Cover Image: Winterly

Winterly

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Member Reviews

Okay this book was exactly what I needed right now! I can already sense that this is gonna be my comfort read. 
The story follows Emma, a young lady who is secretly a supernatural enthusiast  *wink*. The story begins when we meet the swoon worthy Lord Winterly, who is just the wicked monk that Emma has always dreamt about *winks and blushes*. 
The relationship dynamics and characterization were the main highlights of this book. I easily connected with the characters and felt drawn to read more and more. It is a bit slow paced in the beginning but that doesn't stop you from being absolutely hooked!
If Jane Austen wrote a vampire novel, it would be this. And you all need to read it.


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'Winterly' follows Emma Rose as she navigates Victorian-esque London society. Emma's perspective of the world is completely changed when she meets Markus Winterly, a handsome Viscount with dark secrets. As Emma is exposed to the hidden world of vampires, werewolves and witches, she must make a deal with the devil in order to save her sister's life.

A beautifully dark twisted romance. 'Winterly' is stunningly well written with sophisticated language that helps to immerse the reader in the time period and truly brings the characters to life. Croft succeeds to combine multiple genres into one book to make it completely unique - so don't expect the cliche of a young naive girl falling in love with vampire story!

I can't wait to see where the story goes in the sequel!
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Spoilers!!!!!

Imagine Darcy but with fangs and a very dark secret.


I read in a couple of reviews how the book was long or dragged on, which the book is over 500 pages, but if you think about the time it is written in and the style/tone/descriptions that would have been written, it is understandable. After I surmised it was basically a dark and sexy Jane Austen novel, I wasn't mad at the length, because it was NEEDED. Emma gave me huge Lizzie Bennet vibes while Milli was pretty like Jane yet acted more like Lydia.

“I see you are trying to make out my character,” he said. 
“Yes, but it is hard to do so in the dark.” 
“Some things are best done in the dark, Miss Rose.” 
“That is just what a wicked monk would say.”

“The fog swirled around his tall frame for only a moment, lapping at his heels like hell hounds (alliteration), before it closed about him. Hades himself could not have looked more frightening vanishing into the underworld mist than did that last glimpse of Markus Winterly.”
 These quotes are only from the beginning of the book, but I was motivated to continue reading after the little tête-à-tête and description of Winterly. 

A lot of thoughts at once when he revealed who he really was. I don't think I've read such a book with so much overlapping of mythology and supernatural myths.
By the second part of the book, I was happy I was getting all the information that was needed without things being left out. I appreciate waiting for the characters to have some semblance of getting to know each other more, because I do tire of an overnight romance, an “I love you” after a week of knowing each other. It feels…right, the way these characters fell into step with one another. 

Th big reveal to Milli and Emma? Amazing. 

We have a LOT of Greek mythology in the mixing bowl. 

And now the wolves…as I see the ending of this book as sort of the list of ingredients for the next book, I am not truly overwhelmed as I know there will be more to come and have come to terms with a lot of information in this part of the story so we can just (hopefully) move along in the upcoming books. 

I do want to see more of Milli’s upcoming story in the next book, how she deals with what has happened and see her grow from the woman she started as into someone stronger… I most definitely want to see her kick some supernatural butt.

I did not expect that end scene in the churchyard and I felt so many emotions. I was sad, angry, and shocked, but also relieved? I don't know if the last of the book was a total resolutions per se, but I am excited to see how things are picked up in the next book!
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I LOVE this book, It is more than just a causal read it was a full experience. Start to finish I could not it the book down. I love that vampire character model in this book is so unique I never felt like I was reading a typical retelling of the classic vampire romance novel. For me it definitely had a Jane Austen feeling met with a beautiful vampire gothic romance. Absolutely a must read and I cannot wait to continue my journey into the beautiful world Croft has created.
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A book worth a read if you are a sucker of gothic romance. The book is an exotic blend of historical fiction with mystical characters, yet another reason to devour the book once you lay your hands on it.

The author takes you in the Victorian era, from the dark filthy streets of london to the bone chilling dark majestic castle where the secrets spill drop by drop leaving the reader hungry for more. The story unfolds furthermore keeping the protagonist, Emma Rose jumbling between her judgement for good and evil fighting her conscience for her heart yearns for evil. By the finish line of climax, Emma is graced with the supreme truth of the extreme importance of dark.

By the end, the author leaves the reader wanting more to relish.
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Jeanine Croft has a very poetic way of writing and made Winterly more elegant I think, which was nice as it gave you a better feel for the period. Overall this was a good paranormal romance, it has a twist in it that I loved but there was a few times I had to stop to look up words, which also made me chuckle because I’m always telling my kids they need to learn new words. The ending ties up nicely, which I love because I hate cliffhangers especially in a series. I looked forward to reading Emma’s and Markus’ adventures in the future installments.
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Thank you Netgallery for lining me up with this author, Croft speaks my PNR language! Captivating story telling I am whisked into the world of vampire, werewolves and witches, dark and moody you see the world through Emma's eyes. There is more to her that one might initally expect, but Croft kept me hooked the whole time. I confess a couple of times the MC did annoy me with her piety, but that is it. She has such strong beliefs, yet she is curious - an adventuress.

