An exclusive short story by award-winning author Isabel Ashdown.
Two years after her father’s death, Sarah Ribbons prepares to spend the festive season on her own in his crumbling old cottage. It’s not the idea of being alone that bothers her – she’s determined not to be a burden on well-meaning friends who try to coax her into joining them for Christmas – in fact, Sarah thinks she has life as she likes it: firmly under control.
But when an unexpected email raises the ghosts of a distant past, she finds herself questioning this way of life – and discovers friendship in the least likely of places.
Isabel Ashdown is also the author of Hurry Up and Wait (Myriad, 2011) Summer of ’76 (Myriad, 2013) and Flight (Myriad, 2015).
The Nut Press11 December 2015
An intensely satisfying read... If you’re new to Isabel’s writing, this is a wonderful introduction to her beautiful prose and a perfect place to start. Her writing’s measured, calming, almost meditative, and as I read, I could feel myself breathing out and relaxing, safe in the hands of an assured storyteller. Isabel writes so exquisitely about the mess that is modern life, the relationships we have, as well as those we do our best to avoid. Her characters always feel like real people you drop in to see for a while and she paints the landscapes in which they move incredibly beautifully. A Quiet Winter is a timely seasonal short story about working out what’s important in life: about making connections with other people when all you may feel like doing is running away, and how sometimes those very same connections come along at the time we need them, if from the most unexpected quarters.View source
Beyond Eden Rock9 December 2015
A proper, grown-up story that spoke quietly but profoundly about what really is important in life... I loved meeting Sarah Ribbons again... Isabel Ashdown tells the story of this turning point in Sarah’s life with real empathy and understanding. She drew me in and she made me care. You don’t need to have read Hurry Up and Wait before you read this story; but if you read this story I’m sure you’ll want to.
Jera’s Jamboree1 December 2015
A Quiet Winter is a prequel to Hurry Up and Wait but it can easily be read as a standalone short story. Isabel's writing pulls you in to experience the same emotions as Sarah. This is a time of being stuck and afraid to move on, afraid of making changes that will mean she must face life and not hide herself away. For me, A Quiet Winter was all about emotion and realisations. Not only for Sarah. I loved ending on a positive.
Pamreader1 December 2015
A Quiet WinterView source
is a beautifully written meditation on loss, grief, acceptance and the power of letting go. The writing is exquisite, measured, thoughtful and calm... Ashdown is an observant writer, she has a great eye for visually expressing the tiny details that give her characters warmth and humanity. Many readers will relate to Sarah, especially if they’ve experienced any kind of loss or loneliness. Reading A Quiet Winter
is a cathartic experience, one that feels like being given a warm hug by a friend who truly understands the pain of loss and what it takes to come out the other side changed, but accepting, and ready to move on with life. If, like me, you find yourself in happy tears by the end, you can find out more about Sarah’s past in Hurry Up and Wait.