Spotlight on “The Heart of Winter” by Shona Kinsella

by LitStack Editor

Readers will love this fantasy tale of folklore and myth from Scotland
The Heart of Winter.

The Heart of Winter and author Shona Kinsella

About The Heart of Winter

When Brigit is faced with a forced marriage to Aengus, god of Summer, she flees into the highlands in search of the Cailleach, the Queen of Winter. There, she hopes to learn how to live on her own terms, without the need for a man to speak for her, but can she persuade the Cailleach that she is worthy? Caught between two gods and finding an unlikely ally in the Fae witch, Nicnevin, Brigit will be tested to her limits and beyond.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the imprint of long-standing Independent Flame Tree Publishing, dedicated to full-length original fiction in the horror and suspense, science fiction & fantasy, and crime / mystery / thriller categories. The list brings together fantastic new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices. Learn more about Flame Tree Press at and connect on social media @FlameTreePress

Source: Publisher
ISBN-13: 9781787588301
Publisher: Flame Tree Publishing
Publication date: 04/16/2024


Praise for The Heart of Winter

…When starvation threatens Brigit’s village, the elders bring their plight to Aengus, the god of summer. In return for blessing the village with mild weather, Aengus demands a bride—and he has his sights set on Brigit after witnessing her perform a heroic act. The agreement is made without Brigit’s consent. Rather than accept her fate, she seeks the help of the Cailleach, the Queen of Winter. As Brigit’s life becomes increasingly intwined with the two opposing deities, she finds herself changing as well.

With the help of Nicnevin, Queen of Witches, and other members of the Tuatha Dè Danann pantheon, Brigit, the Cailleach, and Aengus work toward a solution that will maintain a balance between the seasons, grant Brigit some measure of freedom, and still fulfill the parameters of the elders’ bargain. 

Though Brigit is an admirable protagonist, Kinsella’s telling feels stiff and somewhat simplistic. Die-hard fans of remixed mythology may find something to enjoy, but others will be disappointed.Publishers Weekly

Praise for Shona’s debut novel, Ashael Rising

“A strong debut that builds on traditional fantasy… fresh, exciting, and interesting.”—Alex S Bradshaw, BFS Indie Reviews

“A wonderfully constructed novel, epic world building and a fantastic story … what more can I say?”—Peter Hutchinson, TheGrimDarkFiles

“Refreshingly original, intense and exciting, Shona Kinsella’s Ashael Rising is an impressive debut from a wonderful new voice in fantasy fiction.”—Michael Rowley, former Editorial Director at Del Ray

“Healing, hope-inspiring and joyful.”—Anna Smith Spark

“A wonderful, well-drawn fantasy adventure centered on magic and community. It’s a tale with a huge heart.”—Neil Williamson

“Kinsella’s bright, fresh voice brings us a world of subtle depth and characters who feel like they matter. The mysteries pulled me along, but the relationships made me care. You’ll want this in your hands.”—Stewart Hotston

“Ashael Rising is a wonderfully inventive start to an exciting new fantasy series. I loved the cast of characters to cheer for and also be terrified of!”Runalong the Shelves


About Shona Kinsella, Author of The Heart of Winter

The Heart of Winter author Shona Kinsella

Scottish fantasy author Shona Kinsella is the author of The Heart of Winter, The Vessel of KalaDene series, dark Scottish fantasy novella Petra MacDonald and the Queen of the Fae, British Fantasy Award shortlisted industrial novella The Flame and the Flood, and non-fiction Outlander and the Real Jacobites: Scotland’s Fight for the Stuarts. Her short fiction can be found in various magazines and anthologies. She served as editor of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction publication, BFS Horizons for four years and is now the Chair of the British Fantasy Society.

Shona lives near the picturesque banks of Loch Lomond with her husband and three children. She enjoys reading, nature walks, and spending time with her family. When she is not writing, doing laundry, or wrangling children, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

You can find and follow Shona Kinsella on her website, on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter)

Titles by Shona Kinsella

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