Hello! I have been spending an awful lot of time in a dark room doing my day job lately, editing tv programmes for the BBC. So I haven’t been blown about books as much as I’d have liked to. But I HAVE been reading.
One thing about working long hours is that I spend a lot of time on the train, getting to and from work. You can often catch me on the 7.22 on a weekday morning with my nose in a book and a large travel mug of coffee by my side. During those journeys is when I get most of my reading done. I am just too tired when I go to bed after a long day at work, so I always make sure I have a book in my bag for the commute.
I have read a lot of crime novels recently, winter turns me into a murder mystery obsessive. Nothing cosier than a good murder story. That coupled with our impending summer holiday in Scandinavia led me to discover Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback.
Set in the mountains of Swedish Lapland in 1717, Wolf Winter tells the story of new settlers, Finnish Maia, her husband and two daughters as they forge an existence during their first particularly harsh winter living there. Their daughters discover a dead body when taking their goats to pasture on the mountainside. This discovery leads to Maia’s hard resolve to find out what happened and who killed the man, spurred on by the proximity of the murder, only an hours walk from their cottage. There have been other disappearances and deaths too, creating a dark cloud of suspicion that hangs over all of the characters.
This really is a wonderful novel, but not always easy to read. There is a brilliant sense of the harshness of the conditions, of winter creeping in and slowly taking over, making the family so vulnerable in their visceral fight for survival. You feel the harshness of the place, you come to dread the snow storms on their behalf. I am not sure I would describe Wolf Winter as a crime novel as it is so much more than that, but at it’s heart is a murder mystery and one that I didn’t guess. I really recommend this beautiful and fascinating book.