I'm sure we can all relate to this New Yorker cover - the reading part, if not the winter sports ... Anyway, snug here in my warm house I can contemplate some wintery fiction, and a recent arrival would seem to fit the bill:
Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck is set in Swedish Lapland in 1717. "There, a group of settlers from across Scandinavia, all with reasons to escape the past, have come to forge a new life in the shadow of the Blackåsen Mountain, among them intelligent, resilient Maija.
Not long after their arrival, her fourteen-year-old daughter Frederika stumbles across a mutilated body in a picturesque glade. The other settlers are quick to dismiss this as a wolf attack, but Maija is certain that it is a vicious murder - and one committed by someone within their small community.
As the seasons change and that harshest of winters - a 'Wolf Winter' - descends, Maija begins a dangerous quest to unearth the secrets that both her neighbours and the Church that dominates their lives have conspired to bury. But past tragedies and betrayals still haunt the community and as the truth begins to emerge, Maija will learn the full cost of survival demanded from the mountain - and the terrible truth about those who have paid its price."
"Like a silent fall of snow; suddenly, the reader is enveloped ... visually acute, skilfully written; it won't easily erase its tracks in the reader's mind." That praise for this debut novel comes from Hilary Mantel, no less, while its publishers describe it as "a story built up layer by layer, simultaneously a labyrinthine mystery, an evocative exploration of a time and place far from our own, and an exquisite literary novel." It's due out here on the 12th. of February.