The Very Dead of Winter

3.17 based on 8 ratings & 4 reviews on Goodreads.com

In this haunting novel, echoing mystery play and fairy tale, a family is forced to confront the grievances and emotional confusions of their shared past. In the very dead of winter they assemble at a remote country cottage enveloped by snow. Ostensibly they are celebrating Christmas, but festivities are marred by the presence of Konrad, who is dying. Florence, his manipulative wife, views Konrad's imminent death with annoyance; their two grown-up children bear the scars of this imperfect union. At the heart of the novel is Sophia, Florence's unorthodox sister and their host, who seems able to stand aside from family combat, yet guards a secret that has relevance for them all. Here, with characteristic insight and compassion, Mary Hocking unravels different kinds of love and need.

As precise and glittering as a snow crystal, Hocking's prose slices into the frozen hearts of her characters
Sunday Times
A subtle and unusual novelist
Financial Times
Mary Hocking is an undisguised blessing
Guardian

About Mary Hocking

Born in in London in 1921, Mary was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Girls School, Acton. During the Second World War she served in the Women's Royal Naval Service (Wrens) attached to the Fleet Air Arm Meteorology branch and then briefly with the Signal Section in Plymouth.

Writing was in her blood. Juggling her work as a local government officer in Middlesex Education Department with writing, at first short stories for magazines and pieces for The Times Educational Supplement, she then had her first book, The Winter City, published in 1961.

The book was a success and enabled Mary to relinquish her full time occupation to devote her time to writing. Even so, when she came to her beloved Lewes in 1961, she still took a part-time appointment, as a secretary, with the East Sussex Educational Psychology department.

Long before family sagas had become cult viewing, she had embarked upon the 'Fairley Family' trilogy - Good Daughters, Indifferent Heroes, and Welcome Strangers - books which give her readers a faithful, realistic and uncompromising portrayal of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times, between the years of 1933 and 1946.

For many years she was an active member of the 'Monday Lit', a Lewes-based group which brought in current writers and poets to speak about their work. Equally, she was an enthusiastic supporter of Lewes Little Theatre, where she found her role as 'prompter' the most satisfying, and worshipped at the town's St Pancras RC Church.

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Books by Mary Hocking

Family Circle
Family Circle
Daniel Come to Judgement
Daniel Come to Judgement
The Bright Day
The Bright Day
The Mind Has Mountains
The Mind Has Mountains
Look, Stranger
Look, Stranger
He Who Plays the King
He Who Plays the King
March House
March House
An Irrelevant Woman
An Irrelevant Woman
A Particular Place
A Particular Place
Letters from Constance
Letters from Constance
The Meeting Place
The Meeting Place
Good Daughters
Good Daughters
Indifferent Heroes
Indifferent Heroes
Welcome Strangers
Welcome Strangers
Visitors to the Crescent
Visitors to the Crescent
The Sparrow
The Sparrow
The Young Spaniard
The Young Spaniard
Ask No Question
Ask No Question
A Time of War
A Time of War
The Winter City
The Winter City
Checkmate
Checkmate
The Hopeful Traveller
The Hopeful Traveller
The Climbing Frame
The Climbing Frame