Winter in Full Bloom

Winter in Full Bloom

4.7 41
by Anita Higman
     
 

Embark on a flight with Lily as she faces her secret fear and lands in the precise spot that God intended all along.

Lily’s life changes in a heartbeat when a fiery confrontation with her mother uncovers a mystery about her totally dysfunctional family, sending Lily on a panicky flight around the world to get answers.

But she gets more than

Overview

Embark on a flight with Lily as she faces her secret fear and lands in the precise spot that God intended all along.

Lily’s life changes in a heartbeat when a fiery confrontation with her mother uncovers a mystery about her totally dysfunctional family, sending Lily on a panicky flight around the world to get answers.

But she gets more than she expected in Melbourne when a serendipitous meeting sparks a friendship with a man who is more than just another brazen Aussie. She discovers that he might hold the key to her past. Lily hopes her homecoming will lead to a long-awaited reconciliation with her mother; then again, it might just crush the one dream she no longer imagined possible—the chance to fall in love again.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Imagine being raised by a mother who always remains distanced and restrained, even into your adulthood.  Imagine a mother who doesn't rejoice and melt into an emotional mess when you make her a grandmother.  Imagine a grandmother who doesn't dote as your only child grows strong, beautiful, kind as she approaches her teens.  As the years pass and the rift between the two of you grows, a rift you've never understood, would you try one more time for answers, or would you just dismiss your previous life as something done and over?

Many of us would bury that past and embrace the work, child, and faith that have brought security and happiness to our lives, even if that life was scarred.  Lily, however, decides to confront her mother one more time... You must read Anita Higman's new contemporary novel Winter in Full Bloom, a suspenseful story about family, and the difficulties of overcoming mistakes made in the past.  You'll be caught up in Lily's questions that surround the unknown and the rush to find answers, as well as the emotional fragility of the other sister abandoned years before by her mother. 

...a delightfully, imaginative journey, peppered with surprises, wit, and well, good writing."

-Review by Sue Wendt

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman, I enjoyed this book. The setting in Australia made it more interesting. Although some parts of it were predictable, the author did manage to surprise me with some of the twists of the plot. I enjoyed the unfolding story and the revelation of the author’s characters. I would recommend this to those readers who enjoy a novel laced with some romance.  4 out of 5 Stars

-Review by Karen Britton, Net Galley, October 19, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman is a story about how Lily Winter learns to let go of her fears and hurts and experiences living. You will fall in love with the characters and laugh and cry with them. I could imagine each and every place that was mentioned it this book. I have read several of Anita Higman’s book and I love her writing style, whether it be in her non-fiction as well as her fiction books.  Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

-Review by Rebecca Lewis, Librarian, October 24, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom is a story of how people respond to the hurts they experience in their lives. Sadly, they were hurt – mostly – by family members, the very people they should have been able to trust. As a result, they’ve become something less than they were created to be, often with a lack of self-worth. . . I totally understood the relationship between Lily and her mother due to circumstances in my life. But the biggest ‘lesson’ I took from this novel was about trust and learning to trust again. We need to take a flying leap (pun intended) as Lily did, and let His arms catch us. If you’re looking for a beautiful novel about a life reborn, I heartily recommend this one.

--Proverbial Reads, August 27, 2013

"The cover on Winter in Full Bloom is absolutely the most beautiful cover I have ever seen. To add to that, if you move it under a light, you can see the snow falling ~ if you have a little of Irish wonder, that is!

...I really like how the back story is written, telling the passenger across the aisle on the long airplane crossing to Melbourne. A seasoned traveler, young Jenny replaces the jitters of flight for Lily Winter by listening to the remembering and experience of the telling. Lily gets settled in her hotel and immediately goes to St. Paul's Cathedral; the only clue she has to locate her sister. As she is pondering in the park, perchance another "Texan" arrives...

Marcus mentions he attends services at St. Paul's and does some volunteer work for them ~ which would put him there at irregular hours too. But... sleuthville ~ IF he knew of Lily's sister, who happens to be her identical twin from description given her, wouldn't he have called her "Camille"?

I am sure you will want to find out too how this emerges. Will she go back to Texas empty-hearted or... is Melbourne her new city?"

-Kathleen E. Belongia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802405807
Publisher:
Moody Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Winter in Full Bloom


By Anita Higman, Cheryl Molin

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Anita Higman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0580-7


CHAPTER 1

I sat on a 747, trying to talk myself out of a panic attack.

The jet still sat on the tarmac, but already I could imagine—in electrifying detail—the fiery crash and then the watery pull into the briny depths of the Pacific Ocean. Lord, have mercy. What had I been thinking?

Fool that I was, I'd left the sanctuary of my own home, which was safe, and hygienically clean, I might add, to board this death trap. Too late now. I'd taken a leave of absence from work, stopped the mail, given all my indoor plants to my neighbor, and said a dozen goodbyes to my daughter, Julie. The trip was set in stone—the igneous kind that the geologists liked to talk about at work.

While I sat there sweating, my mind got out its magnifying glass to examine my inner motives. All in all, the journey had a grab bag full of miseries attached to it. For me, getting on the plane proved that my empty nest had driven me over the edge like the biblical herd of pigs. Since my Julie had left the house, was I trying to find a person to fill that void ... that vacant place at the table ... the perpetual silence of the house and the clocks, ticking away the rest of my tedious life? Probably. And yet finding my sister in Australia would be no less than wonderful, whether Julie was at home or not.

