A Week in Winter: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview


Any reader who has ever fallen in love with a house will understand the attraction of Moorgate, a light-and-fresh-air-filled old farmhouse on the edge of the moor in Cornwall. The enchanting house now belongs to seventy-something Maudie Todhunter, the late Lord Todhunter's free-spirited second wife. (The first wife, Hilda, was supposedly a paragon of virtue, and Maudie has always felt second-best.) The light of Maudie's life is her vivacious stepgranddaughter, Posy, who begs Maudie to board a giant English ...
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A Week in Winter: A Novel

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Overview


Any reader who has ever fallen in love with a house will understand the attraction of Moorgate, a light-and-fresh-air-filled old farmhouse on the edge of the moor in Cornwall. The enchanting house now belongs to seventy-something Maudie Todhunter, the late Lord Todhunter's free-spirited second wife. (The first wife, Hilda, was supposedly a paragon of virtue, and Maudie has always felt second-best.) The light of Maudie's life is her vivacious stepgranddaughter, Posy, who begs Maudie to board a giant English mastiff whom Posy's mean-spirited mother has banned from the house. (The large and ungainly Polonius is an impossibly lovable canine who outshines Lassie by a mile and is destined to become a favorite of readers worldwide.)

When Maudie decides to sell Moorgate, all kinds of old family secrets come to light, and so the saga begins. Along the way, Rob, the contractor of Moorhouse, falls in love with a woman who has a sad secret. Posy's father falls in love with someone kinder than his shrewish wife. Maudie must reevaluate someone she'd fallen in love with years ago. And as the connections intertwine between the past and the present, many unexpected alliances form.

Vivid, lushly written, and entirely unforgettable, this all-absorbing novel provides the kind of abundant reading experience that will leave readers eagerly looking forward to more from this newly discovered and superbly talented author. A Week in Winter achieves a combined richness of character and circumstance that raises it above most modern contemporary fiction, and Marcia Willett is a writer to discover and to celebrate.


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Editorial Reviews

Victoria Magazine
...captivating...will evoke for readers—and not unintentionally—Rosamund Pilcher's The Shell Seekers...
Publishers Weekly
When a publisher declares that it is attempting to replicate the success of Rosamunde Pilcher, it becomes fair game, requiring readers to assess the accuracy of such a claim. The Shell Seekers was Pilcher's blockbuster American debut, following the mild success of a string of slight, light romances in her native England. Similar backstory and hopes follow Willett, whose saga revolves around a matriarch and a house. Now in her 70s and widowed, Maudie Todhunter decides to sell Moorgate, the family farmhouse in Cornwall. Opposing her is stepdaughter Selina, who has never forgiven Maudie for marrying her father after the death of her beloved mother 30 years earlier. Two romantic subplots and a few family secrets waiting to come out can't save this thin, treacly fare, in which even the lone antagonist eventually develops a heart. Though Maudie herself is appealing, she simply isn't an intriguing enough heroine to center a novel on, since most of her time is spent obsessing about the past and talking to her dog. Willett is no Pilcher and her American debut is no Shell Seekers, but if the publisher is correct in assuming that in these troubled times readers are in the mood to curl up with the literary equivalent of a hot-water bottle, this title should satisfy its target market. Major ad/promo. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Moorgate, a farmhouse owned by widow Maudie Todhunter and situated on the edge of Cornwall's Bodmin Moor, is the central character of this charming story. The secondary, human characters revolve around the house; they are buyers, sellers, and renovators, all enchanted by the rural English estate. It is the scene of trysts and dreams and broken hearts, as two couples fall in love at Moorgate and the ashes of one lover are eventually scattered there. In addition, a family friend unearths an old deception related to the house that changes the lives of the characters forever. Matriarch Maudie, who can no longer afford to keep Moorgate herself, is a strong, attractive character, and her stepfamily figures prominently in the plot. English writer Willett, who has published several books in her native country, makes her stateside debut with this story of domestic issues. The publisher is giving this book a big push, knowing that there are scores of readers who will be charmed by Willett's style. Highly recommended for public libraries everywhere. Carol J. Bissett, New Braunfels P.L., TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A genteel squabble over a Cornwall farmhouse, featuring a cast of many. Maud Todhunter is a diplomat's widow who's left to cope with her dead husband's numerous offspring whether she wants to or not (she was Hector's second wife and they had no children). She wants to sell Moorgate, the fine old house he left her, and retire alone to a small cottage in Devon. But Moorgate holds so many memories, complains Selina, one of Hector's daughters by his first wife, Hilda, that perfect mother who loved to iron-and knit, and polish doorknobs-and whom Maud still resents even though she's now been dead for more than 30 years. Selina has never forgiven Maud for taking her mother's place, and has never shut up about it either. But Posy, her own charming daughter, loves her stepgrandmother, despite Selina's sneering disapproval. And Patrick, Selina's husband, a noble soul, stopped loving his selfish, condescending wife long ago and is having an affair with Mary, a warmhearted woman who struggles to care for her paralyzed son and infirm parents. Enter Mike, a successful novelist and playwright whose actress wife left him and their infant son to make it big in Hollywood. Mike's sister Melissa helps him care for little Luke, even though she has inoperable cancer. Radiantly lovely nonetheless, she falls in love with Moorgate and its rugged caretaker, Rob, not telling him that she is near death so she can enjoy her last few weeks of life to the utmost. Mike and Posy soon pair off, as he notes her "durability," which he finds "enormously attractive." Then Maud's dearest friend Daphne reveals a devastating secret regarding Hector, causing the old ladies to sip their tea just a little faster and ponder themeaning of it all. Stodgy, colorless family drama, despite all the soapy complications and armchair psychology.
From the Publisher
"Fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy will definitely applaud the introduction of such an enjoyable writer."

Booklist

"A charming story. . . highly recommended for public libraries everywhere."

Library Journal

"A Week in Winter has all the elements of a perfect summer book. . . it's thoroughly engrossing, with richly drawn characters, a mysterious locale, and a beautifully crafted plot. . . the perfect addition to your summer beach tote."

The Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

"Captivating. . . . Set in a wild Cornish landscape that will evoke for readers Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, Willett is a true discovery."

—Michelle Slung, Victoria Magazine

"Like Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy, Willett creates such fully dimensional characters that readers feel as if they should phone or e-mail them to keep in touch."

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)

"It is a wonderful moving story of family and values set in the English countryside. It is very reminiscent of the novels of Pilcher and Binchy. I am so glad Ms. Willett is following in their footsteps!" — Marilyn Sieb, Books & Company

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429954556
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2002
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 136,140
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Born in Somerset, in the west country of England, on the day the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Marcia Willett was the youngest of five girls. Her family was unconventional and musical, but Marcia chose to train as a ballet dancer. Unfortunately her body did not develop with the classical proportions demanded by the Royal Ballet, so she studied to be a ballet teacher. Her first husband was a naval officer in the submarine service, with whom she had a son, Charles, now married and training to be a clergyman. Her second husband, Rodney, himself a writer and broadcaster, encouraged Marcia to write novels. She has published several novels in England; A Week in Winter is the first to be published in the United States.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Maudie Todhunter poured herself some coffee, sliced the top neatly from her egg, and settled herself to look at her letters. A rather promising selection lay aside her plate this morning: a satisfyingly bulky package from the Scotch House, a blue square envelope beaing her stepgranddaughter's spiky writing, and a more businesslike missive stamped with an estate agent's logo--which she placed at the bottom of the pile. She slit open Posy's card with the butter knife and propped it against the marmalade before plunging her spoon into the rich golden yok of her boiled egg...

--from A Week in Winter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    not usually my type of book

    wow i picked up this book and lost myself. this is not the type of book i would usually read. i am now on my third marcia willett book all as good as this one. it will have you laughing and crying DO NOT MISS!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    I didn't want this book to end!

    Such a wonderful story. I could feel the warmth of the fireplace and wanted to sit in the window seat overlooking the moor. I wanted to buy Moorgate! This story reminded me of Rosamunde Pilcher's writing. I can't wait for more from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    well-written English extended family drama

    Widow Maudie Todhunter sadly realizes she can not longer manage the two homes Hector left to her so she plans to sell her country estate Moorgate. She had hoped to give the estate, which is the entrance to the Scottish Moors, to her cherished stepgranddaughter Posey, but knows that is now impossible. <P>Several people show an interest in Moorgate. Her resentful stepdaughter Selina who never accepted Maudie as her father¿s second wife reminds her that the family has had many joyful memories especially with Hector¿s first perfect wife. Ironically Selina may detest Maudie, but her own daughter loves her stepgrandmother and wants Maudie to do whatever is best for her. Building restorer Rob Abbot loves the place after spending joyful hours working there. Melissa Clayton finds peace and love on the estate while battling deadly cancer. Others too express an interest. Maudie accompanied by Polonius her giant English mastiff begins to learn ugly secrets that destroys all of her dreams of the past and present. <P>Though a well-written English extended family drama, this relationship tale feels as if Cecil B. DeMille cast the characters. The audience feels some of the tension they cause to the star, but they move in and out and back in before the reader has a chance to truly meet any of them. Though this leads to feeling a bit of tea and sympathy towards Maudie for coping with the mob. Marcia Willet is clearly a talented author, but only the diehard English relationship fan will want to spend a soapy WEEK IN WINTER trying to keep tabs on this crowd. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Nice balance of happy & Sad

    This book would fall under the catagory of Cozy.

    I read this author's book "The Courtyard" and loved her writing.
    Good charactors, interesting stories, and peaceful reading.

    I usually read Murder mysteries & courtroom dramas. These books are a nice change of pace.

    I intend to read her other books.

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining & not predictable

    This is the first time I've read a book from this author. I enjoyed the book, especially since much of it was not predictable- which I personally find refreshing!Compared to how the book began, I found the ending creative relative to the Epilogue. I will be watching for more of Marcia Willett's books in the future. I definitely would recommend this book for a discussion group as, I think, many people could relate to the personalities of the characters and situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2003

    A Very Comforting Read

    For a first novel, Marcia Willet comes out on top. As an admirer of Rosamude Pilcher, I feel this is a writer very reminiscent of her. Same comfy feeling, same characters who you slowly get to know, and a book, most importantly, which you hate to see end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2003

    A Most Satisfying Read

    I couldn't put it down. The characters are so rich and carefully drawn, so well fleshed out, leaving the feeling that you've known each of them personally. The story line kept me reading through the night. This author's work reminds me of Maeve Binchy's stories. When you are finished you feel as though you've had a full and satisfying read.

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    Posted July 6, 2011

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    Posted December 14, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

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