Book Review

When you get your first good book review, and not from some writer to whom you will be reciprocating, bless their hearts, but from a celebrated writer like Joan Barfoot, I’m afraid there’s no end to your desire to reblog it and mention it at the drop of a hat.  So here is the beginning of Joan’s review, in the London Free Press and several other Postmedia outlets:

“It’s a silent and subtle tip of the hat when Sally Ryder, protagonist of Torontonian Anna Dowdall’s first crime novel, spots a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 chiller Rebecca lying around in another character’s home.

Eighty years on, Rebecca remains a best-selling, much-filmed classic in a genre that might loosely be called gothic crime romance, a subcategory of crime fiction to which Dowdall’s After the Winter also readily belongs, and in which she gives that passing nod to one of the best.

Du Maurier set her tale on her home turf of Cornwall in England. Dowdall, born in Montreal, sets hers in a small Quebec ski-country community during a 1999 winter more or less isolated by a series of brutal snowstorms.

Sally Ryder is a wealthy young Montrealer, a 23-year-old orphan grieving the deaths of her parents and the betrayal of her now-ex-fiance which, since he was also her employer, means she’s now unemployed.

She has a supportive best friend and loads of money, but that’s about it…”

Here’s the rest of the review:

And a post like this deserves a good pulp cover of du Maurier’s classic, so here is that too.  What I like about this one is how spare it is, and yet the elements are there, the enigmatic young woman in the foreground, the Gothic house just visible over the nameless heroine’s shoulder.  The artist has added a nice touch, the famous rhododendrons peeking out from behind the figure’s clenched arms:  because in Gothic suspense, nature has a way of rearing its head…

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