Saturday 27 December 2014

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck

Thanks to, I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.

‘Wolf winter,’ she said, her voice small. ‘I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.’He was silent for a long time. ‘It’s the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,’ he said. ‘Mortal and alone.’ 

The story is set in Swedish Lapland, 1717 where we meet Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea whom have arrived from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots.  Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.

One day Frederika unexpectedly comes across the mutilated body of one of their neighbours, Eriksson
while herding the family’s goats on the mountain. His death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. She feels that she needs to investigate despite her neighbours strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson’s widow, Maija is attracted to the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.

As the “Wolf Winter,” the harshest winter in memory, descends upon them and the the snow gathers, the outsiders secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, Maija, doesn't know who she can trust and who may betray her, but is determined to find the answers for herself.

I liked this book, however I found this story difficult to get into at first - I had to read the first few pages several times to get the characters straight in my head and I did find that it dipped a bit in the middle, maybe a bit too long but once the story picked up I flew through the book.  It's worth the effort though as it's a good story that is well told and the setting is evocative and atmospheric - especially reading it at this time of the year.

This book is available on Kindle & in all good bookstores from February 2015.

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