What I'm currently reading: Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback
Amazon pricing: $19.71 for hardcover, $9.10 for Kindle version. I was able to purchase and ship a hard-copy on eBay for $11. I discovered this book through the Indiespensable subscription book club, which I recently joined. It was featured in their #51 installment but my membership starts with the #52 installment (currently sold out).
Synopsis from Amazon:
‘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.’Started: March 18, 2015
Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. 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.
While herding the family’s goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors’ strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson’s widow, Maija is drawn into 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 seasons change, and the “wolf winter,” the harshest winter in memory, descends upon the settlers, Paavo travels to find work, and Maija finds herself struggling for her family’s survival in this land of winter-long darkness. As the snow gathers, the settlers’ secrets are increasingly laid bare. Scarce resources and the never-ending darkness force them to come together, but Maija, not knowing who to trust and who may betray her, is determined to find the answers for herself. Soon, Maija discovers the true cost of survival under the mountain, and what it will take to make it to spring.
Finished: April 14, 2015
Thoughts: The first third of the book is a little slow and somewhat confusing getting all the characters organized in your mind. It took me a long time to figure out who Jutta was and whether or not Maija and Frederika were talking to an actual living person, a ghost or spirit, or just their memory of Jutta. I didn't like how choppy the sentences read; like random incomplete thoughts that the writer expected you to piece together and make sense of. Often times, it's difficult to differentiate who was speaking. Don't get me wrong, I like when a writer makes the reader more engaged with the story by allowing them to figure some things out on their own but in this book, the amount of random, incomplete thoughts/sentences is a bit much at times. Overall, I like the story Ekback is trying to tell, just not the choppy and confusing writing style.
I rarely read mysteries but I liked the storyline and the "who done it" twist at the end of this book. But the sometimes difficult to follow writing style prevents me from highly recommending this book. I'm doubtful I'll read any future works Ekback.