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Wintering by Derek Johns

Wintering tells the story of the Palmer family from 1958 through the winter of 1959. They used to have a prosperous life in Bath, where the father, Jim, ran a Jaguar dealership, but poor financial decisions drove them to bankruptcy. The family - Jim, his wife, Margaret, and children Billy and Sarah - move to a farm cottage in Wells which has no amenities. Jim must ride a bike to work at a gentlemen's outfitter, but he soon returns to his underhanded ways including taking a local mistress. Margaret becomes friends with a neighbor who encourages her to act in the local theatre. Billy begins to come of age, discovering the truth about his father and engaging with the world of imagination. Fascinated by the Glastonbury Tor and the myths that surround it, he longs to visit it, but his father forbids it. In this year in the life of a family, they must all find their new path together through life. Derek Johns' novel has received mixed reviews with The Telegraph saying, "Johns exactly catches the details of that unpromising time, and finds in them the keys to an ancient native decency, in a process mysteriously analogous to Billy's quest. The severely restrained tone of the writing is also just right, terrific in its emotional impact."
Buy Wintering by Derek Johns

The Telegraph review by Lewis Jones

New Statesman review by Sophie Ratcliffe

The Telegraph review by Jane Shilling

The Independent review by Carol Birch

The Guardian review by Colin Greenland

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[click book cover for amazon.co.uk page for Wintering]