Saturday, October 2, 2010

Phyllis A. Whitney: The Winter People

This novel is one of the early ones by Whitney; it was published in 1969. I have used the image of the book cover I have, and I found the image at The Official Phyllis A. Whitney website:

Dina Blake is a museum jack of all trades when she meets Glen Chandler, a sculptor. From the moment Glen sees her, he insists upon sculpting Dina in alabaster. Their relationship develops, and they marry in a whirlwind. Dina is spirited away to Northern New Jersey. On her way to the family estate, High Towers, she runs into her old love, Trent McIntyre; his reaction to her new marriage puzzles her. Soon, she realizes that Glen has not told her everything about his family-- namely about his dark twin Glynis.

Danger and intrigue stalk Dina through the halls of High Towers. What kind of game are Glen and Glynis playing? Is Aunt Nomi friend or foe, and who can save Dina from the evil that lurks at High Towers?

Characterization: 5/5 [I loved this novel immediately, and the nicely drawn characters were a key to that reaction. I could picture Dina Blake with her Scandinavian looks. I could see Britt Eklund (in her younger years) playing her role, and Ralph Fiennes as her husband (a younger Ralph Fiennes); he has the hair color for the part! Trent McIntyre might be played by Clive Owen.]

Plot: 4/5 [The plot caught me up quickly; I really like the pace of the novel. I took one star off simply for how Dina runs into Trent McIntyre again; it seems so far fetched, but then I was thinking about how I ran into someone from my past once in the strangest place at a pivotal time. I guess it could happen.]

Atmosphere/spooky elements: 4/5 [The whole focus on cold, ice, white, and snow is chilling. I love the enclosed atmosphere Whitney creates; it is quite claustrophobic. The estate itself is creepy as is the obsession of Glen Chandler with Dina's image for his sculpture. Finally, Glynis is as menacing a twin and painter as you will find in literature.]

Literary elements: 5/5 [Yes, the novel is smart. Whitney uses symbolism and tone to create a true atmosphere. In other words, the novel is well written.]

Rating: 4+ stars   ****+

Don't skip this one. It is a true Gothic Romance, and the tone and atmosphere are masterful.

The Winter People


Propagatrix said...

This is one of my all-time favorites! I always picture John Shea as Glen Chandler (he was Lex Luthor in "Lois and Clark").

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