I looked out the small plane window at the heavens with my anxious puppy dog eyes and could almost hear the Almighty chuckling. Yes, I know, God. I must keep You entertained.

But back to the fear at hand. I rechecked my seat belt and pulled it so snugly I felt my pulse throbbing in my legs. My stomach busied itself doing the fandango. What had I eaten in the airport? A double bean burrito with a side of green chilies. Not a good travel choice. Did I already have motion sickness? The plane hadn't even taken off yet. If I were to exit the plane right now, would they give me a refund? Probably not. I'd already used the restroom, crumpled the magazines, and troubled the flight attendant for a ginger ale. Lord, I need a friend. I need backup.

"You have to ask yourself: what am I most afraid of?" It was the voice of a child.

I turned toward the sound. "Excuse me?" Straight across the aisle sat a child no bigger than a thimble—a girl with moon-shaped eyes, a Pooh Bear T-shirt, and a wad of gum she was chomping as if it were a lump of tough meat. Surely this child isn't backup, Lord. I think God enjoys showing off His sense of humor.

"You're scared to fly. Right? I was too, but I got over it." The girl blew a bubble and let the purple gum pop all over her face. She gathered up the gum and put it back in her mouth for another round.

"How can you tell that I'm afraid to fly?"

"All that sweat. Dead giveaway. And you look like you've just swallowed a Boogie Board." She exploded into giggles.

I had no idea what a Boogie Board was. And in spite of the silliness the kid talked as if she were thirty, although she couldn't be more than nine or ten. I had to know her secret—how she managed to rise above her fears. And something about her little turned-up nose and soft brown eyes reminded me of Julie when she was little. "And so how did you get over it ... the fear of flying?"

The girl looked at me, her big eyes gobbling me up. She lost all the playfulness when she said, "I watched my grandma die of cancer. Her body stopped working, but she was still in there. It was a bad way to die. When I get old I don't want to go to heaven that way. Maybe dying on a plane isn't so bad. I mean, I know God doesn't ask us, but we might as well give Him a list of our pref—choices."

I wasn't sure if her reasoning reassured me or alarmed me, but I leaned toward her and said, "I'm sorry about your grandmother."

"Yeah, me too. She always played dolls and Maria Kart with me. Every kid needs a grandma like mine."

"So true." If only my Julie would have had a grandma like that. When the girl said no more I turned my attention back to the plane, which now taxied toward the runway. My body wanted to flee. Each time I took in air it didn't seem to be enough, so I breathed in more.

Did I smell fuel? My head went so buzzy I'd only heard half of the flight attendant's speech. What was that about oxygen masks and exit doors and life vests? Oh, my. I fanned my face.

I clutched at my heart, which was now beating itself to death. Would I pass out? Throw up? Go crazy? All the above? The cabin felt like a cauldron. Maybe the air conditioner was malfunctioning. Maybe deep within the belly of the plane other more important electrical devices were failing. Things that kept the plane aloft—things that kept us from plummeting to the earth in a fiery heap. I mashed my damp bangs away from my face.

"Just so ya know ..." The little girl crossed her legs. "I also found out that you can't die of a panic attack."

Her tone came off so pragmatic I looked at her again just to make sure the words were coming out of her petite mouth. "How do you know I was having a panic attack?"

She cocked her little Freudian head at me. "Classic symptoms."

Who was this kid? And where were her parents? I unbuckled my seat belt. "I don't think I can do this." I jumped up and bumped my head on the overhead storage.

"We're about to take off," the girl said with maddening calmness.

I collapsed back onto the seat and rubbed my throbbing head. The contents of my stomach threatened mutiny. "I'm going to be sick."

"Here." The girl handed me a little folded bag. "It's a fresh one. Never been used."

I was in a tin can with wings, and there was no way out. The plane took off then. I gripped the armrest as the jet tilted upward at a steep angle. I was now officially airborne. My body felt a little weightless, but it might have been because I was sitting on the buckle of my seat belt, which made my posterior go numb.

"Know what? You remind me of Eeyore."

It was that kid again. How could anyone make chitchat at a time like this?

I said nothing to her, since I was busy concentrating on my terror, the vibration of my seat, and the roar of the jet. After she glared at me for a full minute, I asked, "Why do you say I remind you of Eeyore?"

"You're wearing Eeyore clothes, and it's almost spring where we're going," she singsonged as if she couldn't imagine anyone so ill-informed.

I'd forgotten. If it's nearing autumn in America it's almost springtime in Australia. I'd barely thought of it. Perhaps the girl was right about my connection to Eeyore. Wait a minute. Did Eeyore even wear clothes?

"Just so ya know ... taking off and landing are the two most treach—"

"Do you mean treacherous?"

"Yeah. That's it. Those are the two most treach-er-ous parts of the flight." The girl wiggled her eyebrows while continuing to thrash on the wad of gum. "If we were going to die, it would have been back there. Of course, we could also crash on landing."

"Good to know. Thanks." I continued to grip the armrests since I was somehow convinced that my gesture helped the pilots keep the plane in the air.

