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05 December 2020

Book Review: The Winter Promise by Rosie Goodwin *AD - Gifted

Zaffre sent me a free finished copy of The Winter Promise by Rosie Goodwin.

This is the second Memory Lane Club books that I've read, and I think I've found a new go-to author for when I need a saga that will break my heart and then mend it.

The Winter Promise by Rosie Goodwin memory lane cover


When Opal Sharp finds herself and her younger siblings suddenly orphaned and destitute, she thinks things can get no worse.

But soon three of them - including Opal - are struck down with the illness that took their father from them, and her brother Charlie is forced to make an impossible decision. Unable to afford a doctor, he knows the younger children will not survive. So, unbeknownst to Opal, Charlie takes their younger siblings to the workhouse, where he knows they will at least be fed and have a roof over their heads.

Opal is heartbroken and struggles to forgive him. Charlie, in turn, takes bigger and bigger risks to try to support what's left of the Sharp family and earn Opal's forgiveness - but he takes it too far and finds himself in trouble with the law. Soon, he is sent on a convict ship to Australia.

As poor Opal is forced to say goodbye to the final member of her family, she makes a promise to reunite them all one day.

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Source: Review Copy

Content Warning: Sexual assault, corporal punishment, child abuse, infant death (off page).

5 Word Review: Family, desperation, betrayal, love, lies.

Have you ever sat on a Sunday afternoon and put on the Drama channel and spent the whole afternoon caught up in a Catherine Cookson drama, drinking endless cups of tea? It's a fantastic act of self-care ,but sometimes you've seen The Rag Nymph a few too many times and you need something different. That's where The Winter Promise comes in.

It was raining outside when I first picked up this book.

I had a fresh cup of tea, a virtual fireplace crackling away in the background, a blanket across my lap. The big light was off, the lamps were lit, and I turned the first page.

I was glad of the hot drink and the blanket because I got chills from the vivid descriptions. I could feel the snow, the unforgiving wind, the chill of a draught. I almost sighed when I read about Opal making that first pot of tea, taking a sip myself. And I was hooked. So much happens in just the first fifty pages that I was pretty breathless reading them.

The story evolves slowly, and yet the pace is incredible. So much happens to every character, and their story arcs seem so different. As a family, Opal, Charlie, and Susie are so similar, and yet as the story dips in and out of their lives they have very distinct voices and personalities.

Opal is absolutely the main character, and my heart broke for her over and over again. She's so lovely and nice and she cares so much, and what she goes through would break most. She's resilient and determined and I loved her for it. She is the perfect main character for a saga, and I could happily read about her forever. All she wants is her family back together, and she does what she thinks is best. She is manipulated at her lowest point and my heart aches for her.

Charlie is... Well, he tries his best. But he's a bit flighty and he's not the type to stop and think properly before he acts. Despite all he's been through he's still a bit of a dreamer. And it was frustrating.

Susie kind of falls on her feet, and it's difficult not to like her. She's warm and fed for the most part, and her hardships are generally glossed over. She doesn't truly understand the horror of what surrounds her at times, and she's always focused on finding her way back to Opal.

There are times that the story had me gorgeously frustrated: when they were so close and yet so far, when I wanted to shake Charlie, when I wanted to wrap Opal up and keep her safe.

This book spans sixteen fraught years, and it is a Journey. I was hooked, I couldn't stop turning the pages. It's almost 500 pages long and yet I read it in a single day, switching from tea to red wine as the story progressed. I felt a little bit broken in the best of ways when it ended.

The Winter Promise felt a bit like the very best of Catherine Cookson, like the best bits of The Dwelling Place crossed with The Glass Virgin. It was outstanding, and you can easily see why Rosie Goodwin was the first author to be allowed to follow on from some Catherine Cookson stories. I couldn't recommend this book, and this author, more.


  1. Someone took this out at work today! Great review!

    Lois |

  2. You've written a great review. I absolutely adore reading Rosie Goodwin books. She has such a way with words that has your gripped and always wanting more.


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