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.Writing
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.
Absolutely brilliant. This pretty much embodies my ideal thriller. It's a slow build with twists and turns and small revelations, but the suspense takes place largely in the mind. It's that delicious Hitchcockian brand of slow-building terror. You start off with the vague sense that something isn't quite right and become more and more convinced as the book goes on, but you still can't put your finger on exactly what it is. There's no blood or gore, just a deeply unsettling feeling that keeps growing as more is revealed and the stakes rise. I couldn't ask for more from Kasischke as an author in this one. Perfection.
Obviously, this book had me enthralled. The narrator was perfectly unpredictable and unreliable and I had no idea what was coming next - exactly how I like it. I've seen some reviews that critique the book as repetitive or slow, but I couldn't disagree more. Things are certainly character-driven, but the repetition is important for the slow revelation of details and the pacing is spot-on. I wouldn't change a thing about it.
Read it if you're a fan of the author, if you like suspense, if you like character-driven stories, or if you're a fan of psychological twists and turns. It creeped me out in a delicious way and the ending was perfect. Highly recommend.
Thanks to TLC for providing me with a copy of the book to review. Click here to see the other stops on the tour.