The Way Past Winter

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Way Past Winter
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The Way Past Winter

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone, taking Oskar with them.

Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back, even if it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.


This story is mythic in stature and full of wonder and enchantment. It is a tale about a family living remotely on a harsh land where winter has an icy hold and threatens to freeze all life to the bone. Following the death of their mother, and abandonment by their father, sisters Mila, Sanna and Geir are struck another blow with the sudden disappearance of their brother, Oskar.

Brave and tenacious Mila defies her older sister Sanna and Sanna’s pessimistic belief that Oskar abandoned them. Convinced that foul play and a malevolent enchantment are to blame, Mila embarks on a hero’s quest to rescue her brother from the evil influence that has ensnared him. This exacting quest is a punishing challenge for its hero and follows a compelling arc from the call to adventure onwards through many tests and obstacles, confrontation with the anti-hero and, ultimately, a fight for survival. Only through great risk and adversity may the ‘way past winter’ be found.

Natalie Platten is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Doncaster.

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