A review by Elizabeth Manthos
two and a half out of five stars
Winter Damage, a debut novel from British author Natasha Carthew, delves into the world of fifteen-year-old Ennor. Ennor lives in a trailer on a frozen Cornish moor with her father and little brother. Years ago, her mother left them and since then her family’s world has fallen into disarray.
With Ennor’s father gravely ill, no school in the town and with the fear that social services will take her brother away from her, Ennor needs saving. Three days before Christmas she decides there is only thing she can do: go and find her mother.
Only equipped with a backpack filled with a few supplies and a gun, Ennor sets off into the frozen country side to try and find a mother who had long since abandoned them. She doesn’t take into consideration the wilderness she is stepping into or the people she could meet.
Ennor meets with an old crone and her scary young nephew before happening on a band of gypsies, travelling wherever the season takes them. What started as a search and rescue mission becomes a battle with winter that will change her life forever.
I don’t know where to begin with my thoughts on this novel; not all of them are positive. The pacing of Winter Damage hindered reading it, the start of the novel moving slowly and not improving throughout the novel. It took me a good while to be able to figure out how slowly time was moving both in the novel and out. The sudden ending did not help either, with plot points not tied up and the general story just ending.
The publisher’s synopsis states that the main plot was a journey to find her mother and although that was the main reason she set out, it ultimately wasn’t the story. The story was more about friendship and loss than Ennor finding the matriarch of her family.
Winter Damage did have redeeming qualities though. The characters themselves seemed driven on hope, hope that Ennor would find her mother, hope that somehow they would all manage to make it through. The dialogue was easily one of the best parts of the novel, with speech coming easily and conversations between characters flowing easily to a point where you felt part of the conversation.
Although I did struggle with this novel, I believe that, as the novel is targeted to a juvenile audience, they would find Winter Damage to be a story about hope and friendship. A story they could enjoy.
Star rating: 2.5-3/5