I absolutely adore Isabelle Broom’s writing and when a surprise copy of One Winter Morning arrived from the lovely Laura Nichol at Penguin in return for an honest review I genuinely gave a shriek of delight.
You’ll find out why I love Isabelle Broom’s writing if you read my review of My Map of You here, A Year and a Day here and The Place We Met here. Sadly I haven’t yet managed to get to One Thousand Stars and You, but I do have a lovely personally signed copy on my shelf!
Published by Penguin on 17th October 2019, One Winter Morning is available for purchase through the links here.
One Winter Morning
Genie isn’t feeling very festive this December.
The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a whole year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.
She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity.
And where to find her: New Zealand, half the world away.
Travelling there could be her one chance to meet the woman who gave her up.
But will she find the answers she has been looking for? Or something she could never have expected?
My Review of One Winter Morning
Evangeline is not looking forward to Christmas and the anniversary of her adoptive mother’s death.
I knew from the moment I began reading One Winter Morning that Isabelle Broom had created another beautiful, moving and transporting novel. However, there is something that feels extra special about One Winter Morning. I’m not sure quite why, whether it is the sad catalyst for the narrative, the exploration of a grief that feels all too familiar to me, or the first person of Genie’s parts of the story, but there feels as if there is an intangible extra to this book. It has an indefinable quality that felt as if it were wrapping me in invisible tendrils and drawing me in far more than simply just being a reader.
As ever when reading Isabelle Broom’s writing, the sense of place, the vivid and evocative descriptions and the attention to detail mean that the New Zealand setting in One Winter Morning is every bit as strong a character as Tui, Genie, Kit et al. There’s a layered and visual depth that comes from such a skilled writer that made me want to book my flight immediately, even though I’ve never had a desire to visit the country before.
The characters thrum with life and authenticity; Tui in particular. I loved the way she is different and yet placed so naturally and convincingly at the heart of much of the narrative. One Winter Morning may ostensibly be Genie’s story, but every one of the people between its covers is real and knowable. I think it’s the way Isabelle Broom peels back the layers of what makes us who we are and illustrates how we have to find ourselves before we can find others that I found so moving in the characters here. The plot is driven by these people, but in a totally natural manner. There’s nothing here that couldn’t have happened in real life and yet it is written about so warmly, so genuinely and so adeptly that I was entirely wrapped up in the events.
But for me, the main success of One Winter Morning comes not through the great plot, the fabulous people or the wonderful setting, but through the sensitive, honest and humane exploration of the themes. Identity, family, love, disability, grief, healing and so on all combine to make One Winter Morning a book that not only heals Genie, but the reader too. I ended the story feeling as if I’d been given hope and warmth. As if I had found a kind of home, just like Genie.
One Winter Morning is a lovely, lovely book. I adored it and cannot recommend it highly enough.
About Isabelle Broom
Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before a 12-year stint at Heat magazine. Always happiest when she’s off on an adventure, Isabelle now travels all over the world seeking out settings for her escapist fiction novels, as well as making the annual pilgrimage to her second home – the Greek island of Zakynthos.
Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a cottage with her two dogs and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and tries her best not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.