"Just so ya know, I'm Jenny." The girl held out her hand. "What's your name?"

"Mrs. Winter." I let go of one of the armrests to shake her hand. "You may call me Lily."

"So, why was it so important for you to get on this flight?" The dainty psychiatrist turned her big, round eyes at me again. "Talking about it might help."

"Oh it's a very long tale of woe. I'd hate to bore you."

"Hey, what else have we got to do? It's better than thinking about our plane catching fire and bashing into the sea." Her finger made a little nosedive into her palm.

Cute. "True." But I feared the telling of my story would be my undoing. Where could I begin, anyway? Maybe with the visit I'd had with my mother. "Are you sure you want to hear this?"

She nodded her head with wild abandon.

"Well, okay. My dark story starts with a recent visit I made to my mother's house. It'd been ten years since the last time I'd seen my mother."

Jenny pursed her lips. "Nobody does that. Everybody has to see their mom, right?"

"Well, it certainly wasn't my choice. But when I got to my mother's house, the visit turned out to be as shocking as sticking my finger into a light socket." I frowned. "Don't ever do that, by the way."

"I know." Jenny rolled her eyes. "I'm not a child."

"Right. Okay. Well, in my story I also meet a woman named Dragan."

She giggled. "Sounds like dragon."

"True. Dragan was my mother's housekeeper, and believe me, her name fit her well."

Jenny sat up poised, resting her cheek on her index finger. "I wanna know more." She smacked her gum, waiting for me to go on.

"All right." Lord, be with me. I rested my head back on the seat, inviting the memory of that infamous day into my life.

First a jumbled mess of sensations trickled in, making me shudder. Then mist burned my eyes, thinking of Mother's notorious secret and a lifetime of deception. The smarmy residue from being in her house stole over me like a dark slithering fog. Soon that day—the one that changed my life—began to unfold in my mind, so intensely that the remembering and the telling of my story became one and the same....

CHAPTER 2

Standing at my mother's front door, the seconds ticked by like a hundred frenzied clocks. I glanced around the old place, trying to ignore the negative self-talk in my head and Houston's sweltering August heat, but it was no use. I'd already surrendered to both.

The old plantation-style house still looked the same—its pillars like guards and its darkened windows like eyes that always stared at me without really seeing. Hmm. Suddenly, empty nest with my Julie off in college felt lonelier than ever.

More seconds passed. Mother didn't seem to be at home. Guess my thirty-minute drive across the city was in vain. But maybe that was best. It had been ten years, after all, and ten years was enough time for a goodbye to harden into something permanent. After hearing my pastor's stirring message on reconciliation I had vowed to reach out to my mother—even though she didn't want it—not just for my sake, but for Julie's sake. For now, though, I'd have to let go of my promise.

As I turned to leave, a deadbolt unlocked behind me. Oh, no. The front door moaned its way open as if wailing over my arrival. I hugged myself.

A stranger stood in the doorway, looking as lost as I felt. "May I help you?"

"Does Iris Gray still live here?" My voice made a flutter. "I'm her daughter."

The woman adjusted her red-rimmed glasses and blinked like the slow shutter speed on a camera. "But Mrs. Gray doesn't have any children."

"I'm afraid she does." I smoothed my dark pantsuit. "I'm Lily Winter ... her only child."

"I'm Mrs. Dragan Humphreys."

What an odd name. Sounded Hungarian or something. The woman wore a faded Hawaiian muumuu, and her hair looked like a tossed salad, which gave her a bedraggled air. As my gaze wandered downward, I saw that she wore tattered red flip-flops too. Well, at least they matched her red-rimmed glasses.

"Your mother never mentioned you." The woman sort of impaled me with her words.

* * *

"What? Wait." Jenny suddenly interrupted my story, waving her hands. "What did that dragon woman mean? Your mother never talked about you?" My tiny flying companion looked at me with her hand over her gaping mouth.

"I know. Hard to imagine. Even with our estrangement, it is shocking that my mother never mentioned anything about me."

The girl took my hand and squeezed. "You poor thing."

Where did Jenny come from anyway? So much sensitivity in such a little package.

"Is that why you're going to Australia? You're running away from home?"

"No, adults don't run away from home." Although maybe she had a point.

"It's a pretty good story so far. Does it have a happy ending?" . "

"I don't know." I sighed. "I'm still living the story."

"Oh, yeah." Jenny leaned toward me and drummed her fingers on the arm of the seat. "I'm not sleepy yet, so maybe you better tell me some more."

"All right.

"My mother's housekeeper, Dragan, pulled her glasses down to the tip of her nose. 'I guess I can see the resemblance,' she said to me. 'You have the same gray eyes as your mother and that sad Mona Lisa smile.'

"I could suddenly see the woman's eyes more clearly now. You'll like this part, Jenny. Dragan's eyes were like pale marbles. But one orb appeared slightly different from the other."

Jenny leaned into the aisle. "Oww, that's pretty creepy. Keep going."

"Yeah, well, it made me uneasy trying to figure out the colors and which eye to look at. Finally, I just asked the woman, 'Is my mother at home?'"

* * *

"She's in the study." Dragan paused and then opened the door wider.

I stepped inside. "So, are you my mother's housekeeper?"

"Yes and no." Dragan closed the door behind us. "Your mother and I have a special arrangement." She placed her palms together, prayer-like. "I know how unorthodox this might sound, but Mrs. Gray pays me to be her friend."

Normally I would have laughed at such a bizarre comment, but being in my mother's house kept my bursts of emotion in check. "Oh? I see." Most normal people wouldn't be able to imagine hiring a stranger to be one's friend—and yet in my mother's case it was plausible. She'd always needed a friend more than a daughter.

Dragan seemed to study me for a reaction.

I smiled convincingly and trudged behind her toward the study. A trace of alcohol swirled in her wake, and when she glanced back at me, I saw the tapering of her eyelids.

Our footsteps clacked and flopped across the marble floor, making strange echoing rhythms through the entry. Even though I'd grown up in the house, I'd only visited the study occasionally. It had been my mother's sanctuary, a place off-limits to animals and children. A place she retreated to when she could no longer tolerate the world. Or me. But perhaps my mother had softened over the years and the tendrils of compassion had attached themselves to her heart.

Dragan opened the door to the study and then, with the cadence of crisp snaps, she flip-flopped away down the hall. I tiptoed through the doorway, and all my good intentions threatened to scamper away like scared little mice.

I paused to get my bearings. The study looked the same—paneled walls accented with wainscoting, shelves of books, and an eclectic array of French Provincial furnishings. The afternoon light made phantoms on the walls, and like an enchantment, a grim and lonely feel still shadowed the place. Musty odors completed the overall anti-festive ambiance. I swallowed a chuckle and then hesitated mid-stride like characters do in cartoons, knowing that my mother's disposition was as stagnant as her surroundings.

"I could hear your whispers through the vents ... you and Mrs. Humphreys," my mother said from behind one of the high-back chairs.

Her face was hidden from view, but the voice belonged to my mother. It was raspier than I'd remembered, but the brusque tenor sounded the same as a decade before. Suddenly my bones felt incapable of holding me up. I sensed it then—our meeting would be a farce, but without the comedy.

"What are you doing back there? Come here. I want to have a look at you," came the voice.

I walked over to the chair opposite from my mother and sat down. I looked at my hands; they'd taken on a life of their own, strangling each other until they throbbed. "Hi, Mother. It's been a long time."

"Let's see you. Your complexion has improved, and your long hair isn't so straggly. But you're still thin and pale. But of course, all that dark clothing you're wearing makes the pallor more pronounced. In fact, you look ill. My doctors say I have a weakened immune system, so if you think—"

"I'm not sick." I looked up at her. Mother's eyes had faded some, but they were still as intense as ever. Streaks of iron gray ran through her dark hair, so many, in fact, that it was hard to know which color was more dominant, but the whole bundle was drawn up into a painful-looking bun. Her nose appeared more angled, and with her piercing stare, the whole effect was one of a fearsome eagle studying its prey.

My body shriveled like dried fruit in the hot sun. I felt desperate, almost reckless in my hopes for a chance to reconnect with my mother. I huddled down onto the chair, gripped the cushions, and waited for the judge's decree.

"I've been expecting you." My mother lifted a tiny glass of clear liquid—most likely schnapps—to her lips.

"You have?" I smiled, glad for any sign of goodwill.

Her eye twitched. "Well, let me see if I can guess why you've come. Your daughter has gone off to college, and you're feeling useless. Empty nest is eating at you. And so you thought you'd visit your old mother. See if we couldn't be pals."

Mother either talked in riddles or cut to the chase. "Yes, some of that is true, but I hoped—"
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman, Cheryl Molin. Copyright © 2013 Anita Higman. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

Praise for Winter in Full Bloom

 Winter in Full Bloom will grab your attention right away and it won't let go until you finish each satisfying word. Anita Higman has written a beautiful story with well-rounded characters that reminds us what it means to be family.

—Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Scent of Rain

At a poignant crossroads in her life, Lily Winter heads off to Australia to track down a family secret, armed only with a clue given by her mother, an eerily cold woman. In Melbourne, Lily finds who she was looking for, aided by a handsome stranger with a few skeletons in his own closet. But she ends up with more questions than answers and her faith is tested in ways she never expected. The results transform not only Lily but her entire family.

With a touch of humor, romance, and heartache, Anita Higman pens a beautifully written story of hope and healing drawn from the lives of wonderfully complex characters. Winter in Full Bloom will stay with you long after you read the last page.

– Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of Stoney Ridge Seasons

Anita’s Australian-inspired novel is as warm as a koala, creative as a platypus, and filled with more twists and turns than a billabong. G'read, love!

—James Watkins, award-winning author of thirty books including Writing with Banana Peels

Winter in Bloom had me from the first paragraph. Why is this woman who hates flying on a plane headed for Australia? Then throw in trying to redeem her truly dysfunctional family, and Anita Higman's heroine will capture your heart.

—Neta Jackson, bestselling author of The Yada Yada Prayer Group series and its sequels.

Meet the Author


ANITA HIGMAN Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has been writing for thirty years and has forty books published. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita and her husband are building a storybook home in the woods and plan to move there by the end of the year. A few of Anita's favorite things are good movies, fairytales, traveling, gardening, exotic teas, and brunch with her gal friends. Please check our her latest novel, Summer's List, through Moody Publishers. Feel free to drop by her website at www.anitahigman.com or connect with her on her Facebook Reader Page at www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman. She would love to hear from you!

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Winter in Full Bloom 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
This winter, curl up with this book by prolific author, Anita Higman, and have those chilly days warmed by your reading. Anita is a best-selling and award-winning author with 33 books published. She is also a wonderfully warm and witty woman. I so enjoyed meeting Anita at the International Christian Retail show in 2012. Winter in Full Bloom will capture your attention as its heroine, Lily, captures your heart. Lily, divorced from her cheating husband, has a fiery confrontation with the mother who she felt never loved her. Not able to bear the scorn, and learning the shocking fact that her mother had another daughter, Lily travels half-way around the world to Australia to find the sister in hopes of building a relationship. While in Melbourne, she is accosted by a man who just may have the key to her past. Against her better judgment, Lily becomes friendly with him and enlists his help. Will she find her sister? Will the stranger stay in her life? Will he solve his own problems? Will her mother ever reconcile with her? Read Winter in Full Bloom for the answers – and to be enchanted by the story and the writing.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
I can’t start this review without first mentioning the gorgeous cover of Winter in Full Bloom! Cover art is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of marketing a book. I DO judge a book by its cover—initially. That’s what makes me pick it up and read the blurb to see if the story will interest me. With that said, I must say the story did not disappoint. I found it charming, entertaining, unpredictable, and fulfilling. The characters are well fleshed-out, and the first person account wasn’t flat or limiting. Anita Higman tells a full story that left me rewarded, and yearning to read more of her work. Lily Winter, a widow and recent empty nester, finds out a shocking secret her mother has kept from her for over three decades, and travels to Australia in search of answers. She is a likable main character and I was able to get into her head. Her relationship with her distant mother is potent and it doesn’t take effort to sympathize with her roller coaster of emotions. The secondary characters make the story full, the settings (Texas and Australia) are palpable, the storyline keeps its focus, and the author has a beautiful way of lilting metaphorical language throughout, without overdoing it. With a core of faith, relationships, romance, and redemption, this story moved me. It’s anything but predictable!Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I will admit that I was a little nervous to begin reading Winter in Full Bloom because I knew that the main character was a widow, entering a new stage of life. Lily’s only daughter has gone off to college and she is feeling a little lonely with her “empty nest”. I was afraid that I would be very sad about Lily’s husband’s death and her loneliness. However, I discovered that the book really is not about those feelings in that way. It is so very good and packed with so much! When the book begins, Lily has been a widow for a year and her daughter is in college. Lily attempts to reconcile with her very strange and angry mother. During this reconciliation attempt, Lily discovers some information that instantly changes her life. She hops a plane for Australia. In this story, Lily must overcome some big fears and face the doubts about herself that she carries around. Her time in Australia uncovers even more about her family that she did not know and opens up many new questions and possibilities for her life. It also introduces a possible love interest into Lily’s life. But, this man has family problems and issues of his own. I loved watching the relationship develop between the hero and heroine of the book. Watching them attempt to overcome their pasts while trying to establish a relationship was heartwarming. The side characters in the story were also very well-developed and had problems to overcome as well. There were so many interesting turns that this book took, and each one gave me an even greater insight into the minds of these characters. I truly enjoyed this lovely story of redemption. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom is a well written Christian romance filled with interesting characters, settings, and family issues. It is a sweet story that shows God working in lives and relationships; the importance of faith and forgiveness; and the ability of people to offer others second chances. It is inspirational fiction and I would recommend this book for readers looking for characters with faith and problems that require introspection and prayer. Thank you, Anita Higman for your writing. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I give it a 4 out of 5 KJMassey
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
I am not one for contemporary romances. However, on occasion I read one that truly takes me by surprise. I was absolutely mesmerized by this book from page one, and I can only hope that this is not the last I will read of these amazing characters! Anita Higman is a masterful storyteller, and she fearlessly goes where many Christian authors may fear to tread. She deals with atheism, loss of faith, and dysfunctional families. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have lived almost half of your life and discover that you had an identical twin? Read her book, and discover the mystery! This book never seems to be preachy. God and faith are naturally woven into the fabric of the tale. I believe that although this is a "typical" romance, you can rest assured that the situations that are encountered within the story seem realistic. I believe that everyone can identify with doubt and fear. In fact, I believe that each reader will probably see himself or herself within one of the characters. I probably most identify with Lily since I am a single parent who is nearly forty. Surely, my story is different--vastly different--but there are elements of her life that truly resonate. And, the fact that the main characters seem to identify with music and writing, I feel like I am right at home. Although I never found myself in true tears, it does not mean that my emotions were not steered. The ending is gorgeous and bittersweet, and I found myself tingling all over more than once throughout the story. I was never bored, and I believe that this book will be on my mind for some time. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Linda_Weaver_Clarke More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not one for reading stories with lots of sorrow, but Anita puts so much humor into this story that it helped me to enjoy it a lot more. The humor of the main character, Lily, was delightful. Marcus is the other main character who she falls in love with. He was absolutely adorable. I fell in love with him right off because of his sense of humor, his joking around, and his masculine qualities. Anita Higman has developed her characters very well.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
WINTER IN FULL BLOOM by Anita Higman I was provided a copy of this lovely book by TBCN and author Anita Higman in exchange for my fair and honest review.  And I have to be honest I wanted to review this book just from the cover.  A beautiful winter scene with a garden in bloom - who could resist such a scene? Well, not I! And the story is equally delightful and at the same time also heartbreaking.  Two families divided and a chance to reunite unless the hurts of the past continue to keep them apart.   Having read Anita's Where God Finds You I was anticipating a book that would capture my imagination and hold it and I was not disappointed in Winter in Full Bloom.   Lily Winter is a woman who grows on her journey to find the sister she never knew she had and along the way she discovers something she had lost a sense of her own worth.  Her determination to find Camille is just the answer Camille has been looking for and together these two sisters - these twins, will find the healing and belonging that they have desired and just may be what their bitter mother needs. There is a secondary story which is vital to explaining Lily's state of mind when the story begins.   And Lily's friendship with Marcus Averill (the Aussie who helps her search for Camille) is a means of bringing healing to a hurting person and perhaps his own family. I totally loved this book and am really hoping for a sequel dealing with Camille!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the author in a giveaway on The Book Club Network (TBCN) in return for my honest opinion. I absolutely LOVED this book! Lily Winter is the main character in the book and she is on a mission. Her mission is to bring her family back together and she is willing to travel across the world to do it. The author did a superb job at weaving the lives of all the different characters together. Her brilliant use of adjectives made me feel as if I were actually part of the story. Lily Winter is such a resilient character and her determination is definitely to be admired. The author really knows how to tell her story in such a realistic manner that you can actually picture yourself as being in one or more of the many situations presented. It is easy to lose that kind of connection with the reader in some novels, but not in this one. The author ensnares you right from the beginning and you will not want to put it down. This story was excellent and I can’t wait to read another book by this author! If you love a good heart-warming novel, then I highly recommend you read this book!!!
Diana0 More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom By: Anita Higman I really loved this story from beginning to the end. I would rate it a 5 star. Lily the main character has had a very rough life from childhood of not being loved to a cheating husband who died. Lily finds out she has a identical twin who was given away. Lily is on the search for her which takes her to Australia. Lily finds more in Australia then what she was looking for. The story made me laugh and it made me cry. This story is of love and forgiveness. I would recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom by Anita. Higman  Faith Walk This book has so many elements of faith, forgiveness, healing and trust.  Lilly was God's instrument. A Nicely articulated and such an unpredictable read. Wide imagination with enough counsel   to repair deep rooted pain.  Well written and well received. One of the quickest books I have read. I am proud to write this  honest review and give credit to Bookfun .org for placing this book in my hands. Anita I am now a fan.
Cheri5 More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom is the quest to repair a dysfunctional family, to learn how to trust others, and to find the true meaning of real love. Through the adventures of Lily Winter, the main character, the author weaves the agonies that each of us experience when we step out of our comfort zones. This book will touch every reader as the characters become so real that it’s as if they have been part of you for a very long time. The story will grip your heart as you follow the lives of Lily and her family.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Inspiring & Unforgettable! Lily Winter embarks on a journey to the other side of the world in search of the sister she has never known. An embittered woman, Lily's mother has kept this secret for decades. Lily's only daughter has left for college and her husband is deceased, so Lily takes this time in her life to connect the missing pieces in her past. Panic envelops Lily as her fear of flying overwhelms her, but the flight to Australia is her only hope in finding her twin sister, Camille. Seeking solace in the botanical gardens in Melbourne Lily is introduced to Marcus Averill as he joins her on a park bench and strikes up a conversation. Not interested in making small talk Lily attempts to ignore the stranger, but his amusing and upbeat character wins her over. An American currently living in Melbourne, Marcus knows his way around and offers to assist in Lily's quest to find her twin. Marcus eventually discloses equally painful family circumstances of his own as they spend time together searching for Camille. Winter in Full Bloom is an unforgettable story of deception, betrayal, abuse, family dysfunction and unforgiving characters who dominate the lives of the main characters in this book. Anita Higman has done a magnificent job of illustrating reality in the heartache of her characters, while developing a plot that is both unpredictable and jolting. A book in the Christian Fiction genre, the author effortlessly weaves the essence and communication with God into the lives of her characters without forcing it on the reader. Non-Christian readers will enjoy this book, and possibly take away a bit of inspiration from their journey through the lives of these characters. Overall, I found Winter in Full Bloom to be a superb example of Christian literary fiction, and highly recommend it. I will undoubtedly read this book again.  Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Wynn-Wynn Media in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for my review.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom was such an amazing read. Anita Higman does it again! The story speaks of a woman who seeks reconciliation beyond her comfort zone. In doing so, she not only finds the sister she never knew and the family she always longed for, she also finds new love. I could not put the book down! The storyline keeps the reader engrossed from page one to the very end. I am hoping this is only the first book of this series because I loved the characters so much. Definitely a must read! I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
sunshineJB More than 1 year ago
A Great Read You Won’t Forget! This book is one of the best fiction books I have ever read.  Why?  I could completely relate to a lot that went on in this book.  Wow, my emotions really ran high.  I relived parts of my life all over again.   Good, not so good, and bad. There are lives that are broken, full of secrets, and very dysfunctional.   This book offers hope, forgiveness, faith, and redemption. Winter In Full Bloom is a book that you can’t let go of.  I found that as I went about my daily tasks I would look longingly at this book sitting on my sofa, so anxious to get back to Lily’s story.  The pages draw you back for more. I have read other books by this author but this book in my opinion is by far the best.  It is worth more than 5 stars.  
CherK1 More than 1 year ago
I have read Anita Higman's books before and I must say that I think this is my favorite one so far. Anita does not disappoint you in her newest book Winter in Full Bloom. I love that the main character's last name is used in the title, and the cover is gorgeous. The story starts off with Lily Winter flying off on a 747 all the while having a panic attack. A young girl named Jenny talks her through the trip getting her to see that everything will be ok. Lily has had several traumatic things happen in her life to start off the story. Her daughter has just left for college, empty next syndrome showing up. And her husband, died from a heart attack just as she was going to confront him. And now, her mother, whom she hadn't seen in forever, decides to drop a bomb on her. How much more can she take? Trust has been an issue in Lily's life since her young years, many new and exciting things are coming into her life now, but will she learn to trust enough to keep them there? I thought all the main and secondary characters were very well developed, and the story line is so easy to read. It's a book you can set down to read and not stop it's so enjoyable. There is lots of excitement through it too, clear to the end. I would recommend this book to any who likes romance and love, with some mystery thrown in too. I received this book from bookfun in exchange for my honest review.
Becky5 More than 1 year ago
Wow! After reading this story, I'm ready to grant Higman an award in understanding human psychology, as well as an award for great novelization! Higman's main character, Lily Winter, leaves her native Texas in search of her long- lost twin, who lives in Australia. Lily is beaten down by life, lost, and distrustful in relationships. Part of her journey is an attempt to recover from her husband's sudden death and her cold childhood upbringing. Will Lily possess the courage to overcome the feelings of fear and inferiority and face the many facets of love? I love the way Higman draws her characters,esp. Lily, who seems to progress forwards then backwards some. Marcus is a jewel! Then there's Lily's mother. She reaches an apex from which she will either ascend into a new understanding of her family, or she will continue downward in her degradation of them. Absolutely a must- read book!, I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review of the product.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story of faith and reconciliation. There were many elements throughout the book I could identify with. Highly recommend! I received this book via Goodreads. I was not asked to write a review, but it was a wonderful book!
l_manning More than 1 year ago
Lily has led a lonely life being estranged from her mother. Her husband also recently died, and her daughter moved away to college. On top of all that, her cold and cruel mother has revealed that Lily has a twin sister that was give away at a very young age. Lily decides to throw caution to the wind and fly to Australia to find her twin with little more than a hope and a prayer. As it turns out, Lily finds much more than just her sister. She finds a way to get past everything and move on with her life.  So I put off writing this review for a while, but I can't put it off forever. There were some really great things about this book, and then some things that completely put me off it. Let's start with the good stuff. The story was interesting. I found the idea of Lily not knowing she had a twin a little far-fetched, but I guess it could happen. It put her in an interesting place and allowed the plot to move forward, so I forgive that. The relationship she tries to forge with her sister felt realistic, so I liked that. Lily's suddenly falling for a handsome stranger was also one of those things I don't find realistic, but I forgive because it's a fairly typical trope for a romance-type novel. My problem was with how the non-religious people were treated. I get that this is a Christian romance novel and has a certain audience in mind, but that is no reason for what I consider disrespectful statements about agnostics and atheists. There was one plot line in particular that involved Lily's dead husband and another person. I don't want to spoil anything, but I found the entire way the other person was characterized as distasteful at best. Maybe most people in the desired audience won't have a problem with it. I most certainly did. It's a shame because other than that I found the book to be interesting. There were a lot of great things, but those problem I had just ruined it for me. Book provided for review.
Apassion4pages More than 1 year ago
The main reason I chose to review Winter in Full Bloom was because I'd heard it was written in first person point of view. I write my own manuscripts-future-books from that perspective and am ALWAYS looking for others. And I'd never read anything by Anita Higman, so I thought I'd give her a try. This wasn't necessarily the kind of book I usually pick up--it was very full of family drama and over-reactive, possibly even what could be considered "emotionally abusive" characters. I liked the meaning of the story--that it was about a woman needing to find herself again. However, it was written in such a different style than I was expecting, I often felt distanced from what was going on. I guess I expected the first person perspective to involve a little more internalization than it did. Or perhaps I just had a difficult time connecting with the main character because I could not imagining living her life. Although it didn't turn out being my favorite kind of novel, I'm certain most readers would enjoy this book--particularly ones who have more in common with the heroine than I do. I was given a paperback copy of this book by the publisher as part of a LitFuse Publicity Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review.
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
