A Winter's Promise
by Christelle Dabos
Translated by Hildegarde Serle
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
A WINTER'S PROMISE by Christelle Dabos is a wildly complex and intriguing fantasy novel that follows the arranged engagement of young Ophelia to a broody and mysterious foreigner named Thorn. Ophelia is accustomed to her average life using her powers of “reading," the ability to view an object’s past, and running a museum in her homeland of Anima. When her family promises her hand to Thorn, she is forced to move to his homeland, the Pole, which is wildly different from the land where she grew up. Upon arriving at her new home, Ophelia is forced to hide her true identity as Thorn’s fiance to protect herself from his many enemies. The inhabitants of the Pole have the ability to manipulate perception and cause pain, and Ophelia must work hard to distinguish fact from fiction and form alliances with the brutal and unpredictable people she encounters.
Dabos draws her fantasy world and cast of characters in life-like, vivid detail without ever leaving the reader struggling for explanation. Dabos also never lets her heroine betray her morals or her personality. From her disinterest in romantic attachment to her practical but fearless nature, Ophelia is able to grow as a character without betraying her values. I would absolutely recommend this book to readers who enjoy well-built fantasy worlds and family and political dramas.