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Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Winter Night by Anne Leigh Parrish

A Winter Night by Anne Leigh Parrish
Published by Unsolicited Press ISBN 9781950730605
Trade paperback, $16. 244 pages

I was first introduced to the Dugan family in Anne Leigh Parrish's book of linked short stories, Our Love Could Light the World. (My review here) The Dugan family story continued in the novel The Amendment (My review here) I loved both books, and so I really looked forward to a third meeting with the Dugans in A Winter Night.

A Winter Night focuses on 34 year-old Angie Dugan, who works as a social worker at a retirement/nursing home. Angie helps families and residents adjust to a new life. She's good at her job, even if it is not exactly what she wants to be doing with her life.

Angie is dating Matt, a younger bartender who is a real people person, a useful trait for his profession. Their relationship is fairly new, and Matt is a friend of one of Angie's younger brothers, which means they spend a lot of time with her brother and his girlfriend.

Trust is an issue for Angie in relationships. She's only had three serious relationships, and each ended on not great terms. Angie's mom Lavinia left the family for a time when the children were young, and then divorced her alcoholic husband Potter and married a wealthier man who later died after being struck by lightning on the golf course. Angie has always helped pick up the pieces of her father's life, even after he married a successful realtor. 

Parrish's beautiful writing gives us such insight into Angie, as seen in this passage about Matt's apartment building:
"It reeks of the temporary, the rootless, somewhere people stay on their way to somewhere either better or worse. She's only channeling her own experience, though, of moving so often when she was growing up. Her family never seemed to stay anywhere longer than a year."

Angie "was told her honesty was a weapon, a means to hand out judgment that was seldom unbiased. Her mother said she liked to beat people up with her words." She sees a therapist to try and have a better understanding of herself.

When Potter relapses and starts drinking again, Angie does not want to be pulled back into the caretaker role she undertook when she was younger. Although Potter promises to stop drinking, as Lavinia says, his "promises are never false. They're just seldom kept."

Reading A Winter Night felt like going back to your hometown and catching up with an old friend. The Dugans live near the Finger Lakes region where I grew up, and that connection drew me in once again. Like Angie, I also grew up as the oldest of five children, and the Christmas dinner scene with all the siblings with all the family dynamics that entails is so relatable.

I highly recommend A Winter Night. It can be read as a stand alone novel, but do yourself a favor and read the two earlier books to get a deeper appreciation of the arc of the Dugan family story. I hope we get to read more about the rest of the Dugans in further stories, as Angie's story reminded me how much I missed them.

Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Anne Leigh Parrish's tour. The rest of her stops are here:

Review tour:

Friday, June 4th: 5 Minutes for Books

Monday, June 7th: @jenniaahava

Tuesday, June 8th: BookNAround

Wednesday, June 9th: Eliot’s Eats

Thursday, June 10th: @reading_with_nicole

Friday, June 11th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie

Monday, June 14th: SusanLovesBooks

Tuesday, June 15th: Lit and Life

Wednesday, June 16th: Mom Loves Reading and @mom_loves_reading

Thursday, June 17th: Bookchickdi

Friday, June 18th: @fashionablyfifty

Monday, June 21st: Blunt Scissors Book Reviews and @bluntscissorsbookreviews

Tuesday, June 22nd: Openly Bookish

Thursday, June 24th: Run Wright and @karen_runwright

Friday, June 25th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, June 28th: Stranded in Chaos and @sarastrand9438

Wednesday, June 30th: Girl Who Reads

Thursday, July 1st: @lovelyplacebooks


1 comment:

  1. This sounds like something I'm adding to my winter reading list! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours