Winter Games

Written by Rachel Johnson
Review by Claire Cowl

A crossover novel between chick-lit and historical drama, and charting specific and interrelating events in the lives of a grandmother and granddaughter, Winter Games shares its time between two very different generations and lifestyles: Nazi Germany in 1936 and yuppie consumerist 2006 London.

Johnson amalgamates the tensions governing pre-war British-German relations with gentle critique over contemporary lifestyle to form a narrative which intertwines the lives of magazine journalist, Francie Fitzsimon, with her own grandmother, Daphne Linden, at finishing school in Bavaria in 1936. As Francie’s own emotional journey coincides with discovering the story behind a photograph of her grandmother with Hitler, a simultaneous narrative emerges which dramatizes the excitement, uncertainty and the disastrous consequences of too much sexual innocence in the year when everything began changing for the world – and for Daphne herself.

This is a very easy, sometimes disturbing and equally touching novel. Do be prepared for some salacious language in the contemporary section – as already noted, the chick-lit style dominates a portion of this novel, which is counteracted stylistically by the innocence of language which permeates the pre-war sections. A recommended read for readers of interwar faction and chick-lit advocates.