Review: Winter's End by Clarissa Cartharn

A woman torn between two men – One she once loved and another who threatens to destroy all she’s worked for.

Tormented by the rumors plaguing her once loveless marriage, young widow Emma Winston escapes to Breakish on the Isle of Skye with her two children. But her hopes of a new beginning is shattered as she finds herself torn between the man she once loved, her brother-in-law Richard Winston and wealthy, handsome playboy, Chris Cameron, who threatens to destroy everything she’s accomplished if she doesn’t accept his offer of a convenient marriage.

Will Emma finally learn to follow her heart?

Clarissa Cartharn has always had a deep love for language. Her pursuit of it has led her to obtain a BA majoring in English Language and Literature, sought a career in English, teaching for six years before finally becoming a lawyer. But when she took up the pen, she realized what she was really desiring for was the cathartic release of her wild imagination via writing.

Clarissa is interested in learning new languages and is currently on a quest to conquer Mandarin Chinese.

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My Review:

I absolutely enjoyed the meandering style that Clarissa Cartharn used in WINTER’S END. It could have been a fast read, but the wonderful descriptions of the isle left me wanting to just enjoy the scenery and live alongside the characters.

The cantankerous old lady, Mrs. Kinnaird, who was misunderstood by the local folk due to old folk-lore about the family curse was a great character and greatly added to the book. Emma was a sweet young widow and it was enjoyable to read about her and the children and their lives on the isle. Ms. Cartharn gave such an apt description of the solarium that I felt as though I were sitting there having tea and reading alongside Emma.

Life for Emma appears to be as close to perfect as it can get when along comes Mrs. Kinnaird’s grandson, whom the old lady has determined would be the perfect match for Emma. The butler had a saying, “Don’t settle to love anyone else than what your heart truly deserves. Because when you do find it, you stop searching for that love anymore.” It was appropriate for the story in WINTER’S END.

The only drawback (or two) that I found with the book was that after meandering along at a peaceful pace, it ended rather abruptly. I thought the author could have made the ending a chapter in itself and given the reader a little more detailed ending. Also, the grammar. I found the book contained a number of grammatical errors, some of which may have been the language barrier. I am noticed that books written by authors in the UK differ quite a bit from American authors. Our terminology is very different and it sometimes sticks out like a sore thumb in books. And, even though that may be the case here, it still contained errors. There were sentences that didn’t make a lick of sense to me. The author did give clear distinctions between past and present, using italics to make it easy to incorporate the information.

I am giving WINTER’S END four stars due to the abrupt ending and grammar differences. I loved the story-line and overall, it was a very good book and one worth recommending. 

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"Xmas" or "Christmas"? An interesting tidbit. Did YOU know?

Christmas in the post-War United States
Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to this post from Grammar Girl!


Many listeners have asked about the origin and appropriateness of “Xmas.”

Retailers have long been accused of secularizing Christmas by using “Xmas” in signs and advertisements; therefore, I suspect many of you will be surprised to learn that “Xmas” has a religious origin.

In Greek, the letter “chi” is written as an X, and chi is the first letter of the Greek word for “Christ.” Greeks sometimes abbreviated “Christ” as “X.” For example, they abbreviated “Christ savior” as “XP.” (“P” is the symbol for the Greek letter “rho,” which is the first letter of the word “savior” in Greek.) TheOxford English Dictionary shows the first known English use of “Xmas” in 1551.

As for appropriateness, “Xmas” may have a religious origin and fit better on signs, but many people — both those who use “Xmas” and those who complain about its use — are unaware of the religious origin. If you choose to use “Xmas,” you should know that some people will be infuriated.


I know that I actually found this fascinating as I was “one” of those who NEVER dared used Xmas in place of Christmas, even if I needed to shorthand something really quick. I guess that proves we shouldn’t jump to conclusions on anything.


Give them what they want…

I am borrowing someone’s words that I read today, “Give them what they want”.

As I read this, I realized that this is how I have lived most of my life.

If you want them to like you, give them what they want. If you don’t want them angry with you, give them what they want. If you want a peaceful existence, give them what they want.

You end up giving and giving and giving; while they end up taking and taking and taking; until you finally loose all that you are. At what point in your life, do you say, “No more. I need to be heard, even if it is not what you want to hear.” At what point do you stand up for yourself – as a living, breathing human with feelings and emotions and say, “I count. I matter; no more burying my feelings.”

I think I found my way into many situations because I am an introvert – NOT to be confused with being shy. They are NOT one in the same, although they are quite often confused. Because I shy away from confrontation, I allowed others to take advantage of my emotions, thus defining who I was. I made it easy for a domineering parent to control me. I made it easy for a verbally/emotionally abusive spouse to abuse me. I made it easy for my daughters to be alienated from me.

Studying personality traits has become a hobby of mine. Along with helping me to understand my own reactions to different situations, it also helps me to understand others. Being an introvert has affected many of my decisions. If I had understood my personality better, I may have made different decisions; not necessarily better decisions; but different decisions.

Because of my introvertedness, I found myself always giving in and giving others what they wanted -not needed – wanted – and I lost sight of myself. I became a shell of a person.

The longer we allow a cycle like this to continue, the longer it may take us to find ourselves again, to learn who we are. As an introvert, I would shove my feelings down deep and bury them. I learned to turn off my emotions and to feel nothing, so much so, that I developed a problem with disconnecting when I am hurt. The difficulty with shoving “stuff” down is that eventually, and it may take years, it bubbles to the surface.

Coming to terms with past hurts sometimes involves purging ourselves of the hurt we are either holding onto, or that has been deeply buried. No matter how hard we try to keep these feelings buried, the feelings sometimes begin their ascension to the surface, like a balloon filled with helium, fighting to be released. Then, how do we let go of the balloon if we must “give them what they want”?

For me, I write. I have found that putting my words down on paper allows those deeply buried hurts to rise and filter through my fingers on their way to release.

As I have written before, I am not one who likes confrontation -just ask the sister I used to run – literally – from – and in that respect, I guess that has made me somewhat of a pleaser, or maybe just a coward, depending on the day. While some personalities thrive on confrontation, I do not. Chances are, if you confront me, I will just stand there and stare at you as though you have lost your mind, then turn and walk away. You may still be badgering me, or you may have finished your tirade, it won’t matter to me, as I have long since shutdown.

Putting my deepest thoughts down on paper is difficult for me, even scary. I prefer to just shove the discontent deep down and stay quiet. However, I had to visit an establishment the other day, and it wasn’t so much the lack of respect that I received as the disrespect that was shown. It is strange how humans have a need to dislike people based on other’s lamenting, not even bothering to find out if what they heard is true. Then, they turn around and show disrespect or disdain to the person, as though it were a badge of honor for their friend. I guess I just had enough. No more “give them what they want” for me.

I am coming out. This introvert is going to be roaring like a lioness. I came across a saying this morning, “Sometimes you just have to take a leap…and build your wings on the way down”. I think I’d like to try that. I guess I will either soar or crash and burn, but either way, I will be me – no more Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, waiting to take a great big fall.


This post originally appeared on my blog: