Midwinter by Fiona Melrose
The Last Word Review
At this time of year, I am extremely fortunate to see a beautiful fox most mornings on the field close to my home sometimes at close quarters and in the astonishing debut novel Midwinter by Fiona Melrose there is a fox on the stunning cover and also plays a part within the storyline itself.
This is a story of a father and son both living in Suffolk and the land is the work for they are farmers. A story of Landyn Midwinter and his son Vale. At the very core of this novel is Cecilia wife and mother. Some years before she died in horrifically while they were all living in Zambia and both father and son have to come to terms with their loss and it has been simmering beneath the surface now for too long.
To say that times are hard is an understatement, this is their home, their livelihood even their very existence. The competition is from bigger ventures trying to squeeze them off the land. This is their birthright, their heritage. For Landryn and Vale they are struggling not just in keeping the farm going in difficult economic times but trying to keep their emotions under control sometimes bubbles to the surface and the pair clash harshly and often. For Landryn the land is his solace where he can retreat to and on the farm there is fox and this fox plays a key role as the father finds he is drawn to the vixen and there is a bond between the two.
Midwinter is an incredibly beautiful book and for me it was hypnotic as I was drawn to the poetic prose of Fiona Melrose. It is a story of a tragic loss in horrific circumstances and what follows when communication breaks down as can happen. At times this story may seem brutal as we feel helpless to act for father and son and also as Landryn faces economic ruin as bankruptcy stalks the farm as he tries desperately to save their heritage.
The way in which Melrose tells the story of both Landryn and Vale from both their perspectives and how they both deal with grief and pain as well as how they deal with each other is portrayed brilliantly you can almost smell the earth at the turn of every page and this is also the case with her descriptions of the land of Suffolk and Zambia, it is a story to hold onto in its refreshing honesty of life that is the human despair as we witness Vale resorting to finding the answers in drink. Of course the answers never are here they just manifest and get out of control.
Midwinter is a book I am delighted to recommend it is a book for dark winters evenings. It is a book to treasure and would be ideal one day to see this on the small screen. It really is that good. An incredible debut novel.
Fiona Melrose is already hard at work on her second novel and I for one look forward to seeing how she follows this.
Thank you to Corsair Books and Jo Unwin for the advanced review copy.
Midwinter by Fiona Melrose is published by Corsair and is now available in Hardback through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.