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From Merrimon Book Reviews
When Winter Returns
When Winter Returns by Kathryn Miller Haines
by Kathryn Miller Haines
Rosie Winter and her friend Jayne Hamilton return to New York from a USO tour in the South Pacific.  Rosie's homecoming is not a bed of roses.  When the two visit the family of Jayne's recently deceased fiance, they discover that Billy DeMille is not exactly the man they thought he was.  Rosie decides to search out the mystery behind the identity of Billy DeMille while also trying to help Jayne cope with the grief of her loss.  Rosie herself must re-examine her feelings for her ex-, Jack Castegate, who has returned home injured and engaged to a WAC private.  Rosie and Jayne return to the familiar boarding house, the George Bernard Shaw Home for Women Pursuing Theatrical Vocations, to find themselves home yet not quite home.  Likewise, Rosie comes home to a country that has changed since her absence.  Fears of saboteurs have excited the imagination of the newspapers and the hint of a German ancestry provokes suspicion.   Jayne's former boyfriend Tony, a mobster, resurfaces and the mobsters seem to behind the women's casting rejections.  Rosie finds herself telling lie after lie, always with the best intentions of helping or protecting her friends.  Will Rosie be able to discover the man behind the facade of Billy DeMille?  Will she be able to help her friends or will her lies box her into a dangerous circle?

Set in 1943, WHEN WINTER RETURNS, Kathyrn Miller Haines creates an energetic, fast-paced mystery with several intriguing clues to keep the puzzle lover guessing. 
WHEN WINTER RETURNS, and the Rosie Winter mysteries in general, add a freshness to the scope of WWII mysteries.  Rosie's adventures take a reader into the world of performers, mobsters and German-Americans.  The author brings this period alive beyond history book facts, not only in the cast of characters, but also through Rosie's reflections on the changed state of society at home.  Now, returning home after seeing seen the war up close, Rosie sees the naivete of the faith she once had. Indeed, the theme of loss runs throughout the story, giving a rich emotional background to the characters.  Kathyrn Miller Haines interweaves historical details of the acting industry personnel as well as the influence of the Alien Registration Act within the very heart of the story.  WHEN WINTER RETURNS is all the richer for the author's ability to see both the dangers of the policy as well as the threat of saboteurs.  Through Rosie's eyes, a reader easily feels the tensions of the times as well as the conflicting tensions within an individual.  Cough syrup brands and other period details give a sense of historical authenticity that goes beyond history book events. 

Despite the losses surrounding Rosie, she is a dynamic woman, a woman always ready to help her friends.  Rosie finds herself spinning a web of lies in an effort to protect her friends, a scenario that adds a delightful bit of humor to the story as the reader watches her box herself into a corner.  Seeing the homeland at war expands a reader's view of the times while the action-packed mystery leaves a reader on their toes.  A wonderful combination!   Kathryn Miller Haines gives women readers a window into some of the difficulties bright, sharp women might have experienced but never at the expense of the story itself.  Rosie's reflections never distract from the plot but rather bring a reader inside her thoughts.  The reader sees through her eyes.  As a lover of WWII mysteries, this reader finds Rosie Winter a must addition to my historical mystery collection.  
As a first time reader to the Rosie Winter Mystery, WHEN WINTER RETURNS leaves a reader eager to explore the earlier books in the series to discover more about the character, particularly those events that lead up to this particular moment.  Although WHEN WINTER RETURNS works as a stand-alone, this reader would recommend that new readers pick up earlier books in addition to this one to be able to fulfill that curiosity.  Highly recommended to mystery lovers and WWII historical fiction lovers!

Publisher: Harper (May 11, 2010)

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