By: Clint Goodwin
Publication Date: February 1, 2023
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: April 24, 2023
From award-winning author Clint Goodwin comes the fifth installment in his historical war series, entitled A Winter’s Coat, where the role of horses is just as important as that of humans. A Winter’s Coat is the story of two beloved horses during the Korean War and one committed veterinarian, Dr. Robert Bates, a Major in the Marines.
Throughout the story, the horse known as Ah Chim Hai plays an integral role in the Korean War by bringing the Marines artillery shells and ammunition as they fight on the front lines, carrying injured soldiers to safety, getting injured herself in the process and subsequently nursed back to health by Dr. Bates. Ah Chim Hai is very loyal to the Marines and becomes cherished by many of the men fighting in the war. In sharp contrast, the horse Cassie has a different story to tell. Cassie was born into a family of warhorses. However, her parents were the first in her family’s history to not produce a colt, but instead gave birth to a filly, leaving Cassie with the burden of producing an heir to continue her family’s legacy. Dr. Bates touches the lives of both of these horses during the story, and when the two horses meet, they exchange stories of how both of their paths have crossed with this extraordinary, horse-loving man.
Goodwin brings a unique perspective to his writing, having traveled the world for forty-two years over the course of his career while being a part of the military world. A Winter’s Coat is the perfect blend of history and fiction, coming together to produce an exceptional, entertaining and enlightening tale. This story is perfect for anyone who appreciates history but may not want to read a strictly non-fiction book. Goodwin’s book unites the best of both worlds seamlessly.
A rather unique characteristic of A Winter’s Coat is that at various times throughout the story, Goodwin writes from the perspective of the horses. The horses will “talk” to each other and share their own life stories and feelings with each other. As a reader, I appreciated this deviation from traditional writing. Not only was it fun, but it allowed me to relate to the horses more and understand that while they are animals, they certainly experienced fears and anxieties while at war and when the men were engaging in active combat.
It is also worthy to note a couple of things regarding the way Goodwin arranged his book. He included realistic photos throughout that expertly complement the narrative, which is a nice added touch and undoubtedly adds historical value to the story. Goodwin also incorporated a rather extensive end notes section that provides factual historical information to further supplement the story. Any reader who would like further information regarding the Korean War can easily look up any of the resources that Goodwin cites in this section.
Quill says: With A Winter’s Coat, Goodwin has written another brilliant historical fiction tale. Fans of both United States military history and horses will love seeing both of these join together to create a truly educating and fascinating story.