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Mind of Winter

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  3,410 ratings  ·  674 reviews
On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens with the fragments of a nightmare floating on the edge of her consciousness. Something followed them from Russia. Thirteen years ago, she and her husband Eric adopted baby Tatty, their pretty, black-haired Rapunzel, from the Pokrovka Orphanage #2. Now, at fifteen, Tatiana is more beautiful than ever—and disturbingly ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Harper (first published August 22nd 2013)
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Average rating 3.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,410 ratings  ·  674 reviews

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Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Something followed them from Russia

 photo 50348339-2d9d-4fd9-adb4-8e376ebb4d7d_zpsiahztfsd.jpg

Holly and Eric Judge wake up late on a snowy Christmas day- As Eric rushes off to pick up family at the airport- Holly stays behind to get ready for their holiday dinner guests...but something feels so wrong...and the same phrase keeps running through her mind over and over again...

Something followed them from Russia

 photo 9967e284-cf1a-468e-a190-a0a0e117938c_zpskfkjx6d3.jpg

Thirteen years ago Holly and Eric traveled to a Siberian orphanage and adopted the most beautiful little girl- Tatiana, and today "Tatty" is acting
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
this is a brisk little family drama/psychological suspense novel that all takes place on a blizzardy christmas day in the suburbs of detroit. holly and her husband eric oversleep on christmas morning, feeling the effects of their festive drinking the night before. holly wakes up with the phrase Something had followed them home from Russia running through her brain, and eric rushes off to the airport to pick up his parents, leaving holly alone in the house with their 15-year-old daughter tatiana ...more
Mar 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I had to read the word "Siberia" one more time, I was going to lose my mind. Very repetitive, very terribly paced, and full of inconsistencies. Interesting and decent idea for a story that just fell flat in execution.
Holy smoking marshmallows... This was a hell of a ride. I was very intrigued by this story and what I heard about it. I admit the first 30 pages I was like wtf!? This crazy woman has lost it. I stuck with it as it had to be leading somewhere. And boy did it!!

That ending...
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents who adopt Russian orphans, Vietnamese lesbian surrogate parents
This book would have made a great short story. Instead it was a short novel, and at least twice as long as it needed to be.

We spend the entire book (except for the epilogue) in the mind of Holly Judge. It's not a very interesting place, notwithstanding Holly's somewhat interesting history, which emerges slowly as the story, all taking place during one blizzardy Christmas day, but frequently cut with flashbacks, unfolds.

Holly and her husband adopted a baby from a Russian orphanage: a beautiful
Bill Kupersmith
Mind of Winter is a contemporary version of a favorite Victorian genre, the Christmas ghost story. I had read Laura Kasischke's book The Raising a few years ago with very mixed impressions. It portrayed a university (obviously Michigan) setting excellently with an intriguing mystery, but was marred by implausibility & the author’s failure to make up her mind whether she was going for the out-&-out paranormal or not. This time I think she came down on just the right side of the ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
What?! I'm sorry...what?!

This book drags you into a confusing vortex...makes you think, question, sleuth, wonder, rethink. Your mind goes here and then over there, as you try to put the pieces together.

I'm not sure I should be reviewing this book just hours after finishing it. I will be able to say almost nothing about it anyway, considering that you can't and won't have any idea what the flock (here is where I deeply regret not knowing where the italics & bold print is on the iPad) is going
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of heavily character-driven stories, unreliable narrators
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Book Info: Genre: Suspense
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of heavily character-driven stories and unreliable narrators
Book Available: March 25, 2014 in Hardcover and Kindle formats
Trigger Warnings: child abuse and neglect
Animals: mention is made (although it is not described) that a cat is run over; four hens peck another one to death

My Thoughts: I am not sure what to make of this book. Is it a slow descent into madness? Is it a ghost story? Is it allegorical or literal? The
Apr 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had read a good review on Entertainment Weekly, and they are usually pretty dependable. I am aware, however, that their critics tastes don't always jibe with mine. I read this book in a few hours, something an author never wants to hear. I didn't really care for it. The only part I did like was the last page which was a police report-document. The final surprise, and I won't repeat it, didn't carry the impact we had been building to. I got fed up with the protagonist and her constant dithering ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
What an odd, creepy little book.

I've read some of the reviews, and one complaint is that it's repetitive. Well, it's repetitive for a reason: (view spoiler).

Any book that takes place during a huge, blinding snowstorm is already winning with me. And I liked how the entire novel happens between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM on Christmas Day. And I liked that you're left with questions. I have questions!!!! If anyone reads or has read this book,
switterbug (Betsey)
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
This reads like a domestic, psychological horror story, and the tone is like an increasingly hysterical ode sung by a panicked woman. Holly Judge senses something dreadful in her midst, and at the start of the novel, she says, several times (in italics), "Something had followed them home from Russia." Holly is a blocked poet wanna-be, insisting that if she could just pick up a pen, she could write down these strange thoughts that are curling around her head.

The beginning of a novel often sets
Diane S ☔
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This book really grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go until the finish. Not usually a fan of first person narration, but I. this case except for some repetitive passages, it really worked. Private musings and inner thought, remembrances and fears, all belonging to a mom named Holly, who had adopted a young toddler from an orphanage in Siberia. Not saying anymore about the plot because this is one book that the less the reader knows before hand the better. Just know it is insidiously creepy and ...more
Oct 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: udate, horror
The strangest thing about Mind of Winter is just how much I enjoyed it, despite the fact there's not really a lot of plot action going on. Normally this is a huge bug-bear for me - I need things to happen to keep me entertained. But I actually didn't even realise the lack of plot action until I was nearly finished, because I was completely sucked in.

