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A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

A Place Called Winter

Literary Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   Family Drama   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   
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One of our Books of the Year 2015.

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2015.

A slight departure for this highly regarded author being an historical tale of Edwardian London and Canada based on a true story from his family history. Harry Case, a gentleman in suburban London, marries and has a daughter. Unexpectedly he discovers he is gay and has a passionate carnal affair with an actor. Huge family uproar and Harry is persuaded to cut himself off and emigrate to Canada. Here we follow him through hard grind and tough living as he joins a scheme to claim land on the prairie. He gets befriended and then dominated by a sinister Dane. Eventually Harry finds the partner of his dreams but along comes the war, the flu epidemic and more tragedy. Harry falls into a kind of madness. Finally, though, there is a happy ending of sorts. The frank treatment of gay love and sex is hardly shocking today but think back and relive a tough and sad life beautifully entered here. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Costa Judges' comment: “A sensitive, beautifully structured story of loss, fear, exile and hope.”

If you like Patrick Gale you might also like to read books by Alan Hollinghurst, Sebastian Barry and Edmund White.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Sarah Musk - 'A beautifully written, sensitive book for readers who love a strong story with well-drawn characters and an interesting historical background.' Read full review >
  • Mary Chapman - 'I have loved other characters in previous Patrick Gale novels of which I am a great fan and Harry is one of the best so far.' Read full review >
  • Janette Skinner - 'This is an excellent book, the writing is flawless and straightforward, a great story, and the interest stays right to the last page.' Read full review >
  • Carolyn Huckfield - 'It is a tender story that is beautifully written. Finding out that Gale got old family memoirs to build his story around and this makes it an even more moving.' Read full review >
  • Alison Burns - 'It was a moving story, especially as it was based on a real person's life. I really felt for Harry and the difficulties life threw at him.' Read full review >
  • Phyl Smithson - 'If you like an absorbing, extremely well-written and a reflection of how far society has come in human tolerance, then this is the one for you.' Read full review >
  • Sue Broom - 'A fictional tribute to one of the author's great-grandfathers' lives - a beautifully written and moving story that must have struck a chord with him.' Read full review >
  • Cathy Petersen – 'Beautifully written character study of a man adrift from himself, finding purpose, himself and love on the Canadian frontier.' Read full review >
  • Barbara Goldie - 'A totally engrossing read...just the thing to curl up with on a long winter night.  A great story.' Read full review >
  • Mary Gibson - 'A compelling novel made more authentic as it is based on a real life mystery in the author's family history.' Read full review >
  • Cazanne Tuckett - 'A story of one man’s life, loves and how he coped.' Read full review >
  • Peter Baiden - 'in some ways quite disturbing, even shocking, but should find its place with those who recognise the pain whilst finding love, in all its forms.' Read full review >
  • Siobhan McDowell - 'This author is undeniably skilled in his chosen field as he has a tremendous imagination...A rewarding read.' Read full review >
  • Alison Layland - 'A poignant, emotionally involving and gripping novel about the search for friendship, love and security in times of risk and prejudice.' Read full review >
  • Susan Walsh - 'Take two Brothers, two very different men & see what life deals them. A superb Book from Patrick Gale.' Read full review >
  • Vikki Patis - 'A journey of discovery, acknowledgement, and differences, A Place Called Winter is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale.' Read full review >

The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse by Alexander Mccall Smith

One very lucky winner will receive a signed copy by Alexander McCall Smith of his latest novel, The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse. To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 4 January 2018. The winner will be notified by 15th January 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 04/01/2018


A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

Picked for the BBC Radio 2 Simon Mayo Book Club To find yourself, sometimes you must lose everything.

A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything. Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before. In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.


About the Author

Patrick Gale

Patrick Gale was our Guest Editor in June 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. One of this country's best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, The Whole Day Through and the Richard and Judy bestseller Notes From An Exhibition.

Author photo © Daniel Hall Photography

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Book Info

Publication date

27th August 2015


Patrick Gale

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Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group


384 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Family Drama
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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