Back cover copy:
Maudie Todhunter poured herself some coffee, sliced the top neatly from her egg, and settled herself to look at her letters. A rather promising selection lay aside her plate this morning: a satisfyingly bulky package from the Scotch House, a blue square envelope beaing her stepgranddaughter's spiky writing, and a more businesslike missive stamped with an estate agent's logo--which she placed at the bottom of the pile. She slit open Posy's card with the butter knife and propped it against the marmalade before plunging her spoon into the rich golden yok of her boiled egg...
--from A Week in Winter
Born in Somerset, in the west country of England, on the day the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Marcia Willett was the youngest of five girls. Her family was unconventional and musical, but Marcia chose to train as a ballet dancer. Unfortunately her body did not develop with the classical proportions demanded by the Royal Ballet, so she studied to be a ballet teacher. Her first husband was a naval officer in the submarine service, with whom she had a son, Charles, now married and training to be a clergyman. Her second husband, Rodney, himself a writer and broadcaster, encouraged Marcia to write novels. She has published several novels in England; A Week in Winter is the first to be published in the United States.
Any reader who has ever fallen in love with a house will understand the attraction of Moorgate, a light-and-fresh-air-filled old farmhouse on the edge of the moor in Cornwall. The enchanting house now belongs to seventy-something Maudie Todhunter, the late Lord Todhunter's free-spirited second wife. (The first wife, Hilda, was supposedly a paragon of virtue, and Maudie has always felt second-best.) The light of Maudie's life is her vivacious stepgranddaughter, Posy, who begs Maudie to board a giant English mastiff whom Posy's mean-spirited mother has banned from the house. (The large and ungainly Polonius is an impossibly lovable canine who outshines Lassie by a mile and is destined to become a favorite of readers worldwide.)
When Maudie decides to sell Moorgate, all kinds of old family secrets come to light, and so the saga begins. Along the way, Rob, the contractor of Moorhouse, falls in love with a woman who has a sad secret. Posy's father falls in love with someone kinder than his shrewish wife. Maudie must reevaluate someone she'd fallen in love with years ago. And as the connections intertwine between the past and the present, many unexpected alliances form.
Vivid, lushly written, and entirely unforgettable, this all-absorbing novel provides the kind of abundant reading experience that will leave readers eagerly looking forward to more from this newly discovered and superbly talented author.
"Fans of Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy will definitely applaud the introduction of such an enjoyable writer."
"A charming story. . . highly recommended for public libraries everywhere."
"A Week in Winter has all the elements of a perfect summer book. . . it's thoroughly engrossing, with richly drawn characters, a mysterious locale, and a beautifully crafted plot. . . the perfect addition to your summer beach tote."
--The Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
"Captivating. . . . Set in a wild Cornish landscape that will evoke for readers Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers, Willett is a true discovery."
--Michelle Slung, Victoria Magazine
"Like Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy, Willett creates such fully dimensional characters that readers feel as if they should phone or e-mail them to keep in touch."
--Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
"It is a wonderful moving story of family and values set in the English countryside. It is very reminiscent of the novels of Pilcher and Binchy. I am so glad Ms. Willett is following in their footsteps!" -- Marilyn Sieb, Books & Company