Friday 5 December 2014

Review ~ The Winter Gathering by Deirdre Purcell


Headline Review

A group of five fifty somethings meet every year at Maggie Quinn’s house to spend their Christmas together. The bonds of friendship have been forged over time, especially since the first time they all gathered, ten years ago which was just after Maggie’s husband left her, but time moves on, and all traditions take a bit of a knock sometimes. This Christmas Day, and for the first time, there’s an addition to the party, in the form of a handsome young man, but only one of the women knows why he is there.

What then follows is a rather heart-rending look at the changing fortunes of friendship and of the unexpectedness of life in general, and the way that the ties of friendship can be stretched to breaking point sometimes. Overall, I found the story to be rather downbeat for a seasonal read as there are some sad moments, however, it does showcase the lives of the women really well and the minutiae of the challenges of their lives is nicely explained.  It’s not all gloomy, there are some funny moments to lighten the narrative and which go a long way to make the characters seems more connected.

I know that this author is a prolific writer of this type of family saga and as such has a wide readership. I am sure that her legions of fans will find take a chance on this story, however, it just left me feeling quite subdued at the end of it and, if I'm honest, a little uninspired.

My thanks to Headline and bookbridgr for my copy of this book.

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 award.


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