From Publishers Weekly
Like Marsden's Letters from the Inside, this engrossing Australian novel features a tough teenage heroine and puzzles aplenty. Sixteen-year-old Winter returns to Warriewood, her late parents' estate, under circumstances that only gradually become clear. Winter, sharp-tongued and iron-willed, has refused to stay any longer with the Robinsons, her guardians for the past 12 years. "Something had always bothered me," she explains, "Some nagging thought deep in my mind had never been satisfied." She quickly uncovers signs of misdoings: the family house is empty of all its expensive furniture and the well-paid caretakers have allowed the property to deteriorate. The heroine soon learns that the story the Robinsons have told her, about her parents dying together while racing a yacht, is false. Her father died in the race, but her mother, an expert sportswoman, died six months later, under mysterious circumstances. Winter's determination to solve the riddle of her mother's death drives her on, even as the people she meets seem equally determined to conceal something from her. Improbable as much of the premise seems, Marsden's slow, teasing exposition will very likely lure readers further into the story to keep pace with the unstoppable Winter. The knockout punch Marsden delivers here may not have the lasting impact of his clincher in Letters, but it will certainly satisfy the expectations raised by the taut plot. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10-In this short but satisfying Australian novel, 16-year-old Winter is determined to know the truth about her parents. Orphaned at four years old, she has spent most of her life with cold, uncaring relatives in Canberra. Now she has returned to her childhood home, Warriewood. Instead of answers, however, she finds more problems, from an irritating but intriguing boy next door to the crooked managers who are supposed to take care of her land and cattle but are instead stealing from the estate. Told that her parents drowned in a sailing accident, Winter visits their graves and discovers that her mother actually died six months after her father. To find out what really happened, she confronts the local authorities, a doctor, and her strong-willed great aunt, any or all of whom may be trying to cover up the truth. At first, the teen seems stubborn to the point of unreasonableness, but before long readers will warm to her and cheer her on. As the secrets of her past are revealed, she takes charge of her inheritance and of her life; at the same time, her icy reserve begins to thaw. The facts of her mother's death, when they finally come out, are unexpected enough to make for a gratifying conclusion. Teens will especially enjoy the ferocity with which Winter stands up to the adults who try to take advantage of her.Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.