Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. LeGuin, "The Winter Boy" explores important political and social issues within a dynamic, character-driven otherworld, all wrapped up in masterful storytelling. The Valley of the Alleshi is the center of all civilization, the core and foundation of centuries of peace. A cloistered society of widows, the Alleshi, has forged a peace by mentoring young men who will one day become the leaders of the land. Each boy is paired with a single Allesha for a season of intimacy and learning, using time-honored methods that include storytelling, reason and sex. However, unknown to all but a hidden few, the peace is fracturing from pressures within and beyond, hacking at the very essence of their civilization. Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl is a “problem boy,” who fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers a web of conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threatens to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. It is a bit different than my normal reading but it sounded so interesting that I had to give it a try.
The world is built through the lessons shared and the stories read about the land before Peace. Secret meetings and whispered conversations hint at a purpose for taking on such a difficult, headstrong and selfish boy. Rishana has her work cut out for her.
After the Winter Season, will Ryl be ready toe be the Alleman the elders expect him to be? A leader and defender of the Peace?
About the Author
Whether she is writing books or taking photographs, Sally Wiener Grotta is the consummate storyteller. Her words and pictures reflect her deep humanism and appreciation for the poignancy of life. As an award-winning journalist, she has authored many hundreds of articles, columns and reviews for scores of glossy magazines, newspapers and online publications. She has also co-authored numerous non-fiction books with her husband, Daniel Grotta. Her novel "Jo Joe" was published by Pixel Hall Press in spring 2013.