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The Winter Road    by Caron Todd order for
Winter Road
by Caron Todd
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

This is the story of a woman living a secluded life with her mother, and of a man who comes to the town of Three Creeks in Northern Canada, claiming to be their neighbor's nephew. There is an air of mystery surrounding Matthew, who takes over the missing Daniel's home. Emily is curious about him, and somewhat attracted as well.

Emily's lived a very lonely life, her first priority being the care of her mother. Years before, she passed up marrying a man she loved in order to care for Julia, who doesn't appear to be mentally capable of living alone. Julia has a problem with everyday life. She's obsessive compulsive, collecting and rearranging books by a logic that is not always apparent, and doing this over and over. At the same time, Julia shuns social contact. The two women have lived in Three Creeks all their lives. But Julia prefers to keep to herself. Emily sees to it that they are both clothed and fed, and visits family and friends, but never seems to have a relationship with the opposite sex.

Matthew's mission in Three Creeks is at first unknown to the two women, but when Emily finally learns the truth, she becomes upset. This news may change her view of her father, a man who died when she was eight years old and whom she always believed to be a good person. Now, her world is on the verge of falling apart. Emily does her best to make sure her father's good name is not sullied and asks around town, trying to find out what Matthew is up to. Is he really Daniel's nephew, or does he intend to harm someone?

The tone of this story was quite different from Superromances I've read in the past. The characters are not likeable at first, especially Matthew, but it makes sense since the reader has good cause to distrust him. He comes across as creepy, mysterious, and someone I would personally stay away from. Julia appears as a very difficult woman, and it is amazing that Emily has stuck with her all these years, since Julia has never been there emotionally for her daughter. It shows what type of person Emily is, the dutiful daughter who always puts family first.

I liked the small town of Three Creeks and the fact that everyone knew everyone, which bothered Matthew to some degree (he's in the gossip mill soon after Emily meets him). Matthew has walls around him, which disturbs Emily to no end, since she has a hard time hiding her own feelings. The mystery behind Daniel's disappearance speeds the story along, and makes one wonder whether to trust Matthew or not. I recommend The Winter Road as an enjoyable Superromance.

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