Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

Mind of WinterMind of Winter, Laura Kasischke

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

Source: Suspense

Publication: 3/25/2014, Harper

# of Pages: 288 (Hardback)

Source: Purchased

Synopsis from Goodreads: On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens, the fragments of a nightmare-something she must write down-floating on the edge of her consciousness.

Something followed them from Russia.

On another Christmas morning thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric were in Siberia to meet the sweet, dark-haired Rapunzel they desperately wanted. How they laughed at the nurses of Pokrovka Orphanage #2 with their garlic and their superstitions, and ignored their gentle warnings. After all, their fairy princess Tatiana-baby Tatty-was perfect.

As the snow falls, enveloping the world in its white silence, Holly senses that something is not right, has not been right in the years since they brought their daughter-now a dangerously beautiful, petulant, sometimes erratic teenager-home. There is something evil inside this house. Inside themselves. How else to explain the accidents, the seemingly random and banal misfortunes. Trixie, the cat. The growth on Eric's hand. Sally the hen, their favorite, how the other chickens turned on her. The housekeeper, that ice, a bad fall. The CDs scratched, every one.

But Holly must not think of these things. She and Tatiana are all alone. Eric is stuck on the roads and none of their guests will be able to make it through the snow. With each passing hour, the blizzard rages and Tatiana's mood darkens, her behavior becoming increasingly disturbing and frightening. Until, in every mother's worst nightmare, Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.

My Review:  I can't really delve too much into the plot because I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say that Mind of Winter is a clever little book by an equally clever writer. Laura Kasischke has a unique writing style that may seem, to some, repetitive or overwrought, but once you get used to it, the story is well worth the investment. It was engaging, though little was actually happening. Just seemingly mundane, normal things. I can't say that I didn't enjoy it because I did. I enjoyed it tremendously. I started reading before bed one evening and, in complete disregard for how I tired I would be at work the next day, I continued to read well into the early morning the next day. I didn't want to put it down and for the few brief minutes that I was forced to, I continued to think about the story, to try and puzzle it out. I read a ton of books so for a story to leave me guessing all the way to the end, is a rare occurrence. Mind of Winter did that and it did it well.

My main problem with Mind of Winter, then, is that I expected something else. The synopsis really gave me a supernatural/horror vibe that I never really felt while reading. I wasn't once frightened or on the edge of my seat, I was just confused. Albeit in a good way but confused nonetheless. That being said, I don't feel it's fair to judge a book too harshly based upon my own assumption of what the book would be about. That's not the book's fault. It's mine. Removing my bias, we are left with an engaging story and a memorable ending. I'd recommended it to fans of psychological suspense or mysteries. It's tension-filled but slow-moving, so if you're looking for action, this book isn't for you.

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