Geoffrey Workenrich’s novel, Kate Winters, follows the titular character from age five to early adulthood.
Having lost her mother at an early age, Kate is exceptionally close with her father. He challenges her to not only be true to herself but to resolve issues using her intellect. He also encourages her to be sensitive yet strong, both physically and mentally. Kate embraces the challenges by excelling academically and athletically through sport and martial arts.
In high school, Kate befriends Jen, a loner whose backstory includes seeing her mother shoot her father and then kill herself. She’s raised by an alcoholic grandmother. Kate and her father become Jen’s de facto family. Their friendship endures numerous hardships, including when Kate is violently attacked near the end of her senior year.
The young women attend different colleges and pursue different careers but remain steadfast in their friendship, even after Kate meets the man of her dreams and becomes engaged.
Despite detailed descriptions of Kate, her relationships with her father, Jen and others whose lives intersect with hers, there’s little here to capture the imagination. The author has crafted an intelligent and loyal main character, but he tells more than he shows regarding how she interacts with those in her world.
Additionally, Workenrich relies on the passive voice throughout and frequently states the obvious: “She could feel her heart. It was beating.” Many of the descriptions are replete with mundane detail: “In addition to the living room, the house consisted of a small kitchen-dinette, a tiny bedroom and a little larger bedroom that generously could be termed the master. There was one bathroom, [sic] there was a cellar.” There’s also an element of racism; those involved in Kate’s attack, who also are later charged with a similar crime, are unnecessarily identified as black. No one else is recognized by race.
While the pace is slow and the ending ambiguous, some readers might appreciate Kate as a passionate, caring character.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.