Winter Loon

Winter Loon Review

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, page-turning 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.

Title:Winter Loon

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Katie B

    This was such a heartbreaking story and one in which you feel so emotionally invested in the main character. Fifteen-year-old Wes Ballot is living with his alcoholic parents in Minnesota when his moth...

  • Susanne Strong

    3.75* (rounded up)A Devastatingly Sad Coming of Age Story.“Winter Loon” left me with a Very Heavy Heart. Wes Ballot is a teenager who has always gotten the short end of the stick. He experiences o...

  • Linda

    Testing the waters is never accomplished within the safety of the shore.Susan Bernhard presents a novel imbued with the tragedies of second-hand debris of life. The hand-off, the jilted inheritance, t...

  • Michelle Hoover

    This is a beauty of a page-turner, dreamy, disquieting, and uncompromising to the end. Against the tide of the wandering heart, the novel tells us, only love can offer us a place to rest—and only if...

  • Glenna Pritchett

    Five humongous, glowing, golden stars! Once in a while a debut novel will knock off my socks. This one did, so I’m going to follow this author and wait impatiently for her next one.I am an amateur a...

  • Jeannie

    I wish I was a writer. I would love to write an excellent review for this book, I loved it so much!The characters are realistic. Wes was my favorite character and my heart broke for him. The story is ...

  • Sophie

    "I'd come to realize that all my life I'd been sheltered and shaped for the better by women who'd had to fight for every last thing and who'd done their best, even my mother, even Ruby in her way." ...

  • Lissa Franz

    Susan Bernhard's WINTER LOON is a gorgeously lyrical coming of age ballad—a soul reckoning exploration of familial ties and the hard fight to make your life your own. Wes Ballot's childhood ends whe...

  • Brittany

    4 Stars!!🌟🌟🌟🌟 “So go, why don’t you? See if I care.” “You don’t mean that,” he said. But I did. I wanted him to leave and to hold onto me. I wanted him to shut the hell up and...

  • Emilie

    This book is beautiful. The prose is elegant and, though it took me a moment to become fully immersed in the story, the characters are rich and the setting tangible. It’s a story of loss and finding...