70 Favorite Books: Winter Rose
19. Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip (1996)
“You come to me, ” he whispered. “Into every dark place. Into every memory. Into the empty eyes of winter. I go alone and find you with me. Why do you care for me?”
I did not know until I spoke. “Because you are making me human.”
I cannot begin to tell you how much I love, love love this book. Again, it’s a retelling of Tam Lin (see previous post) and it’s a beautiful, haunting tale of love. Since reading this Patricia McKillip has become one of my favorite writers and I’ve eagerly begun collecting her work. Below, I’ve posted an excerpt from the book because I just can’t help it.
I could not argue with him; I did not know anymore what I was doing or why. I clung to all I knew: his hands, her words: “She said I must hold fast to you–”
He sighed. “Rois, You’re only holding fast to some dream of love — nothing real.”
“No matter what shape you take–”
“No matter what face you show–”
“Stop trying to help me. I don’t want your help. I don’t need you.”
“Don’t leave me here. Don’t leave me. Don’t. You said that to me. And then you said my name.”
“You were dreaming–”
“I will give you what you want.” I could not find my voice, only a husk of one; it could barely pass through the fire in my throat. I clung more tightly to his hands, and held his eyes; I saw the first touch of icy anger struggle with his patience. “I will leave you. I won’t trouble you any longer with my love. But I want to give you something first. With my love.”
“What?” he asked indifferently.
“Freedom. From me, from this house, from her wood. I will hold you fast until you stand free of us all. And then I will leave you.”