Book Review – Winter Haven – Rating: 8 out of 10

Winter Haven CoverWinter Haven, by Athol Dickson

How I came to read this book:


Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 9
  • Re-readability: 8
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 8


I loved this book. It has been a long time since I have read a really good dark book. Dark/gothic is a genre I used to read a lot of, but gave them up when I reconnected with God. The ghost story books I used to read were not Christian, and after a while ended up leaving me feeling gloomy rather than entertained.

This book, however, had me fascinated. Once I got into the story, I didn’t want to put it down (the best thing I can say about a book). The author did the one thing that always keeps me reading – writes of the main character’s struggle with their view of God. Because I am a thinker, searcher, struggler, it always helps me to read of others issues and resolutions. Even if they’re not completely resolved, I am really engrossed in their journey.

Writing Style

In the beginning, there were too many descriptors. It was a bit of a struggle to get into the flow, but as the storyline got going, it wasn’t nearly as cumbersome.


Because this book was a mystery, the re-readability was less than a 10 – I know how it ends. 🙂 But I enjoyed it enough to keep the book anyway! Gotta love Lundie endings!

Busy Mommy Scale

If this book hadn’t been so good, it would have gotten a lower rating, but it was good enough to keep a busy mommy reading and thinking about it. I didn’t have to backtrack very often.

About the Book

Boys who never age, giants lost in time, mist that never rises, questions never asked…on the most remote of islands off the coast of Maine, history haunts the present and Vera Gamble wrestles with a past that will not yield. Will she find refuge there, or will her ghosts prevail on… — Winter Haven

Eleven years ago, Vera Gamble’s brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found…washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body..and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn’t aged a day since last she saw him.

Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven’s murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth.

Author Bio

Athol Dickson’s university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing.

Athol Dickson’s writing has been favorably compared to the work of Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, and FlanneryO’Connor (The New York Times).

His They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist and his River Rising was a Christy Award winner, selected as one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006 and a finalist for Christianity Today’s Best Novel of 2006.

He and his wife, Sue, live in Southern California. Visit for more information.