Winter Haven

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Overview

A remote island shrouded in heavy mist and cloaked in secrecy...

Thirteen years ago, Siggy Gamble ran away from home, never to be found?until his body washes ashore on the tiny island of Winter Haven off the coast of Maine. Now his sister, Vera, travels north to claim the body and finds herself tangled in the impossible.

Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.

Determined to uncover the cause of ...

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Overview

A remote island shrouded in heavy mist and cloaked in secrecy...

Thirteen years ago, Siggy Gamble ran away from home, never to be found—until his body washes ashore on the tiny island of Winter Haven off the coast of Maine. Now his sister, Vera, travels north to claim the body and finds herself tangled in the impossible.

Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.

Determined to uncover the cause of Siggy's mysterious end, Vera soon learns there are many secrets haunting the island—tales of lost colonies, a witch bent on revenge, and a towering forest where no creature dares to live. Hemmed in by unearthly fog and distrusted by the locals, Vera's only ally is the owner of a grand but dilapidated mansion poised on a rocky cliff. Will her desperate questions find answers, or will Winter Haven claim yet one more dark legend?

"Dickson's engrossing and taut novel pulls readers into the life of Vera and her quest."

—Library Journal (starred review)

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Editorial Reviews

Fark BookshelfReview.com
Athol Dickson is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Winter Haven is further proof of the depth of his talent and his storytelling ability. At its core this is a mystery novel, yet it is so much more. Dickson treats us to a wonderfully drawn story that includes suspense, chills, a hint of romance, and a search for spiritual truth that will resonate with the reader long after the last line.
—Jake Chism
ArmchairInterviews.com
Athol Dickson has scored a winner with Winter Haven. It is dark and haunting and reminiscent of stories like Rebecca and Wuthering Heights but with God at the center. It is also beautiful and hopeful.... It is my favorite book of 2008 thus far.
—Andrea Sisco
Romantic Times
TOP PICK! 4.5 stars Nothing is as it seems in this novel by a gifted writer. Readers will be swept along with the suspense and paranormal elements, and they'll still be guessing until the last paragraph.
Fark RoadtoRomance.ca
This is a wonderful suspense with twists and turns sure to hold the readers attention to the end. There is mystery as well with elements of the paranormal. I highly recommended this book.
—Patsy Glans
Fark FaithfulReader.com
In Winter Haven, master storyteller Athol Dickson returns to Maine, the setting of his last novel, The Cure, to spin the sort of hair-raising tale of suspense his readers have come to expect and enjoy.... Dickson pens some great eerie scenes ... This evocative writing makes following the storyline a pleasure. Christian readers will also appreciate the abundant faith themes throughout.... Winter Haven is an absorbing suspense novel from one of Christian fiction's most engaging writers.
—Cindy Crosby
Library Journal

When Vera Gamble learns that her brother Siggy's body has been found, years after his disappearance, on the shores of Winter Haven, ME, she travels to the remote island to claim it. In examining the corpse, Vera is startled to discover that her brother had not aged since he disappeared. She also learns there are mysterious island legends about an uninhabited forest and supernatural entities out for revenge. Christy Award winner Dickson's (River Rising) engrossing and taut novel pulls readers into the life of Vera and her quest to find out what happened to her little brother. Highly recommended for all collections.


—Tamara Butler
Spartanburg Herald-Journal - Staff Review
Athol Dickson's new novel, RIVER RISING, elevates the tiny, isolated Mississippi bayou town of Pilotsville, La., to the Gethsemane of 1927...a compelling read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764206566
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Athol Dickson studied painting, sculpture, and architecture at the university level followed by a 20-year career as an architect. He is the author of five novels including River Rising, winner of the 2006 Christy Award for Suspense, and The Cure. Dickson has also written the bestselling memoir The Gospel According to Moses. He and his wife, Sue, live in Laguna Beach, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Search Beyond Mythic Truth!

