The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I bought this book in Waterstones, wanting a wintery feel story to read. The title: The Way Past Winter is what made me pick this book up, along with its beautiful sprayed edges.

The Way Past Winter is a beautifully written fairy tale, steeped in a richness that only these types of stories hold. Mila, along with her siblings Sanna, Pípa and their brother Oskar live in a house deep in the woods. They have had to fend for themselves for years, since their father went missing. It has been perpetual Winter for five years!

The opening of this story really sets this book up:

“It was a winter they would tell tales about. A winter that arrived so sudden and sharp it stuck birds to branches, and caught the rivers in such a frost their spray froze and scattered down like clouded crystals on the stilled water. A winter that came and never left”.

They all have to survive, living off of boiled cabbage much to Pípa’s disgust. One day, a strange man appears at the door looking for a place to stay, along with numerous riders trotting behind. Mila doesn’t like or trust the man. The next day Oskar is missing, Sanna thinking he left on his own accord, whilst Mila believing something to be off about the situation. Knowing her brother wouldn’t leave them, like their dad did.

Mila persuades the family to go to the nearest town North, to see if he went there. Here Mila meets the Mage Rune and learns that all of the boys in the village have also gone. Believing that the Bear of the North has taken them, Mila goes on an adventure of a lifetime with Rune and Pípa in tow. In the hopes of finding Oskar and possibly find out how to bring back the seasons.

Overall the book was wonderful, a real gem. It really hit the spot for my wintery read. I have to admit, I experienced a range of emotions whilst reading the book. I even shed a tear at the end, which I can see being a thing when reading Kiran’s books, as I also cried at the end of The Deathless Girls! I really enjoyed the sense of family this book provided, it was wholesome and magical.

This book was written with age 9+ children in mind, so it isn’t a complicated read and is quite short at 239 pages. However, I really enjoyed it and feel it is suitable for all ages. Four Stars.

Title: The Way Past Winter

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Publisher: Chicken House