On an old farm in need of love, Paul Kostner discovers what can happen when one returns to nature.
Paul Kostner has a nice, simple life, a good job as a college professor, and a young daughter who he loves. Yet something is missing; he has been drinking more than he should, is in a relationship that isn’t working, and has drifted away from his daughter. When he comes across an old run-down farm, something comes alive inside him. This farm could give him a new life, one that harkens back to his childhood, one that is full of promise and renewal. So Paul begins to rehabilitate his new farm, clearing away debris, fertilizing the soil, and rebuilding. It is clear that Winter believes in the restorative power of nature as the novel sprouts the joys of being connected to the land. Along the way Paul meets a town full of colorful characters: his kindly neighbor Max, Max's grandson, and Edna the expert gardener. And as Paul finds new life in his new small town, he also just might end up giving the townspeople new life, too. Max’s daughter, Liz, has survived a failed marriage and a failed restaurant, but it has left her bitter and angry. But Paul’s presence, the way he has brought life back to Max and helped her son, he may just be the healing force that she needs. Despite a slow, sedate pace and an uneventful plot, Winter has managed to put together a well-crafted narrative. Sometimes the novel feels too focused on the logistics of rebuilding the farm at the expense of developing characters. Paul is a likeable, engaging character, but at times it feels like he is too sure of himself and his purpose. Lacking conflict, the characters and plot of the novel mirror the serenity of the landscape. For Paul, he may not find a simpler life as the farm presents job after job needing doing, but in the end he finds that one can carve a meaningful life out of the land if they are willing to try.
Corkscrew Ridge by Ron Winter extols the healing power of nature in this peaceful, appealing novel.