Book Review: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

A tragic mystery blending sleuthing and spirituality

​An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding.

Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean’s world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

In this novel, environmentalist and award-winning author, Martha Handler, brings together two important pieces of her life—the death of her best friend’s son and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Center—to tell an empathetic and powerful story with undeniable messages.

My Thoughts:

This book follows the life of Bean (yes, this is a very unusual name for a person and I was surprised with it. I thought it was a nickname.) as she navigates life post her brother’s death. We are given glimpses into the lives of the family members before Sam’s death and of course how they each cope after it. Being closer in age, Bean was very close to Sam, closer than she was to her two older brothers. Sam’s death somehow brings the family together with each person re-discovering and establishing bonds with each other.

Of course, there is some mystery surrounding the death and Bean, troubled as she is by all this, makes it a point to find out the truth . Bean believe that her brother did not commit suicide and if he did, they should have been able to see the signs. The story is quite tragic, filled with lots of grief and some moments of understanding and even happiness. In this myriad of emotions, the author seeks to bring about an awareness of different belief systems, people’s ideas and ideologies. This is an interesting aspect of the plot and was quite an eye opener.

I was a little put off by Bean’s attitude at times, but in retrospect, it was probably a reflection of her grief and coping mechanisms. The story is well-written though a little confusing at times, but it is definitely worth a read! I enjoyed the references to animals and how the author weaves the story around people’s belief systems without sounding like she is preaching. This book is well worth the read especially to admire the bonds of friendship and family that forms the backbone of the plot.

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