Monday, 9 January 2017

Book Review - The Winter Folly by Lulu Taylor - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #48 - #AroundTheUKIn144Books #Dorset

Amazon UK
Title: The Winter Folly
Author: Lulu Taylor
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Pan
Publication Date: 5th December 2013
Rating: 4 Stars

In this house there are many secrets . . .

It is 1965 and young Alexandra Crewe obediently marries the man her father has selected for her. But very soon both she and her husband Laurence realize that their marriage is a disaster. When real love finds Alexandra, plucking her out of her unhappy existence, she is powerless to resist. Her home becomes Fort Stirling, a beautiful Dorset castle, but Alexandra fears that there will be a price to pay for this wonderful new life. When tragedy strikes, it seems that her punishment has come, and there is only one way she can atone for her sins . . .

In the present day, Delilah Young is the second wife of John Stirling and the new chatelaine of Fort Stirling. The house seems to be a sad one and Delilah hopes to fill it with life and happiness. But when she attempts to heal the heartbreak in John's life, it seems that the forces of the past might be too strong for her. Why does John have such a hatred for the old folly on the hill, and what happened to his mother when she vanished from his life? As Delilah searches for the truth, she realizes that perhaps some secrets are better left buried . . .

I really wasn't sure what to think of The Winter Folly at first. The prologue was a nice taster but it was the first chapter that really intrigued me, as to the story of Alex and John. But then the next chapter was set in the present, and the following was back in the past, but further back than the first chapter, so I realised I was going to have to learn what led to those first moments. 

For the majority of the book, the chapters have alternated between two timelines where it has seemed like history is perhaps repeating itself, from the story of one generation in the 1960s, and also the present day storyline. It is the story of two generations of the Stirling family, who live in Fort Stirling, Dorset. 

I am generally not a massive fan of these time slip time stories, and I often try my hardest not to read anything that I know is set in history, however I bought this book at a time where I had loved Lulu Taylor's first four books and was curious to see what her new direction would bring, and before my feelings on this sort of storytelling became as clear to me. 

As a result I found the book quite slow to get into, however it soon became apparent that most of it was vital so that you knew the characters well, and the back story of them properly, so that when the book really got going in Part Two, it became better and better. 

By the time I reached the last part of the story, I was utterly hooked and ended up having to finish it in that same sitting. What had started slow, was a book I was glad I persevered with, as I thoroughly enjoyed everything from around the 60% mark onwards. 

It's not that I thought the first 60% was bad or anything, I could tell it was well written and that the author really can tell a tale, but it just wasn't quite to my taste or style preferences. I think it also bugged me slightly that I was enjoying the older generation story, slightly more than the younger, but I was loving how everything came together. 

The Winter Folly turns into a marvellous family drama, fuelled with decades old secrets and mysteries, which Delilah in the present is determined to unravel. 

Fort Stirling, was described in such a way that I had a strong feel about the place, and just how it could suck a persons energy. It is a rather large property and it was one that sort of took on a life of its own.  In the early part of the book I was struck by the descriptions of Alexandra's marriage to Laurence, and just how different things must have been in the sixties especially in the bedroom department. Their wedding night really did leave an impression on me. 

Despite my initial misgivings I am incredibly glad that I have finally read The Winter Folly, after its been on my kindle for a few years, and its re-awakened in me, my love of Lulu Taylor books. 

Thank you to everyone that voted for the more seasonal choice of The Winter Folly instead of the summery books. The book didn't really have much to do with winter as such, but I completely understand why you would pick it for me at the start of January, and I'm really glad that was it was a voted for book, I made sure I continued past the slow start to get to the really good bits. 


  1. Very thoughtful review, Rachel. I need to look up this author as I know nothing about her.

    1. Thank you Chris. She is one very talented author.

  2. Really enjoyed this book and your review Rachel!


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