It was solidified after the most recent read of The Steep and Thorny Way that came out last month. A story based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, our female protagonist is struggling with the purported ghost of her late father and the return of the convicted killer , a young man who hit him with his car. There is also a very real struggle of race in their town– Hanalee is biracial– her father was a black man and her mother is white and their marriage was controversial. And since Hanalee’s father’s death, her mother had married a new man, a white man, that seemed to settle the town a bit. It’s historical, it’s mysterious. As are the other two that I’ve read, including my first experience with Cat Winters’ beautiful writing in In the Shadow of Blackbirds.
Winters’ ability to create a moody, atmospheric setting is just as powerful as her characters and plots. Add to that her insistence on incorporating history and she creates magic. And she can do that in a condensed version as well when I read April Genevieve Tucholke’s curated collection Slasher Girls & Monster Boys where Winters’ short story “Emmeline” stole the show.
There is no denying Winters is unique but without playing to a specific readership. Her books are accessible and fascinating to a variety of readers. We can only hope she continues to write as eloquently as she already has. I can’t wait to discover the others that I haven’t read to fall more in love!