Item description for Winter Haven by Athol Dickson...
Overview After receiving news that her brother, who ran away years ago, has been found dead, Vera is astonished to see that he had not age since leaving and seeks answers in the mysterious New England island community where he lived.
Publishers Description 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. Hemmed in by unearthly fog, distrusted by the locals, and forced to rely on the enigmatic owner of a grand but dilapidated mansion poised on a rocky cliff, will Vera's desperate questions lead to answers, or will her story become yet one more dark Winter Haven legend?
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Studio: Bethany House
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.89" Weight: 0.67 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2009
Publisher Bethany House
ISBN 0764206567 ISBN13 9780764206566
Availability 0 units.
More About Athol Dickson
Athol Dickson is the chairman of D&E Architecture and Design, Inc., in Dallas, Texas. His previous works include Every Hidden Thing and They Shall See God.
Athol Dickson currently resides in Dallas, in the state of Texas. Athol Dickson was born in 1955.
Reviews - What do customers think about Winter Haven?
4 1/2 Stars...Dreams and Nightmares Jun 12, 2008
Over the years, Athol Dickson has produced some works of great literary depth and originality. I first discovered him through "They Shall See God," a suspenseful tale with multiple plot threads, a thriller deserving more attention than it got. Next was "River Rising," an evocative tale set in the bayous of Louisiana, full of historical mystery and character. Last year's "The Cure" moved to the northeastern portion of the country, building from a deep character study into a story of mystery and some suspense. All of these were enjoyable reads.
"Winter Haven" stays north, moving this time off the coast of Maine to the island of Winter Haven. We are thrown into a world caught in the old traditions, where locals protect their secrets while trying to find ways to survive. When Vera shows up, as an outsider, she threatens their ways, but she is determined to find out why her brother's body has washed up on their shores thirteen years after having last seen him. Even more bizarre to her is the fact that her brother's corpse hasn't aged a day.
Mixing the lonely chills and eerie settings of Stephen King's "The Who Loved Tom Gordon" with the gothic feel of the classic "Rebecca," this novel moves from one side of the island to the other as Vera searches out the truth. Though a richly detailed and atmospheric story, the pace moves right along once you settle into its ethereal feel. The search for truth is multi-layered, dealing with Vera's childhood, her faith, her family, and the history of the island. In the end, everything she believes will be called into question--and, as she comes to realize, those questions are an important part of the journey.
Although the ending comes close to stretching credulity, Dickson's mastery makes it pull together in a fashion that I embraced. We want Vera to understand. We want to believe along with her. Her dreams, her visions, and her nightmares, all have a purpose, and that's what makes "Winter Haven" rise above the standard fair of gothic suspense.
An intriguing suspense novel, sure to keep readers reading Jun 8, 2008
Thirty years she has been separated from her brother - and now he's dead. "Winter Haven" is Vera's story of uncovering the mysteries of her brother, his death, and why he seemingly had not aged a single day in any of the three decades of separation. Further standing in her way of understanding are the dark mysteries of Winter Haven, a small island off the coast of Maine. Vera digs to find the truth in this intriguing suspense novel, sure to keep readers reading, and a must for community library fiction collections.
Faith in god & humanity tested Jun 4, 2008
Reviewed by Nikki Pringle for Reader Views (5/08)
One day, Vera Gamble gets a call that she has waited 13 years for. A body has been found washed ashore on a beach in Winter Haven and the caller tells her the body is that of her brother, Siggy, whom disappeared when Vera was a little girl. Vera decides she must go to this tiny island off of the Maine coast and see for herself that the body is actually that of her brother, even though it doesn't seem possible that a 15-year-old boy could have made his way from Texas to the northeastern United States thirteen years ago. Especially one that was autistic, fearful of being touched, and who spoke only in Bible verses.
After a long journey to Winter Haven, during which old visions of her past begin to resurface, Vera meets with the police chief and reluctantly goes to see the body. At first glance she is relieved to see it is not her now 28-year-old brother, Siggy. After another look, she is shaken to the core when she realizes that it is Siggy, and somehow, he has not aged in the 13 years he has been gone.
Vera searches for answers while struggling to keep her sanity on the small island where strange things keep happening that could be viewed as religious symbolism, the work of a darker force, or signs of mental illness. The mystery surrounding what really happened to Siggy, and the meaning behind Vera's visions, are as thick as the unrelenting fog in one of island's coves.
Vera feels she can trust no one in the tight knit Winter Haven community, not even Evan Frost, whom she has made a strong connection with, so she sets out on her own to solve the mystery of Siggy's death and the unnatural sights and sounds that have plagued her during her stay. What she learns during her journey tests her faith in God, family, and love.
"Winter Haven" is marketed as a Christian book. While it does contain elements that certainly pertain to the Christian faith, it has an almost gothic feel that readers of other genres like mystery, suspense and the non-faith based supernatural would enjoy. Athol Dickson writes with a level of detail that is astounding. I found myself intrigued by the story and very interested to learn where the path Dickson was leading me down would end. This is a book that really makes the reader think and to question whether the easiest explanation is always the best one.
Wonderfully chilling AND a Christian novel? How can this be? May 20, 2008
The book is so wonderfully written and complex, I will not take the time to retell the story through my review. But I will say this...I am a "picky reader" and struggle with many Christian authors because of their predictability. Athol Dickson does a fabulous job of keeping his readers on edge from the very beginning until the very end. He is anything but predictable. I have read both The Cure and of course, Winter Haven. I thought both were good, but I prefer WH over The Cure. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! As with any "good book," I am now sad that I have finished it.
Intriguing and compelling story. May 10, 2008
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. :)