Synopses & Reviews
She met him at a wedding she had gone to only because she needed a husband and a wedding wasn't a bad place to begin looking....And he took to her, he liked her crooked straightness from the start.
Hannie Bennet has arrived at the situation she dreads most: she is a woman of a certain age, recently widowed, and her only prospect for protecting herself and all she holds dear is to marry again. And soon.
In Ned Renvyle she finds her perfect foil. It is not love, certainly, but marriage offers other comforts. They enter their union clear-eyed, each making certain accommodations and gaining certain benefits. Hannie believes that this time she can make it work. But their move to Ned's ancestral home in the Irish countryside brings vexations Hannie never imagined judging eyes, ancient secrets, a brooding and beautiful landscape. Hannie also has a secret of her own, and even this remote and stately country life cannot contain it entirely. A visitor unleashes a maelstrom of jealousy, deceit, blackmail, and terror, and the violence scarcely contained by age-old understandings becomes the true crucible for a marriage's strength.
A Winter Marriage is a first novel written with a force and craft rarely seen, and Hannie Bennet is one of the most irresistible heroines of recent fiction a sharp-tongued, clear-thinking survivor in an unforgettable drama of love, desire, and betrayal.
"An intelligent, subtle writer, Hardie paints a convincing picture of the compromises of domestic life....Sometimes Hardie overreaches, piling the philosophy on too thick and diluting the power of Hannie's revelation. Still, if readers are willing to indulge these meditations, Hardie's debut will leave them wondering what else this provocative writer has up her sleeve." Publishers Weekly
"A somber, haunting debut novel....Difficult, dark, and uncompromisingly fine." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"It is not that this is a first novel entirely without merit. There are fine passages about the quiet, settled rhythms of a small Irish community....Yet it is hard to ignore the narrative's weaknesses. A good metaphor should never be missed, and Hardie, a poet before she was a novelist, is alert, in a labored sort of way, to the possibilities of some fine pathetic fallacy." Catherine Lockerbie, The New York Times Book Review
"[A] searing first novel....Hardie probes beneath the skin of her sharply drawn characters, revealing complex layers of resignation and regret....This disquieting domestic drama effortlessly transforms itself into a taut psychological thriller featuring a harrowing back-story." Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
"While the story is suspenseful and the language often lyrical, readers will find it hard to get past their utter dislike for the characters. Hannie seems no more than an opportunist, her mood sour owing to her unhappiness at having misjudged Ned's worth. Joss is a selfish, twisted adolescent, and Ned is a pushover." Library Journal
"A Winter Marriage is an amazement. Kerry Hardie achieves a deep and authoritative portrait of the harms we do each other when trust and love go lacking, and provides us with a heroine whose claim on a reader's heart is both aching and relentless." Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
"A Winter Marriage is a fascinating, original novel whose themes of landscape and love are bitterly, beautifully entwined. Kerry Hardie's startling prose unfolds a story that is part thriller and part painting, a portrait of the enigma of human feeling that moves to its conclusion as subtly as the dark season that is its setting." Rachel Cusk, author of A Life's Work and The Country Life
Fifty-two-year-old Hannie Bennet finds Irish village life constricting when she enters into a marriage of convenience with writer Ned Renvyle. "Hardie . . . explores questions of aging and mortality, idealism and cynicism . . . and the responsibility that comes with marriage as she takes Hannie's story to its dark but hopeful climax."--"Publishers Weekly."
About the Author
Kerry Hardie grew up in Northern Ireland and studied English at York University, England. She has worked for the BBC and for the Northern Ireland Arts Council. She received the Friends Provident National Poetry Prize, and she lives in County Kilkenny, Ireland, with her husband, Sean.