Lily Winter had been estranged from her mother for ten years, but with her daughter Julie away at college for the first time and with Lily suffering from a severe case of "empty nest" syndrome, she felt the need to try and reconnect with her mother. Little did she know that on that fateful day that she would lose one hope and discover another. When her mother told her she had a twin sister, Camille Daniels, who lived in Australia, Lily knew she had to find her. What she didn't expect to find was love. The day Marcus Averill sat on the bench beside her with her cheeks stuffed full of marshmallows and despair in her heart, was the day Lily's quiet, lonely life changed forever. Marcus was quirky and funny and everything Lily didn't want. But underneath all of the antics, Lily soon discovered a gentle man with with a tortured soul. She found herself falling for Marcus and falling fast. Could they find a love that would weather every storm? Marcus Averill left Texas to flee his father's hatred. When Marcus' younger sister Ellie was killed in a car accident, his entire life changed. He was bogged down with guilt for falling asleep at the wheel and causing the fatal accident and had given up hope of ever reconciling with his parents. That is, until he met Lily Winter. That fateful day he sat beside her on that bench their lives became interwoven. Marcus helped her find her sister and she helped him find his way, his way back to his family and in the process she stole his heart. They both had their own separate lives they needed to repair, relationships that needed to be nurtured. Could they weather their storms and still maintain their love for each other? Or would making their family priority tear them apart forever? This book was a firestorm of emotions wrapped up in one neat little package. The moment I opened the cover a whirlwind of emotions was unleashed in me and continued long after the last page was turned. I was quite literally emotionally drained. I have often marveled at a writer's creativity and writing ability. That's why I am a reader, not a writer. The way Anita Higman wove this story left me in awe of both her creativity and her God-Given talent as a writer. This story was absolutely beautiful and I often found the tears flowing unheeded. Winter in Full Bloom was about Love, family reunions and Spiritual awakening. I rejoiced in the transformation of some of the characters and I absolutely fell in love with Marcus just as sure as Lily did. All of the characters endeared themselves to me and I thoroughly enjoy traveling with them on their journey. You, too, will love the journey and I say that with the utmost confidence. If you haven't read Winter in Full Bloom you surely don't know what you're missing! ** I received this book for free from Miss Anita Higman for my honest review**
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Lily and her mother have never gotten along. After a ten year hiatus, Lily returns home to try reconcile with her mother. She's feeling the effects of an empty nest and hopes that she can somehow reconnect. But her mother drops a bomb shell that sends her half way around the world to Australia. Can Lily find who she's looking for and still have a second chance at love? This book was a mixed bag for me. I'm not a huge fan of overly emotional books and this one was definitely full of drama and emotion. The romantic part of the book was sweet and well done. The plot was a good one. And looking back after reading the story I can honestly say that I enjoyed it and it was a fast read. But quite a few circumstances in the book felt unbelievable and either rushed or forced. It was just a little too unrealistic in places for me. In summary, it was a good book, just not my style. I received this book free of charge from Book Fun in exchange for my honest review.
chrisGA More than 1 year ago
What a delightful book! The adventures of this lonely widow searching for her unknown twin sister and family reconciliation are funny, poignant, and touching. The air flight to Australia was comical and introduced us to Lily and her wry, self-depreciating humor. In spite of her bantering with Marcus and witty observations on the world around her, the reader can’t help feeling protective of her once the relationships with her cold, uncaring mother and unfaithful late husband are revealed. We root for her to find love of family and for Marcus and Camille to find peace with their pasts. The writing is delicious, and the colorful expressions and descriptions are to be savored. The ending is very emotionally satisfying. I received this book through The Book Club Network but the opinions expressed are solely mine.
strgth4yu More than 1 year ago
Winter in Full Bloom, by Anita Higman was an excellent book & story. The story of Lily who has a difficult past with her mother and secret's revealed. Lily takes a flight to Melbourne and develops a friendship with an Aussie. Could he hold the key to her past. Can Lily fall in love again? As she looks for answers. She hopes she will be able to have a reconciliation with her mother. Read Winter in Full Bloom! It is a heartwarming story of putting the past behind you and creating a new beginning. I give it 4 stars out of 5 stars. I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. to review.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by Anita Higman. This story drops you into 39 year old Lily's life on her way to Australia to get answers to a secret her estranged mother just dropped into her lap. I really felt for Lily and applaud her bravery for stepping out of her comfort zone, especially after the unbelievable year she has had. A just recent widow and now with an empty nest she sets out on an adventure that will change her life. While searching for her answers in Australia, she meets Marcus who insists on helping her. In a way, Marcus has been helping her for a very long time, but you will need to read the book to find that out. There is so much to this story than just what I have written but I do not want to give anything away. I read this story in one day, that is how much I enjoyed it. It has such a lovely cover as well. I received this book from bookfun dot org and my opinions are my own.
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
 First of all, the title Winter in Full Bloom is rather an interesting one...Winter is Lily's name, winter is the season in life she feels she's in.  This novel is a hard look at family dynamics, whether in families we might feel are dysfunctional, or perhaps one that looks like the perfect family on the outside. Either case, or anywhere in between, there are issues that are all too real, and one that Anita touches. Our own histories, memories, emotions and responses all play in to what we believe is true in our life. What causes each one in our own family to react to situations as they do? Do we really know what our family is like? After reading this novel i look at those around me, my nearest and dearest loved ones differently, and i hope that this has helped me to give them the benefit of the doubt. I enjoyed the novel immensely and loved learning about the Australians and their unique 'language', (which I know is English!) through the eyes of a Texan, no less. Anita does a superb job of immersing the reader into the lives of her characters. I received this book free from Amy at Litfuse Publicity Group and Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions stated are my own.