Little, Brown, Dec 2002, 24.95, 394 pp.
Fiftyish Hannie Bennet has been a wife four times. After the recent death of her latest, Hannie leaves her teenage son Joss in Africa so that she can go prospecting unhindered for numero five. Ironically at a wedding, she meets elderly international reporter Ned Renvyle. He offers her a marriage of convenience in which she would be his companion on his remote Irish farm near Youghal and she and her son would no longer have to worry about finances. They marry and move to his home and her son joins them.
Hannie hates the isolation and acts withdrawn with her husband and the villagers. Quickly, everyone detests her scorn and hatred begins to take shape towards the outsider refusing to fit in. Worse, as Josh behaves destructively, Hannie deceives her spouse and the townsfolk trying to hide a secret that could destroy everything she strives to achieve even when threatened by blackmail and violence.
A WINTER MARRIAGE is a tremendous contemporary relationship drama with deep moral roots that will surprise the audience not looking for subtle, multiple meaning allusions such as the title with several interpretations. Hannie is a wonderful protagonist whose morality seems lowly, but keep digging to see more to her soul. Ned and Joss enable the audience to observe their personal problems as well as providing an electron microscope level of depth into the heart of Hannie. Yet with all that emphasis on character, the story line never slows down until the final truths are bared. Kerry Hardie provides a strong novel that entertains the audience yet the basic themes never waver.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner