Published by Cincinnatus Press on June 4, 2019
Genres: Adult Fiction
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From the bestselling author of Just Remember to Breathe and The Last Hour, a shocking and poignant story of a family on the brink of destruction and the transformational events that could bring them back together—or tear them apart.
Every day, Cole Roberts reminds himself that life wasn’t always this bleak. He was once passionately in love with Erin. Sam used to be an artistic and lively kid. They hadn’t always lived in a shabby two-room house in rural Alabama, where he runs a mediocre restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
That was before Brenna disappeared. It was before Cole lost his job and they lost their home.
Every day it gets worse. Erin drinks wine out of the bottle and spends her days with a tormented expression, searching the web for signs of their daughter. Sam hides in his room and rarely speaks. And Cole works himself to a stupor for a paycheck a fraction of the size of his old salary.
Until one day a phone call changes everything.
winter flower is at once a tragic tale of the disappearance of a child; struggling with gender identity; of the dark world of sex-trafficking and the transformation and healing of a family. Sheehan-Miles’s longest novel delves into the depths of family life—and how, sometimes, we can heal and find restoration.
If I had to sum up Winter Flower in one word I would say it’s about hope. Winter Flower is one of the most powerful and gripping stories I’ve ever read. What the Robert’s family endures is raw, dirty, and very real. It’s a culmination of events that could happen to any one of us. Not one of us is safe from any of the topics touched in this book.
While the Roberts’ family may seem idyllic at the beginning of the story, it’s anything but. The disappearance of their daughter Brenna on her 16th birthday catapults this family into a turmoil. The downward spiral of husband and wife, already divided by past transgressions, is seemingly insurmountable. The question throughout this book in my mind was “can they heal together and move on” and the answer was almost always “no”.
Their son Sam, my absolute favorite character, had issues of his own separate and apart from the disappearance of this sister. I found his part of the story heart wrenching. Sam is existing, in a world without his sister, his only confidant. He’s struggling with finding his place in this world where his parents essentially ignore him. Not because they don’t care but because they’re both so overcome of the grief of losing Brenna. It’s hard to see past that one big event that looms over all of them.
I cried so many times for Sam. My heart hurt for him as a parent and as a human. There is so much pain in this story that at times my only relief were the flashbacks of Cole and Erin. Painful as this story is, there is so much hope written on the pages. Hope for acceptance, hope for reconciliation, hope for redemption, hope for the peaceful closure the Roberts’ family so desperately needs.
Charles Sheehan-Miles may not release books often, however I know I can count on him for something epic. His talents are seriously under appreciated. Winter Flower is no walk in the park, it’s very well written, it’s a passionately told story of one family’s survival.
* I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book *