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Winter Loon

A Novel
Narrated by: Vikas Adam
Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4 out of 5 stars (377 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A haunting debut novel about family and sacrifice, Winter Loon reminds us of how great a burden the past can be, the toll it exacts, and the freedom that comes from letting it go.

Abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in a frozen Minnesota lake, fifteen-year-old Wes Ballot is stranded with coldhearted grandparents and holed up in his mother’s old bedroom, surrounded by her remnants and memories. As the wait for his father stretches unforgivably into months, a local girl, whose own mother died a brutal death, captures his heart and imagination, giving Wes fresh air to breathe in the suffocating small town.

When buried truths come to light in the spring thaw, wounds are exposed and violence erupts, forcing Wes to embark on a search for his missing father, the truth about his mother, and a future he must claim for himself - a quest that begins back at that frozen lake.

A powerful coming-of-age story, Winter Loon captures the resilience of a boy determined to become a worthy man by confronting family demons, clawing his way out of the darkness, and forging a life from the shambles of a broken past.

©2018 Susan Bernhard. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The kind of book I hate to finish

This story and all of the characters drew me in completely. The circumstances are very sad - as real life can be sometimes - but there are also moments of relief and joy. The dialog is authentic, sometimes full of raw pain, sometimes reflective and poignant, other times funny.
I would highly recommend this book and I look forward to Susan Bernhard’s next novel.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hooked me

The story was interesting enough to keep me listening. Changes were not what I expected which was refreshing to me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

Loved every word of this book! Narrator was amazing, drew you completely in! Highly recommend

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Kept me on my toes

Timeless in the struggles so many face in one way or another. Good read! You feel with the main character as well as those he encounters along the way. a true coming of age tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Warning

I tried to listen to this in Audible, but soon grew disgusted at all the sexual content. The book had a promising beginning but went off off track not too far after that. I can handle sexual content as long as it is vital to the story or tastefully implied. This was was offensive to me. So if sexual content offends you do not was your time on this nbook

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laurie
  • Mississippi, USA
  • 09-20-19

Wrong Words and Dropped Phrases but Great Story

I loved the story; however, there is much abuse, abandonment, alcoholism, substance abuse, cussing, and sex. I rated the performance lower because as I followed along on my Kindle app, I noticed several times where the narrator did not read the sentence correctly, and it wasn’t just drop offs of nonessential words, but he would say a word that did not actually fit the sentence instead of reading what was there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • squishy
  • Hemphill, TX, United States
  • 07-21-19

Be ready for every emotion

This story is an emotional rollercoaster for sure. Any story that can do that is already a good recommendation. Ms Bernhard is also able to bring even the most despicable character and there are a few, a little humanness, except maybe Wes’s grandfather, who has a fitting end I’m “happy” to say. The overall tone is of loss, sorrow, selfishness,which sounds like a really bad place for a book to reside, Interspersed though is a beautiful story of perseverance to self discovery. Wes is an seriously broken young man,that through love and kindness, tries to find his way “home”. This is not one of those “predictable”, sappy stories though, be prepared for that rollercoaster, it’s difficult to swallow at times. Maybe listen in chunks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

One of the most depressing books I've ever read.

Stopped reading it several times, but I hate not finishing a book. Finally read it all, but had hard time doing so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb, heartbreaking, and true!

I can't say enough good about this book! Typically, I only leave "starred" reviews and that is probably making it seem like every book I read on Audible is a 4 or 5 star to me. But this isn't the case--i just don't read fiction that isn't a 3 or above for me because of time constraints. This bildungsroman of Wes Ballot is a 5 plus. I will read anything by this author in the future!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

How do some adults get to be who they are.

This young man’s story is so lonely and tragic. It is a wonder how he ever survived childhood with two crazy, selfish, and oblivious parents. Especially when they left him with such mean and hateful grandparents.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Macwoman
  • 03-03-19

Wonderful first novel

This novel gripped and held me up to the end. Wondered when I started whether it was really for me. It is. Beautifully written story of growing up and its agonies, far wider than the usual sexual awakenings and conflicts and including all that has gone before in terms of the screwed relationships with parents and the lack of a secure home. Shows how this plays itself out long after the original family is left behind in terms of the cycle of abuse, and repetitions of early experiences and they way they subtly encourage us to make bad choices throughout life. I would say saddening rather than depressing - it is not without hope, but the hope is a while coming. Fine sense of place all the way through, not described for its own sake but as a companion threading the narrative. The loon (diver in the UK) symbolises much of the struggle for relationship among the characters. Apparently there was a belief at one time that loons mated for life, but this has turned out to be mistaken. Like us, they make the best of the opportunities that present themselves. Well worth a listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-23-18

A Depressing Read - 100% worth it

This book massively makes one appreciate his family and the special relationships he has with those around him. I would encourage most to listen/read, but take care - it can get tragic at parts.