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Sunday, October 9, 2011

All Psychosis Aside, Motherhood ~ "The Winters In Bloom" by Lisa Tucker

Published by:  Simon & Schuster
Pages:  288
Release Date:  Sept. 13, 2011
Genre:  Contempory Fiction, Women's Literature

Book Summary :

Together for over a decade, Kyra and David Winter are happier than they ever thought they could be.  They have a comfortable home, stable careers, and a young son, Michael, who they love more than anything.  Yet because of their complicated histories, Kyra and David have always feared that this domestic bliss couldn’t last - that the life they created was destined to be disrupted.  And on one perfectly average summer day, it is: Michael disappears from his own backyard.

The only question is whose past has finally caught up with them: David feels sure that Michael was taken by his troubled ex-wife, while Kyra believes the kidnapper must be someone from her estranged family, someone she betrayed years ago.

As the Winters embark on a journey of time and memory to find Michael, they will be forced to admit these suspicions, revealing secrets about themselves they’ve always kept hidden.  But they will also have a chance to discover that it’s not too late to have the family they’ve dreamed of; that even if the world is full of risks, as long as they have hope, the future can bloom.

Lyrical, wise, and witty, The Winters in Bloom is Lisa Tucker’s most optimistic work to date.  This enchanting, life-affirming story will charm readers and leave them full of wonder at the stubborn strength of the human heart.

The Bookish Dame Reports:

With all seriousness I tell you you'll need to set aside a day with no disturbances to read this book.  It's a compulsive read.  Of all the contemporary novels I've read this year, this is the one that kept me on my toes.  Haunting and horrifying in its sheer contemporary relevance, it just kept me reading at a pace I couldn't control.

In my early mothering days, I visited my young, corporate attorney husband's office one afternoon after having a particularly trying day with my strong-willed, 5 yr. old son. I was holding back tears, only to find he was in a meeting, when his older, wiser secretary, Vida came to my rescue.   Vida had been around the block a time or two.  She was grey-haired, tolerated no fools and was not one to be trifled with.  She sat me down and gave me the lesson of my life; one that's kept me going ever since.  She said, "Listen, you can't win with what you do with your children.  No matter what you do, they'll still go to the psychiatrist's office and tell him it's their mother's fault.  So, just what you think's best."  LOL
Jewish mother advice that's been wonderful for me!    In "The Winters In Bloom" we find that some of this philosophy was employed to very little avail.  Mothering is in short supply. Psychological mysteries of motherhood and psychosis run rampant in this novel.

From the perspectives of Kyra and Amy, two girls who were abandoned by their mother, to their niece and daughter respectively; as well as to the mystery of a young mother's death of a child, and the mother-in-law who crosses all their paths...we trace the mental anguish, complications and psychological disorders of sisterhood, being a wife, mothering and becoming a parent. 

The men involved in these relationships are colored by their intentions and interactions, but also are drawn with an awareness of contemporary roles and emotional integrity.  Refreshing, I might add, in literature nowadays.  'though for the most part, they remain silent and uninvolved.

These psychological studies, and the mystery of a child abduction that creates the tearing open of secrets everyone has worked long and hard to keep under wraps, is the crux of the story.  What is so compelling is Ms. Tucker's moving from one character to another in perspective.  Not only are we brought into the mysteries in this manner, but we need to discern the truth this way, ourselves.

Tucker slyly gives us a hint wrapped in text:  "Kant's "Test of the Universal Maxim: One way to judge if something is wrong to do is to think how it would feel if everyone did it."  is one way to determine if all of her characters are to blame in the whole scheme of things.   If we take in all of the information given on abandonment, sibling rivalry, insanity, betrayal, bullying, hyper-medical and parenting, lack of parenting, murder and more...where will we come out?

Have I said too much?  I don't think so.  You still have lots to ferret-out in this fabulous book.

5 American motherly notions of stars




Wow, that book sounds amazing! I doubt I'll ever have a whole day to read it, but I'd sure like to give it a try.

Teresa Cypher

Intrigued...great review. I think you left enough unsaid to tempt, but said enough to tempt...if that makes sense :-)

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