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The Winter Gathering by Deirdre Purcell

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

It is December 2002 when Maggie’s husband walks out a week before Christmas – which also happens to be Maggie’s absolute favourite time of the year. Devastated, her friends rally round and soon a tradition of their Christmas together is launched. Ten years later and a mysterious young man and all manner of challenges for each of the women unexpectedly threaten the status quo which has been carefully built. The central theme here is the value of friends and the power of family in a fun, light hearted book from one of the Ireland’s best loved novelists.

If you like Deirdre Purcell you might also like to read books by Patricia Scanlon, Kate McCabe and Maeve Binchy.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Winter Gathering by Deirdre Purcell

It's ten years on from the first winter gathering, when four of Maggie Quinn's closest friends rushed in to spend Christmas with her after her husband walked out just days before. And at Christmas, it doesn't take long for an event to become a tradition.
But this Christmas Day, for the first time, there's an addition to the party, in the form of a young, very handsome man. Only one of the women knows what he's doing there, and she's remaining tight-lipped.
So begins a new chapter in the lives of the five friends. As the winter moves towards spring, each faces personal hurdles, from family difficulties to illness to the unexpected reappearance of Maggie's ex. Throughout, each proves that friends truly are the family you choose -- and that, ultimately, the magic of Christmas can arrive at any time of year.


'A jewel of a story'

-Sunday Independent

'An Irish storyteller in full stride... exemplary skill.'

-Irish Times

'A writer fully in charge of her craft... impeccable.'

-Sunday Tribune

'An audacious novel... An absorbing, needling read.'

- Helen Dunmore, The Times

'Spellbindng... fascinating and provocative...[Deirdre Purcell has] a new masterpiece on her hands.'

-Irish Independent

'Written in her customary incisive prose...Purcell's book balances the warmth of friendships against darker issues of illness and everyday family crises.'

-Irish Mail on Sunday


-Sunday Business Post

About the Author

Deirdre Purcell was born and brought up in Dublin, and educated there and in a County Mayo convent. Before turning to the writing of fiction, she lived through an eclectic set of careers, including acting, as a member of the permanent company of Ireland's National Theatre (The Abbey), and journalism for all media - for which she won Ireland's top awards.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th October 2014


Deirdre Purcell

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Headline Review an imprint of Headline Publishing Group


448 pages


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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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