Saturday, 25 November 2017

Book Review - Ours Is The Winter by Laurie Ellingham

Amazon UK
Title:  Ours Is The Winter
Author: Laurie Ellingham
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: 17th November 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

I don't know about you but I have never read a book set in the Arctic before. I have never read a book that features an immense sledding challenge that will test everyone to their limits, I wasn't even aware such experiences existed.  It was because these elements of the blurb jumped out at me that I have been desperate to read it from the moment I first heard about the book. 

And... what an epic story, it may only take place over a week but what an action packed and gripping week it was. Even when I wasn't reading Ours Is The Winter my head was with the characters in The Arctic, and I suspect I will be dreaming of huskies and sledding this evening, as the book has got under my skin that much. 

I will admit at times I thought I had small inklings as to where the book was going, but even if on a few of those occasions I was right with the basics, the more important and relevant details were a complete shock to me. 

Everyone on the challenge has their own reasons for being there, but the book features three main characters and the focus keeps switching between the three. They are all hiding various things, but the specifics are initially left for the reader to speculate on themselves. 

Erica is hoping to reconnect with her half sister Molly on this trip. They haven't been close for a while since a tragic accident affected the whole family. Molly used to want to be an Olympic athlete but is now just lost.  Then there is Noah who has his own demons to face. 

The three of them form bonds in the most unlikely of ways over the course of the week.  Their backstories were all well thought out and I loved discovering more about them. 

Then there was the sledding itself, which was clearly incredibly well researched, I felt as though I was alongside the trio as they were sledding. I loved the various names of each team of huskies, as well as the descriptions of the landscape and cold. 

This is just one of those books that edged under my skin very early on in the story and I suspect will stay wedged for a long while to come.  This is the second Laurie Ellingham book I have read this year, and although I thought One Endless Summer was impressive and amazing,  I think that Ours Is The Winter is significantly better still, which takes some doing. 

Thank you so much to HQ Digital and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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