Holly had a difficult childhood and adolescence, with both her mother and sister dying of breast cancer at a young age and Holly herself testing
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I finished Mind of Winter into the wee hours of the morning, once I got to a certain point I just couldn't out it down for my life. This is not only a very creepy psychological read, it's also got a very emotional element to it. You can't help but be drawn into this Christmas day gone horribly wrong. You'll be aghast at the last page ( don't you dare take a peak it'll spoil it for you!)
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is Christmas morning.
Holly, Eric, and their adopted daughter Tatiana are about to enjoy family celebration. Holly prepares the feast, Eric drives to the airport to pick up his parents. Tatiana enjoys a bit of extra sleep.
Yet weather worsens and soon blizzard rages outside. Then, unaccountable vanishings occur. The more time goes, the more the scenery looks akin to Tatiana's birthplace... Siberia.


This novel deals masterfully with point of view. In a way
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
4.0 Stars
This was a very slow burning novel of pyschological suspense and horror. Most of the narrative took place inside the mind of our main character, who was not completely likeable. The novel addresssed feminine themes like fertility and motherhood, which likely would most appeal to female readers. Admittedly, I thought the narrative dragged a bit in the middle section. However, I loved the ending so much. This story was dark and disturbing in such an unexpected way.
Sara Strand
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I will tell you right now that I almost gave up on this book in the first few pages simply because if I read the line, "something followed them from Russia" one more time, I was probably going to throw the book. There are ways to make a story escalate, to increase the anxiety in a reader in less annoying ways than repeating a single line multiple times. It makes you feel like Holly is a crazy loon from the word go.

And I want to tell you a LOT more about this story and my insight but the
Karielle at Books à la Mode
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blog
They never speculated whether Tatiana might have inherited her love of horses from some Mongol ancestor or whether her lovely singing voice had been passed down from a gypsy grandmother. Neither of them speculated as to whether there might be manic depression tucked away in those genes, as there was in Holly's, or heart disease, cancer, anything. Their daughter had come to them without legacy. She was so beautiful and perfect she did not need one.

On Christmas morning, Holly Judge comes to with
What the heck was that?!! Why put me through that?!
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To say that this book is 'haunting' doesn't quite capture its insidious power. I believe this story will be following me around for weeks. Though some readers might guess where the book is leading earlier on, I was gobsmacked by the stunning conclusion, which made everything that occurred in the novel prior come into stark relief. I will be re-reading this book with the benefit of this hindsight, looking for clues and foreshadowing that I missed, and I am sure I will admire it just as much the ...more
Carol Ann
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I finished this crazy psychological drama in one day. Obviously not a tale for everyone and I can understand some not enjoying this uncomfortable tale. The story resonates long after the conclusion. I will recommend this one and seek out others by this author. I was hooked.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kali VanBaale
May 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that's tricky to discuss because the entire story utterly and completely hinges on the ending (and the reading experience would be completely ruined if the ending were revealed prematurely.)That said, I was a reader who felt the ending delivered all it was supposed to. I really had no idea where author Laura Kasischke was taking the narrative (the possibilities kept piling up, and some of my own imaginative options were a bit ridiculous) but Kasischke's final destination managed ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, twisted-tales
Being a fan of The Raising, I had to read another book by Laura Kasischke. Mind of Winter takes place on Christmas Day. A perfect storm of emotions, weather, regret, grief, guilt and failures accumulates with the mounting snow from the incoming storm. Isolated with her teen daughter, Holly Judge prepares for a traditional family Christmas. All the stress of preparing a meal and entertaining is heightened when everyone wakes up late on Christmas morning. There is little cheer or comedic relief in ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my gosh, so boring. The first problem, admittedly, is the narrator, who has the most pretentious, grating voice. But it seems so fitting for the pretentious, grating protagonist who spends 5 1/2 discs whining about her first-world problems and making insightful observations such as, if I step on the broken glass, I'll get cut. The payoff, when it finally comes at the end, is not nearly enough to compensate for the lost hours of my life. This might have made a decent short story, about 1/10 ...more
Jeanette Rivard
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Too much repetition for me. Not all that well written, though a good concept. I can see that it would make a good movie. I read a couple of starred reviews of this book which is why I expected better. Disappointing, really.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
So creepy, atmospheric and beautifully written. Until the ending, which is a little silly and patronising. But then, book endings often are a disappointment.
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Very unexpected story. Creepy!
Aimee Dars
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
kasischke, laura - mind of winter

On Christmas morning, Holly and Eric wake up late, surprised their fifteen-year-old daughter has allowed them to sleep. Eric quickly leaves for the airport to pick up his parents. Holly has the disorienting thought, “We brought something back from Russia.” Thirteen years ago, they’d traveled to a Siberian orphanage to meet Tatiana for the first time, and since they brought her home, a series of unexplained tragedies has befallen their family.

Expecting a full house for Christmas dinner, Holly
Alissa Patrick
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclub

What in the holy hell did I just read.
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Laura Kasischke (born 1961) is an American fiction writer and American poet with poetry awards and multiple well reviewed works of fiction. Her work has received the Juniper Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Pushcart Prize, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, and the Beatrice Hawley Award. She is the recipient of two fellowships from ...more
“Being female was so hard. Always having to rearrange yourself, to pluck yourself and whittle yourself and deprive yourself and inspect yourself in order to feel comfortable in this world.” 3 likes
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