Title: Wolf Winter
Author: Cecilia Ekbäck
First published November 1, 2014
376 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781602862524 (ISBN10: 1602862524)
In the midst of the Swedish Lapland in the 1700s, Maija and her family seek solace from their troubled past in a new land. But peace is not easily found in the shadow of Blackåsen, a foreboding mountain with a dark history.
When a neighbor is found mutilated, Maija’s suspicions are aroused, but her neighbors seem uninterested. As the unforgiving winter descends upon them, Maija is left to uncover the truth and protect her family from the secrets that lurk beneath the snow.
Cecilia Ekbäck weaves a tale of survival, betrayal, and the high cost of uncovering the past in this exquisitely written historical thriller.
About the Author
Cecilia hails from the northern region of Sweden and has Lapland roots. During her teenage years, she pursued a career as a journalist and later focused on marketing after completing her university education.
She has spent more than two decades traveling around the world, exploring countries like Russia, Germany, France, Portugal, the Middle East, and the UK for work purposes.
Cecilia’s passion for creative writing led her to pursue a Masters degree in the subject, which she completed in 2010 from Royal Holloway. She currently resides in Calgary with her husband and twin daughters.
Her writing is heavily influenced by the landscape and characters of her childhood, and she finds solace in returning to them through her work.
Cecilia Ekbäck’s debut novel, Wolf Winter, is a haunting, atmospheric tale set in the harsh, unforgiving landscape of 18th-century Swedish Lapland. Ekbäck, who was born in Sweden, but now lives in Canada, draws on her rich heritage and family history to create a compelling work of historical fiction that is rooted in the traditions and beliefs of the indigenous Sami people.
The book tells the story of Maija, a Finnish widow, who arrives in Lapland with her two daughters, Frederika and Dorotea, to start a new life. But the brutal winter and the isolation of their remote cabin take their toll, and when Frederika discovers the mutilated body of a local man, Maija is forced to confront the dark secrets of her new community.
As she tries to unravel the mystery of the murder, she discovers that her own family is in danger, and she must fight to protect them from a malevolent force that seems to be stalking them. Ekbäck’s prose is spare and evocative, conjuring the desolate beauty of the landscape with vivid, sensory detail.
She masterfully sets the scene, creating an atmosphere of dread and foreboding that permeates the entire book. Her characters are complex and multilayered, each with their own secrets and motivations, and the relationships between them are nuanced and realistic.
The novel is steeped in the folklore and mythology of the Sami people, and Ekbäck weaves these elements seamlessly into the narrative. Her portrayal of the tension between the indigenous Sami and the Swedish settlers is nuanced and sensitive, exploring the cultural clash that occurred as these two worlds collided.
One of the strengths of the book is the way in which Ekbäck explores the theme of gender and power. The women in the novel, particularly Maija and Frederika, are strong, independent characters, fighting against a patriarchal society that seeks to repress them.
The book also examines the themes of grief, loss and redemption, as Maija struggles to come to terms with the death of her husband and forge a new identity for herself in this harsh new world. If the book has any flaws, it is perhaps the slow pacing, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
However, this deliberate pace allows Ekbäck to create a richly layered, immersive reading experience that rewards patience and attention to detail. In conclusion, Wolf Winter is a haunting, evocative novel that transports the reader to a world of dark magic and ancient traditions.
Ekbäck’s writing is lyrical and atmospheric, and her characters are complex and fully realized. The book is a vivid exploration of the clash between cultures and the struggle for identity, and will appeal to fans of historical fiction, mystery, and magical realism.
I highly recommend it.