to why he’s back. Rois is desperate to find out his past and that of his family, but it means going against the faerie queen and putting herself in great danger.

You definitely have to be a patient reader to get through this book. This book is very slow-pace
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
What was McKillip smoking when she wrote this?

The point of this book is completely lost to me. I am simply left befuddled over its existence. The only thing even remotely entertaining about it was its lush, evocative language. But even that failed me as the language often spiraled completely out of control into allegories and phrases that tripped over themselves. And I LIKE dreamy language. I even, at times, enjoy being confused by my stories. But the amount of confusion I would experience when
Brandy Painter
Full review posted here.

As far as retellings of Tam Lin go, this one does an excellent job maintaining the story and characters. The meeting at the well with roses, the heroine’s heedless love of running through the woods in unladylike manner, the hero’s cold manipulative indifference, the curse, the unfeeling Faerie Queen, the heroine holding the hero through transformations to break the curse, it is all here. This story adds the twist of the sister equally fascinated by the hero. Corbet wants
Nov 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by: Year's Best Fantasy And Horror (10th)

"Winter Rose" is the story of wild child Rois and her sensible sister Laurel and their obsession with the mysterious and cursed Corbett.

I tried to like this book, it took me three attempts to read the whole thing, but I did! I just found that I didn't really enjoy it and found it difficult to get into.

For me, the language was beautiful, in parts, but the pretty metaphors, similes and adjectives got in the way of the story and at time
When Corbet Lynn comes to reclaim the dilapidated Lynn Hall, the wild Rois--given to foraging barefoot in the woods--becomes obsessed with the secrets and curses of his past. Winter Rose is a Tam Lin retelling at its best: it harvests some aspects (from Tam Lin and other tales) and discards others while maintaining the emotional and symbolic essence of the source material; it then weaves an entire tale around that skeleton, creating a vivid setting and cast without losing the story's magic. Inde ...more
J.M. Stengl
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This 3/5 stars is the definition of love/hate. The best of fantasy/the worst of fantasy.

I attempted reading this book once before and got so confused that I quit.

This time, I muscled through. Still confused for the most part, but also fascinated. This author gives the reader little to go on in discerning what the heck is going on for most of this story, but it does eventually (mostly) make (some) sense. And the confusion is oh, so beautifully written! It did make me wonder at times whether the a
Feb 14, 2011 rated it liked it
About 70% of this book is made up of descriptive words like: green, leaves, roses, winter, wind, dreams, wood, eyes, heart, cold, ivy, shadow, light, etc. The remaining 30% is story. It's like a house that is made up of 70% rococo gold scrolls and 30% foundation, which is fine as long as you don't live on a fault line. The story is interesting enough though except is one of those things where at the end you're still kind of wondering what happened and there's no right answer. If you're okay with ...more
Jun 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Rois and Laurel are two very different sisters. The story follows Rois, the wild girl who feels at home outdoors. Both girls become fascinated with a man named Corbet. Rois becomes tangled in enchantments and mystery as she seeks to rescue the man she and her sister both love.
Michael Miley
May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Don't read much fantasy, but my girlfriend recommended this. A lovely slightly gothic tale, a love story, it moves between two worlds, a kind of deathly underworld and the light of day, between a tragic hero and a nature woman who doesn't know her own boundaries.
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Patricia Anne McKillip is an American author of fantasy and science fiction novels, distinguished by lyrical, delicate prose and careful attention to detail and characterization. She is a past winner of the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award, and she lives in Oregon. Most of her recent novels have cover paintings by Kinuko Y. Craft. She is married to David Lunde, a poet.

According to Fantasy Book

Other books in the series

Winter Rose (2 books)
  • Solstice Wood (Winter Rose, #2)
“I did not want to think about people. I wanted the trees, the scents and colors, the shifting shadows of the wood, which spoke a language I understood. I wished I could simply disappear in it, live like a bird or a fox through the winter, and leave the things I had glimpsed to resolve themselves without me.” 25 likes
“But you must stop playing among his ghosts -- it's stupid and dangerous and completely pointless. He's trying to lay them to rest here, not stir them up, and you seem eager to drag out all the sad old bones of his history and make them dance again. It's not nice, and it's not fair.” 17 likes
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