Review: Winter Shadows by Margaret Buffie

Title: Winter Shadows
Author: Margaret Buffie
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
It is the winter of 1856, and Beatrice Alexander has just returned from Upper Canada to her home on the Red River, in what is now Manitoba.  As her father's new wife drives a wedge between her and Papa, Beatrice can only be sure of the comfort of her beloved Cree grandmother, relegated to a room upstairs.

Shadows hover around Beatrice, who feels trapped by her circumstances and the growing prejudice against those, like herself, of mixed Cree and Scottish blood.  As she explores her visions and her unfulfilled life through her journal, Beatrice is suddenly confronted by a fateful choice:  Should she settle for a man she doesn't love and embark on a journey of adventure or stay where she is and hope to eventually find happiness?

Five generations later, in the same house, Cass feels the same long winter shadows pressing in on her.  Her mother has died and her father's new wife is cold and distant.  Miraculously, when Cass discovers the star brooch belonging to Beatrice, her visions lead her to Beatrice's diary.  Is she really able to communicate with Beatrice across time, or is it all in her imagination?
This was a charming book.  I enjoyed reading about the two girls.  Both of them are headstrong and difficult, yet sympathetic characters that are trying to work through emotionally painful situations.  I really liked the development of all of the characters in the book.  They felt believable and the conflict was realistic.  The chapters alternate perspectives which moves the plot along, though it did annoy me to switch back sometimes when I wanted to keep reading about one girl - so it was a little bit choppy in that respect.

I found that I enjoyed reading both perspectives pretty equally.  I like Victorian novels and thus loved reading about Beatrice.  The Victorian Canada setting and people were unique.  Cass was a more harsh and outspoken character than Beatrice, so her chapters sort of allow the reader to blow off some steam between the Victorian bits.

It was an enjoyable read, well written with wonderful characters, a great setting, and an interesting plot to which many teens can relate.  It was a little like a contemporary Cinderella meets Jane Eyre, with a pinch of Mr. Darcy.


  1. I like books where there's alternate point of view. You learn so much more from them.


  2. I think yours may be the first review I've read of this one! I like the sound of Cinderella meets Jane Eyre with a pinch of Mr. can you go wrong with that? :D


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