Swedish Author Cecilia Ekbäck’s makes her debut with the gothic thriller, “Wolf Winter,” released in trade paperback in the U.S. November 2015.
Beginning in 1717 Sweden, the reader is given a historical view of life in the wilderness on Blackåsen mountain as we meet Maija, the story’s protagonist, and her family just hours after residing into a new home.
Haunted by the ghosts of her past, Maija struggles to support herself and her daughters while her husband, Pavo, sets out to find work during a season known to the town regulars as the “Wolf Winter.”
Prior to Pavo making his leave of Blackåsen mountain, he and Maija’s daughter, Frederika, discovers the dead body of a settler, prompting a who-done-it murder mystery between Maija and the rest of the town, with no guarantee of who will survive to tell the story.
Born in Northern Sweden, Cecilia Ekbäck used her childhood experiences to help inspire the plot of “Wolf Winter” and it’s characters.
In an interview with TheBookTrail, Ekbäck said, “I think my childhood is in this story in the shape of the setting […] The stories of my parents and grandparents are in there. The fear we felt growing up is in there. The characters are spun from people in my past. The plot is all imagined.”
The novel is thoroughly enjoyable to read. The rich, historical details makes the plot interesting without overwhelming it. The murder mystery has a unique paranormal twist that is only amplified by the time period. All of the characters are well written, with creative backgrounds and unique personalities.
However, there are some things about the story that do fall flat. While it is well written, some readers may find the lengthy descriptions boring to read.
The plot is almost too slow-paced in some areas of the book. The mystery sometimes does not feel central to the plot as it should, and it feels like the writer is going on a tangent about minute details.
All of this said, it’s still a wonderful book. For those interested in reading historical fiction or simply a good mystery, this is the story for you.