Review: Winter In Full Bloom by Anita Higman

November 30, 2013

Title: Winter In Full Bloom
Author: Anita Higman
Publisher: River North
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0580-7
Publication Date: July 19th, 2013

Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.
I have been curious to read this book since I first saw the cover. The cover is just gorgeous and and catches the eye immediately. The muted tones of the woods and the brown cape enhances the red of the tulips and make them pop. As I read the synopsis, I thought it would be an interesting story, it reminded me a little bit of The Parent Trap, two twin sisters taken away from each other as babies, to reunite when they got older.

As I started to read through the story, I found it to be more of a Greek tragedy of sorts and I had a hard time connecting to the characters. Lily Winter is now an empty nester, her only daughter is now away at college, her husband died of a heart attack a year ago, and she has been estranged from her mother for the last ten years. There has never been a real closeness between Lily and her mother. Lily was mainly raised by nannies. As the story progresses, we find out that the night Lily's husband dies, she confronted him on an affair he had been having. Lily's life is hard to read about. As you read about Lily and her mother's interactions, it pushed me further from the story. Lily's mother comes off as a domineering, my way is the only way, I will do as I please, your thoughts mean nothing to me, leave me alone, hard and bitter woman. The author says Lily's mother is agnostic, but she seemed more atheist to me.

Lily's sister didn't have a much better life. After being adopted, she had a good mom with Naomi, but when she died when Camille was young, she was left with her adoptive father who was physically abuse. Camille basically raised herself and has been on her own since she was eighteen. She is cold to Lily, didn't want to communicate or reconnect with her estranged family, yet she sent a note to her biological mother, who passed the note on to Lily.

I had a hard time getting through this story. The idea was a good one, but the way it was carried out just didn't click with me. It was a depressing story, up until the end when there was a bit of hope that started to shine through. Even the love interest for Lily had a difficult past. It was hard to find a bright spot in the story.

2 out of 5

About the Author:
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Thank you to Moody/River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.

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