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Title: Winterland

Author: Rae Meadows

Publisher: Henry Holt

Genre: Historical Fiction

Winterland is a book that I really enjoyed, but I found myself wanting MORE! I felt like it just scratched at the surface of the 1970s era of Soviet living and what young gymnasts endured. Then there was a side story mystery of the missing mom in the book. Or was she dead. It was never really clear (at least to me). So maybe it was the case of trying to do too many things or the story lost its identity along the way.

“Sometimes you need cruelty to appreciate beauty,”

“It’s okay to be scared. But the trick is to know you are stronger than your fear.”

“Fear is a weed. If you let it grow, its roots are too tough.”

“First you just love it. Second you need it; you cannot live without it. Third is when you realize you don’t belong to yourself anymore. Fourth is when you still want it, but nobody wants you anymore.”

⬆️ Talk about beautiful writing. I was so immersed. The characters were outstanding too.

The story begins with eight year old Anya being “tapped” for the USSR gymnastics program. There is no greater honor and her family is thrilled. Well, what’s left of her family…her dad and her neighbor who is like family that survived a Gulag camp. Her mom has been missing for ten years. As the story goes on, Anya continues to move up the ranks, but there is little room for error…and not just of her but her family too!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Beautiful writing, but the story needed to be tighter with no loose strings for me. This book was 274 pages and probably needed to be in the 350 range. Which I know is kind of crappy feedback because the book has already been written, but that’s just my opinion. In a saturated WWII HF market this one is different!

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