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Critical Praise

"Her prose is poetic in its emotional range and intensity."

——The Times Literary Supplement

"A Spell of Winter is a book which reads as if it was burning a hole through the writer’s desk. . . . Unforgettable, packed with lambent images and mysterious like the best poetry, or dreams."


"Helen Dunmore clearly claims the Brontëan landscape, emotional as well as physical, as her territory. . . . Dunmore is wonderful at establishing a sense of place; you smell what she smell, se what she sees."

——Book Reporter

 "Helen Dunmore’s spellbinding, lyrical prose is close to poetry. She writes like an angel and the compelling turn-of-the-century story she so skillfully unfolds in A Spell of Winter makes the emotions churn and tingle. . . . This is a marvelous novel about forbidden passions and the terrible consequences of thwarted love. It is also about the almost mystical bond between mothers and daughters, and I defy any woman to read the final paragraphs without tears streaming down her face. . . . Dunmore is one of our finest writers."

——The Daily Mail

"A Spell of Winter, suitable for Anne Tyler or Hilary Mantel readers, is highly accessible, immensely sad, quite beautiful, and deserves to be read by all lovers of good novels. [Dunmore] is an author to take note of and to watch for in the future."

——The Bookseller

"A hugely involving story which often stops you in your tracks with the beauty of its writing."

——The Observer (London)

"An electrifying and original talent, a writer whose style is characterized by a lyrical, dreamy intensity."

——The Guardian

"[A] dark, poetic and deftly crafted Gothic novel . . . Dunmore, also a poet, uses metaphor to paint painfully vivid images and manages to convey depths of emotion and meaning in remarkably short sentences. . . .  Dunmore crafts her prose into beautiful imagery. . . . Although the story’s setting is reminiscent of a Gothic classic, the novel has a current flair in Catherine’s self-awareness and observations, and in the psychological complexity of each character. . . . Distinctly modern."

——Associated Press

"Dunmore’s dark, poetic and deftly crafted Gothic novel unfolds . . . in a style that aches like homesickness."

——The Kingston Freeman (New York)

"A Spell of Winter reads so much like Jane Eyre that one feels one ought to shout: Charlotte Brontë is back!"

——Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Unsettling love and stifled horror create and then destroy the claustrophobic world of this lush, literary Gothic set in turn-of-the-century England. . . . In true Gothic fashion, terror, violence and eroticism collect beneath every dark surface. . . . A finely crafted, if disturbing, literary page-turner."

——Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Not many novels grab the reader’s lapels with the opening sentence, but Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter is surely one. . . . We plunge headlong into Dunmore’s dark and creepy tale, an update of such Gothic literary classics as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. . . . Dunmore’s gifts are considerable."

——Houston Chronicle

"An intensely gripping book. Tense, dark and beautifully crafted, the book that won its author the Orange Prize is one that will be hard to forget . . . written so seductively that some passages sing out from the page, like music for the eyes."

——The Sunday Times

"The story is wreathed in mysteries with a possibility of violence, yet this is not just a bleak tale of incest or a murder mystery. Rather, it is a lyrical exploration of the meaning of love and the possibilities of life. Dunmore writes poetry as well as prose, and through poetic writing she has crafted a sensual narrative. This modern Gothic, which won the first Orange Prize in Britain in 1995, is recommended for must public and academic collections."

——Library Journal