Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Atmospheric writing, great plot and characters.
Cons: Darker than my usual reading choices, but worth it.
The Bottom Line:
Book that draws you in
Characters, story are great
Prepare for winter
Pile on the Blankets for This Debut
Every so often, I hear about a book that is getting so much praise, I have to read it. That was the case with Cover of Snow, the debut from Jenny Milchman. This is definitely not my normal light cozy mystery, but the praise is well deserved.
When Nora awoke that morning, she noticed that her husband wasn't in bed with her. A quick check of their house, however, brings her a horror she never expected - Brendan has committed suicide. As the new, young widow attempts to make sense of it, she looks into his life to try to determine why he would do such a thing, and she begins to learn things about his past she never would have expected. Will her digging help her make sense of it all? What else might her digging uncover?
As I already said, this is not my normal cozy. The secrets of the past are dark, and the effect all this has on Nora is realistically hard. I found that mood seeping into me as I was reading - one reason I normally stick to lighter books. Was it worth reading? Absolutely. Just be in the proper frame of mind when you pick it up.
Of course, the book wouldn't have affected me this way if I didn't feel for the characters. Nora was a very real protagonist - her reactions to this huge tragedy and what she uncovered along the way were both perfect. This is in many ways her book, but the rest of the cast is real too considering how little page time most of them get.
The plot was excellent. Clues are slipped in early, but we can't figure out what they mean until Nora does. By the second half, I was busy turning pages to find out what would happen and how Nora would be safe.
And the writing? Perfect. The opening chapters of the book feel slightly disjointed, but that's on purpose. We're seeing the days after Brendan's suicide from Nora's point of view, and she's not coping with the world at that time. Once we get past that, we are so pulled into Nora's world we can feel the endless snow she has to deal with during a harsh winter. In fact, it was so cold I had to turn off the AC during a warm
California day I was shivering so much. (Okay, I get cold easily, but still, I know
the book wasn't helping me at all.)
Really, if I read this book without knowing anything about the person behind it, I would assume Jenny had many published books to her credit. It's that good.
Yes, the tone is darker than I normally read, but Cover of Snow was so rich it was worth it. Now I need to shake off the winter blues and enjoy some
Southern California sun.