Tuesday 3 March 2015

Review ~ Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck

Hodder & Stoughton
February 2015

They say that whatever is said on the mountain
...will echo for generations.

The Blackasen Mountain in the Swedish wilderness in 1717 is home to six isolated homesteads. It’s a bleak and inhospitable place made all the more austere by the remoteness of its people.  Fourteen year old Frederika and six year old Dorotea are newcomers to the mountain, having moved there with their parents, Maija and Paavo, from a village by the coast. Life is hard and the unfamiliarity of their new surroundings does not sit comfortably with the girls. When they discover the dead body of a man on a mountain path, the lives of those who live on Blackasen Mountain are about to be changed forever.

What then follows is a dark and brooding tale of old resentments which have been allowed to fester and of the bitterness of a group of people who have so much hidden torment that it’s difficult to really understand their behaviour. And yet, the author brings such a wealth of explanation and such fine attention to the narrative that you can’t help but be drawn into the overwhelming struggle of good versus evil. There is distrust and unreliability and huge conflict of emotion but with the author’s considerable skill a story emerges which is quite compelling and so vividly imaged that you can’t help but be drawn into the whole sorry saga of death and despair.

Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination but beautifully presented and a fine example of historical fiction that’s just perfect for reading on a cold winter's day, preferably with a warm blanket and a cup of hot tea close to hand.

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and BookBridgr for my copy of this book


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