‘The Winter Promise’ is the latest book by Rosie Goodwin and is the first book in her new ‘Precious Stones’ saga.
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, 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. When she finds out, Opal is heartbroken. Charlie starts taking 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.
When it comes to historical fiction, it’s a genre that I don’t really read a lot off and tend to avoid it if I’m being honest.
But there was something about ‘The Winter Promise’ that stood out to me and I must admit that I really enjoyed reading this story of family, discovery and love. I actually found myself looking forward to returning to reading it when I put it down
The story is seen through of siblings Opal, Charlie and Susie who sadly get separated when they come become ill with the fever. Charlie fearing the first for his little brother and sister bring them to a work house hoping that they will recover whilst Opal herself deals the illness. Once she’s back to health, they return for their younger siblings only to discover that Christopher has died and Susie has been given to a new home. Distraught Opal and Charlie are set determined to get their family back together but ends up being shipped off to Australia after being falsely imprisoned.
The story then flows over the years as the siblings all go about their lives but always there in the background is the thought of finding each other. I loved Opal, she’s a strong independent woman who falls on her feet when she becomes a maid for Mrs King, an outspoken but kind soul who sees beyond the slums that Opal grew up in. Whereas Charlie is determined to make something of his life after the harsh upbringing. Like Opal, Susie is determined and vibrant and scene with either of the sisters made for lovely reading.
The story flowed at a lovely gentle and was beautifully descriptive in parts, whether it was the elegant ballgowns or the surrounding beauty of England and Australia. There are also some sad and poignant moments in the story from the loss of a child and sickness and this makes for tender reading. The author has also a special skill for making horrible characters such as Esther Partridge, the plump woman who was jealous of Opal, Opal’s husband, Henry as well as Agatha, Susie’s nanny. All this characters were horrible and it made for fascinating reading as they all got their comeuppance.
Wonderfully written with a heartwarming story and engaging characters, ‘The Winter Promise’ is story of love and faith and is a delicious introduction to a new author and is perfect for people who enjoy sinking into riveting sagas.
You can buy ‘The Winter Promise’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.