Did I love Winterbound the same way I loved Margery Williams' Velveteen Rabbit. NO! I want to be honest about that from the start. Winterbound is not nearly as charming and lovely and wonderful as The Velveteen Rabbit. But with the right expectations, Winterbound could work for some readers.
Winterbound is about four siblings living on their own in a rented house in rural New England with both parents away. The father is an archaeologist, if I'm remembering correctly. He'll be gone for a year or two. The mother's absence is more sudden. She goes to take care of a sick relative in New Mexico. The family--three girls, one boy--were raised in the city. This is their first time 'experiencing' country life. This is also their first time being independent. The two oldest are nearly-grown--upper teens. Kay. Garry (short for Margaret). Caroline. Martin.
Is the book about anything? Yes and no.
It is a coming-of-age story for both Kay and Garry, in a way. Both are learning who they are as individuals: what they like, love, want, need, etc. Both are thinking ahead, thinking about the future: who they want to be, what they want their lives to look like, how they plan to earn money, etc. I think it's good to approach this one as an "Am I ready to be an adult?" book.
It is a book about family and friendship. All of the siblings make friends within the community. And, of course, there's always their relationships with each other. The sections when they're spending time with their best friends are always enjoyable. Plenty of storytelling.
It is a book about rural life, seasons, and nature. When you see the title don't think LONG WINTER, that isn't fair to this book at all. This book isn't so much about winter, as it is about all the seasons. Yes, the four face a difficult week or two when they're isolated because of too much snowfall, a blizzard perhaps. But that's just a tiny part of the book as a whole. It's just as much about all four seasons.
It is a slower-paced book, I admit. Not every book has to be action-packed and full of adventure and drama. But I wouldn't say that nothing happens. The focus is on the ordinary.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews