St. Martin's, Aug 2004, 23.95, 352 pp.
Londoner Claudia Barron feels that this winter will never end as her life is gloom and doom caused by her husband, who is spending time in prison. From great wealth and position, Claudia is broke and looked at with ridicule from her former friends, the rich and famous. Needing to regain control of her shattered life following the betrayal, Claudia knows she must leave London to start fresh where no one knows her or her infamous spouse.
Claudia changes her name and relocates to Court Barton, a remote village in Dorset, where she buys an ugly bungalow because that is all she can afford. She obtains a job at the local school, but tries to stay low keyed and by herself. The glitter and glamour buried in London. However, as the BLACKTHORN WINTER provides a final seemingly endless April frost, the villagers wonder who the outsider really is and why she rusticating here when she is obviously big city glitz even as they draw her into the local grumbling society.
This entertaining contemporary tale stars a wounded protagonist fleeing from her “complex” failed urban life to the simpler existence of a small village. The story line focuses on Claudia's attempts to stay aloof more because she still hurts from the duplicity of her spouse and her subsequent fear of becoming involved. The locals are an eccentric crowd who readers see mostly through the “bias” of Claudia. Though the action is limited, fans of English village tales will enjoy the warmth that follows the BLACKTHORN WINTER.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner