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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on June 4, 2017
Beautifully written, a novel I'll never forget!
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Reason for Reading: I enjoyed The Death of Sweet Mister so much I wanted read another book by the author right away.

Brilliant! A dark tale of a dirt poor Ozark family. Ree Dolly is 16, with hopes of escaping this life by joining up with the army when she comes of age, but her future plans are turned around when her meth lab running father skips out on his bail with his house and land as collateral leaving Ree alone with two young brothers and a mother who lost her sanity years ago. Ree must find her father before his court date and this takes her over to the other mountain clans who are by blood distantly related but more separated by clan than having any feeling as kin. Her entrance into this ruthless world where secrets to her father's whereabouts lie bring her as close to the ugly, scary truth she's ever been. Beaten and broken with the court date past, Ree has thirty days left to prove her father is dead and couldn't attend the trial, bring forth in her a country girl warrior she never knew she possessed.

A book written with beautiful, lyrical words as it describes a life of brutal kill or be killed life. A life where children (especially the boys) are groomed to become criminals from their earliest days with no chance to ever become anything more. In a way this book is a companion piece to The Death of Sweet Mister, where that tells the story of a boy's coming of age in these circumstances without any hope "Winter's Tale" tells the story of a girl's coming of age in more or less the same sort of circumstances and yet she does have hope as her femaleness gives her an edge over her male peers and even though her world is brutal and violent there is also a close family love that exists within that framework which Sweet Mister never got to experience.

A sad, dark story of a world where one lives by the unspoken code; where the consequences are to kill or be killed. A gut-wrenching ending that takes some characters down the road to the point of no return while giving others redemption and a chance to break the mold. A tale that is both ugly and beautiful at the same time.
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on August 10, 2016
I have had this book for a few years, received from Library Thing for review and waiting in my TBR pile. I just couldn't get into it until today. Today I read the whole thing! It was time, and I enjoyed it.

This story is rugged, raw, real. It's about a family barely getting by in rural poverty of the Ozarks, a family and community involved in the drug culture for generations. It's about one particular family, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to find her father who skipped bail and disappeared, and the dangers she faces in trying to make sense of things. She's tough, devoted to caring for her ill mother and her two younger siblings and determined to get answers so she can keep her family together.

There is realistic strong language and violence in this story, scenes which makes it uncomfortable to read, and yet it was a story that, as I said, I read in one day.
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Life is tough for sixteen year old Ree Dolly. While she dreams of escaping the Ozarks by joining the Army as soon as she can, for now she is looking after her mentally ill mother and her two younger brothers. The last time Ree saw her father, he promised he'd be back with food and money. He said:

`Start lookin' for me soon as you see my face. `Til then, don't even wonder.'

That was in the autumn, when the walnuts were falling. Now it's winter.

When Deputy Baskin turns up one winter's day, she learns that if her father doesn't appear in court the next week, her and her family will lose their home. Her father has signed over the family home and the timbered acres behind as bond for his bail. Ree knows that she needs to find her father in order to save her family, and she knows that this won't be easy.

It is a daunting task made more difficult by the clannish nature of the community with a long-standing tradition of protecting their own and closely guarding dark family secrets. Nothing sways Ree from attempting to ferret out what happened to her father in a tragedy that involves drug labs, lies and family ties. What she discovers is truth, not only about the whereabouts of her father but about herself as well.

In many ways this is a depressing novel. The picture of poverty and disadvantage, the mostly poisonous family ties create a bleak picture. Ree's strength and determination provide some hope for a different future, but it seems unlikely that she will escape. I found myself caught up in this novel, haunted by the situation Ree finds herself in, and admiring her ability to adapt.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on March 6, 2015
I had such high hopes for this book, but was very disappointed. It's just not my style. Lots of swearing and crude words, and much too dark and depressing for me. I found his descriptive language hard to understand as well, too wordy. I couldn't wait for it to be done. Sorry.
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on March 2, 2015
I didn't care for this book... Was not my cup of tea. I did however recommend it to my friend who is an English teacher. I felt this book would be excellent for an English class to read and dissect.
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on June 18, 2012
Purchased the book and DVD as a gift for my 15 yr old Grandaughter she heard so much about it from her friends.She has not let me borrow it however she thought it was fantastic
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on June 5, 2012
I loved this book! It has me reading it non-stop! I loved this book so much that when I finished I bought the movie, (Jennifer Lawrence is amazing in it by the way).
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on December 7, 2016
The characters are so hard, and with an utter lack of pretence, old wrongs done them still simmer high up, affections felt but kept well down.
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on December 2, 2015
A great read. Even better than the movie.
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