Thursday, March 1, 2018

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

Once I saw this book at the popular fair, I knew I was going to get it. I had read the first book and enjoyed it, so I wanted to read this one. It took a lot of time but it was totally worth it.

Winter of the World is the sequel to The Fall of Giants, the first book in the trilogy. I read the first book in 2013, so obviously I’d forgotten a lot about it. But, I realised that because this book follows the stories of the kids from the second book, it can be read as a stand-alone. And after some time, I started to remember more about the first book and certain characters and references started to make sense to me.

Covering 1933 to 1948, Winter of the World follows a very large cast of characters. There’s Maud and Walter’s family in Germany, where their son Erik has fallen under the spell of Nazism (although their daughter Carla sees the truth), there’s Daisy, the American heiress who travels across the Atlantic and meets Boy and Lloyd, and there’s Daisy’s half-brother Greg, who stays in America with his father.

And I can’t forget Woody and Volodya, both important characters in the book. Woody has political aspirations, which take us to the seat of power in America while Volodya is a firm communist who rises through the ranks of Soviet Russia.

As you can imagine, such a huge cast of characters leads to complicated storylines. They don’t all meet, but they don’t have to because I found it easy to remember who was who since they had such distinct personalities.

This book is really about living through the fifteen years covered. And it feels like the author has done a terrific job not only bringing the characters and time periods to life, but also in giving an equal voice to all the opinions floating around. With a main cast of characters located in Germany, Russia, England, and America, he showed me how people could believe in drastically different things yet still remain as people. There is a lot of nuance in the expression of that idea.

My favourite of all the characters had to be Daisy. She starts off as a flighty and shallow girl, but it’s clear that she has a heart of gold, which makes her character arc all the more interesting and emotionally satisfying for me. I so wanted her to be able to have a happy ending and I’m glad that she did.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you’ll definitely have to read this. Yes, it’s a huge book and yes it will consume a huge part of your life, but it’s also brilliantly written and the author does a fantastic job of making you care about the characters, which makes all the time needed worthwhile.


  1. I have only read Pillars of the Earth by this author, which I loved. This sounds good as well!

    1. I have not read Pillars of the Earth but it sounds really good! I'll have to put it on my TBR list!


I really do appreciate all comments, and I'll try my best to reply within 24 hours!