At the age of forty-six, prompted by a dream and a passion for personal growth, Patricia Hetherington returns to university to take a degree in counselling. Two years later she is grappling with intense change. Eager to embark upon a new career, she has not considered how to launch herself professionally. Instead she readily accepts the path she is shown in a dream—unmarked, covered with brambles and unrecognizable as a path.
A conflict rages between her former ego self (personified by Athena, the invulnerable Greek goddess who is invested in power, achievement and appearance) and a new soul self that is struggling to emerge, namely The Winter Gardener. Athena raises hell as she suspects that her central role in the writer's life is diminishing, but below her wrath she grieves the loss of this impressive self.
Intelligent, visceral and bold, the story takes the reader directly into the heart of a woman, directly into the heat of the process of transformation. Pointing the way from futile to fertile with a richly textured narrative, The Winter Gardener ultimately makes meaning of change as a rite of passage called Initiation.