Have You Heard About... Mind of Winter

… the thing that followed a family home from Russia?

First rule of reading Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke: DO NOT LOOK AT THE LAST PAGE! Thankfully, I managed to avoid the temptation, although I wasn’t sure how one page could theoretically ruin everything. But it’s true. Don’t look at it!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…The story takes place on Christmas Day, when Holly Judge and her adopted daughter, Tatty, are snowed in by themselves. Holly, a poet with a massive case of writer’s block, wakes up in the morning with this thought running through her head: Something had followed them home from Russia. This thought crops up repeatedly as Holly thinks back on her visit to Russia years ago to adopt Tatty, and as she analyzes her daughter’s behavior and inconsistencies throughout the day. And as the day wears on, Holly’s thoughts become increasingly frantic as she realizes that she no longer recognizes her daughter.

This is one of those rare books where the last page makes or breaks the entire novel. If you aren’t sure if this story is for you, keep reading until you get to the last page. (It’s short enough to where this shouldn’t be a major sacrifice.) One of the blurbs on the back of the book described this story as a set of Russian matryoshka nesting dolls - everything carefully constructed to fit neatly inside one another, until you uncover the secret hiding in the middle. The story fits SO WELL with the ending that after I scraped my jaw off the floor, I wanted to turn to the front and read everything again to pick up on the things I had missed before.

This is a shocking little gem of a suspense story, and if you’re able to keep temptation at bay and avoid reading the last page, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


Reviewed by Katie (staff)