I appreciated that Croft didn't rush the story, I got to know a little more about the supporting characters who I can see may have books of their own (hopefully). Beautifully written I enjoyed the development of the MC's relationship. If you like suspense romance, then this is for you. Along with magnificent fight sense that leave you gripping the edge of your seat then you are not to be disappointed.

Well done, utterly triumph in my book. Waiting it baited breathe for the next one.
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I enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next one. However, I grew tired of Emma's waffling when it came to Markus - the whole "he's bad and I should leave him alone, but I don't want to leave him alone" was the constant theme for the majority of the book. It got to be old because you knew how it was going to play out. I'm glad that got wrapped up in the end so we can hopefully move on from it for the next novel and focus more on the plot.

Kindly received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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(5/5⭐️) “There cannot be night without day, both have purpose. Both are essential in nature. And sometimes the moon and the sun share the same sky.”

Gothic vampire meets Victorian Era London in this Jane Austen style of prose where nothing is simply black or white, but somewhere in between. The pages of Winterly are dripping with light and dark analogies as Emma finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew. From the start, we see a woman eager to pass judgement upon the world, and especially upon her younger sister. We see a woman who believes life can only be good or evil. How wrong she is! The story comes full circle. We see that the very demon Emma was determined to scorn is the same demon she learns to love. 

Seductive, delicious, romantic, are words that come to mind when considering Emma and Winterly’s story. Jeanine Croft showed us true creativity by bringing in biblical theology to explain Lord Winterly’s fall from heaven, his love for Cleopatra, and his struggles ever since. She offered a new and creative take on vampires. She took a popular trope and infused it with historical events that made it feel real. 

Winterly is both plot and character driven. Emma has an obvious character arc. Quick to judge, she soon discovers that the world is not easily categorized. Things are not always good or bad. They can fall somewhere in between. Neither is she perfect. She makes mistakes and struggles with her feelings and emotions. She knows what she wants, yet, she chastises herself for wanting it, only because she judges herself to be wrong for it. But is following ones heart really so bad? It takes a little help from her cousin Mary to see this:

“I do not believe that love can be wasted. A heart must be freely given, even if there is no hope of reciprocity.”

The plot is driven most heavily by the Di Grigori sisters, witches determined to eliminate Lord Winterly. At the beginning of the story, we are led to believe they have Emma’s best interests at heart. They are the ones who help Emma understand Lord Winterly’s secrets. But as the story progresses, it is clear that they used Emma to get close to him. They use their magic to get into Emma’s mind and poison her to Lord Winterly, brainwashing her to kill him. As villains in the story, I developed a strong dislike for them. They had clear motives, and as the story progressed, it was evident that Emma and Milli mattered not. 

All of the characters were unique, fleshed out with a depth that brought them to life on the page. I loved how Emma and Milli were opposites of each other. Their sisterhood bond was believable and sweet. Even though they argued a lot, even though they kept different views of the world, their love trumped their differences. Emma played the older protective sister role well, while Milli played the carefree younger sister. I found myself laughing at their conversations and dialogue. It was a joy to read their interactions.

Winterly and his sister Victoria were also unique. Victoria carried an air of mystery about her. Her fascination towards Milli was intriguing and I hope to see more of Victoria and Milli in the next installment. And then there were the many other characters in Winterly’s inner circle. While we didn’t see much of them, I look forward to learning more about them in the next installment.

Jeanine Croft’s world building was curious and enticing, laced with gothic inspiration and riddled with ties to familiar historical stories like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Highlighting Winterly’s fall from heaven, the role he played in Cleopatra’s death, and his ties to demonology made her world believable. It was an adventurous exploration. 

Vampire stories are too often repeats of the same—not so for Winterly. To find one filled with rich analogies, themes beyond good and evil, and historical prose, is a breath of fresh air. How often do we see vampires as they were in the Victorian Era? Winterly feels like a story written by Austen herself. It’s sure to be a favorite for all historical romance lovers.
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Women are being brutally murdered in a previous century on the streets of London while Emma Rose and her sister Millicent. are visiting their aunt and uncle. When she is separated from her family on a foggy night, Emma encounters a monstrous creature and is rescued by Lord Markus Winterly. Emma is attracted to her rescuer but leery of her attraction, as a proper young woman would be, so she tells herself. His sister becomes friends with her sister and they are invited to his ancestral castle near Whitby Abbey, a nod to Dracula perhaps? It is here she finally learns the terrifying family secrets and Milli becomes endangered. Emma is torn between her desire for Markus and all that entails  and what she thinks of as good. Despite being a fallen angel, Markus is a sympathetic character whose backstory is different and interesting. I enjoyed the letters between Emma and her cousin Mary, who happens to be a nun less rigid than Emma. I did find the use of obscure words off-putting and it did not help place me in the past but the story will enliven an October night near Halloween.
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This is a Gothic historical paranormal book about a young woman who is a wallflower while her sister is the belle of the ball. This gave me Jane Austen meets paranormal romance. This is truly about a young woman coming into her own.
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