    Siggy Gamble is an autistic, savant teen who disappears, leaving behind an awful wound in his sister, Vera, one that is about to be reopened thirteen years later as she learns his body has been found washed up, dead and forlorn on a Maine island. Apparently, there is much to be be feared by Vera as she has shut out the awful experiences she has whenever she allows herself to think too long or dream about her long-lost brother. But love for her sibling prevails and she leaves behind the comfort of her accountant job in which she can lose herself in predictable numbers in order to forget the huge weight of unexplainable memories, visions and prophetic-style warnings that offer nothing but horrific oblivion.

    The island's atmosphere in people, topography and attitudes has a distinctly ghostly ambience, one not offering comfort to a grieving Vera. Instead, she find her brother's body has not aged in the thirteen years he's been missing and he is clutching an artifact associated with his childhood love of Vikings and mythological figures, as well as the tag he wore at all times announcing "I am not dangerous." At a bed and breakfast house where Vera stays, she is warned to stay away from the area where her brother's body was found. Indeed, the more she searches for answers the darker the mystery becomes.

    Vera's father was a faith healer and the only way Siggy could communicate was by way of Bible verses. In the middle of her memories and fearful search for answers about her brother's life and death, Vera struggles as well with her belief and unbelief in a God who called for unquestioning faith yet seemed totally absent in so many ways around her tortured upbringing. She meets Ethan but is unsure whether he is friend or fiend in the haunted atmosphere of this very unfriendly place.

    Winter Haven, a 2009 Christy Award finalist, is a Gothic tale reminiscent of the Daphne DuMaurier novels this reviewer read so many years ago. Athol Dickson is a master at providing just enough twists and turns in the central conflict and surrounding them with the darkest, direst atmosphere possible to totally engulf the reader into this strange, twisted and yet enlightened world!

    Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on September 6, 2009

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Compelling, intriguing...

    Winter Haven starts with intrigue and never lets up until the very end. I found this book particularly fascinating because Vera's lost brother had autism and the author goes into some childhood memories that were very well done. And the dysfunction in Vera's family that she experienced growing up was powerful. What worse thing could happen to a preacher/healer than to have two children that he couldn't heal? Can you imagine the conflict? Needless to say it definitely hurt Vera in permanent ways. Plus the island was downright spooky. I even read some chapters out loud because they were that freaky. Don't read this book at night. Trust me, you'll have trouble sleeping. But the tension was great and the mysterious islanders and those crazy legends will leave you tense until you find out what the deal is with that place. The ending of the story was weird, yet satisfying as it did explain some things. All I can say is this author has a fabulous imagination and understands insanity and dysfunction well. But not everything is in Vera's head. To find out what I mean you'll have to read the book. That's all I'm saying. :)

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a good old fashion gothic mystery

    Siggy was fifteen years old when he left home his sister Vera Gamble blames herself for his disappearance. She believes she suffers from hallucinations, but outgrows them as she got older because she no longer thought of her vanished severely autistic brother who only spoke in biblical quotes. One day while she at work she receives a call that Siggy¿s body washed up on the Maine barrier island Winter Haven.---------- As she approaches the island by boat, the fog that engulfs it gives Winter Haven an eerie appearance. When the constable shows her Siggy¿s body, Vera is shocked as he has not aged at all he still looks like the teen who left home years ago. When she mentions this to the constable, the cop refuses to allow Vera to take the body home. Vera rents a room at a B&B and explores the island. She hears strange thumping noises like an axe splitting wood and sees with her peripheral vision a dark figure who disappears before she can fully focus. In town it rains black stones on her only and she hears hissing sounds that no one else seems to hear. Vera wonders if she is going crazy or is there a logical explanation to the happenings.-------------- WINTER HAVEN is a good old fashion gothic mystery complete with a brooding love interest for Vera even though her landlady warns her against getting involved with him. Vera is a fine character who believes she is ungodly and part crazy. Life on a small island is vividly described especially how the residents thrive on their isolation, which adds to the eerie atmosphere. Fans will enjoy stopping at Winter Haven as long as Athol Dickson guides us.--------- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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