“[This] beautifully restrained novel, a meditation on aging, marriage and loss, fictionalizes a well-known period in Thomas Hardy’s life” (The New York Times).
A November morning in the 1920s finds an elderly man walking the grounds of his Dorchester home, pondering his past and future with deep despondence. That man is the revered novelist and poet Thomas Hardy, and this is a fictionalized account of his final years from the celebrated author of The Elephant Keeper.
The novel focuses on true events surrounding the London theater dramatization of Hardy’s acclaimed novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles, including Hardy’s hand-picked casting of the young, alluring Gertrude Bugler to play Tess. As plans for the play solidify, Hardy’s interest in Gertie becomes a voyeuristic infatuation, causing him to write some of the best poems of his career. However, when Hardy’s reclusive, neglected wife, Florence, catches wind of Hardy’s desire for Gertie to take the London stage, a tangled web of jealousy and missed opportunity ensnares all three characters—with devastating results.
Told from the perspectives of Hardy, Gertie, and Florence, Winter is “a meditation on love, regret, and an elusive yearning for happiness” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
“A book for grown-ups, one that finds the acme of human happiness in a young mother looking out at a starry winter’s night, while she holds her baby in her arms.” —The Washington Post
“Winter is quietly intelligent and compassionate, but what stands out most is that it is gorgeously, gorgeously written in prose so elegantly crafted that it becomes, paradoxically, almost invisible. It never shouts, never startles, just moves lithely along with an almost miraculous sense of rightness.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune