Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne
Source: Raincoast Books
Set in a world lush with folklore and magic, WinterSong tells the story of Liesl who has spent her life stifling her urge to make music because no one, except her brother, believes she has the talent to do so. Inspired by both The Labyrinth and Christina Rossetti’s The Goblin Market, WinterSong is a story about family, love, and, most importantly, art.
Liesl’s father used to be a musician and her mother a singer but life is cruel and landed them in a village far from the glittering courts where they used to ply their trade. Liesl, by her position as the eldest child, often has to step back and let the spotlight shine on her siblings. She is always maintaining peace and giving of herself. Her sister, more vivacious and beautiful than her, is engaged to the boy Liesl once thought would be hers. Her brother is free to indulge in the music that he loves. And Liesl? Well, Liesl lives sort of in the shadows until the day her sister decides to eat fruit given to her by men who don’t exactly look like men (hint: they are not.)
The appearance of a mysterious yet familiar stranger teases at Liesl’s senses. He provokes her and disappears as does her sister. Liesl is determined to rescue her sister from whatever trouble she had got into and so starts a journey, both fantastic and dark, that will lead Liesl, at its culmination, to herself.
WinterSong is full of delicious complexities and characters that often require the reader to look beyond the superficial into the heart of them. For instance, Liesl’s sister Kathe is introduced as a rather flighty creature with simple desires and motivations. It would be easier to dismiss her as Liesl does but a deeper look reveals that Kathe is just as complex as Liesl though her expression of self is vastly different.
The romance is intense but at the same time it does not consume everything in its path. Interestingly, the love interest is not given a name and is simply called “The Goblin King.” However, it is true that it is through him that Liesl comes into her own.
The OTP in this book is Liesl and her music. Her desire to spent her days immersed in its creation and the time she does spend creating it are some of the strongest scenes in the novel. She uses music as language, as a way to say things she often cannot express in words.
And that ending is brilliant. I adored that ending.
The book does have adult themes so it might be more appropriate for older teens. It definitely is a crossover title so all adults should enjoy it. I definitely did. Much recommended.