Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
This book takes place in the Swedish Lapland in 1717, beginning that summer when Maija, her husband Paavo and their two daughters, Fredericka and Dorothea, journey there from the Finnish coast to start their new lives in a new home. But things are not well on Blackäsen Mountain where they live. A man has been murdered and other tragedies befall the residents. Worst of all Paavo must leave his family in their new home to find work elsewhere to gain money, leaving the three women in the wilderness for their first brutal winter on the mountain.
Maija is a strong woman trying to forget her past and her ties to the old ways, ways frowned upon and condemned by the Christianity that rules her new land. Fredericka has met some of the Lapps and has talked to them about their old ways, ways that seem to be awakening in her. She must use the knowledge that is coming to her through odd avenues to protect her family and find the evil that lives on the mountain.
If you need to feel better about the freezing temperatures outside this book will make even our weather seem warm. This is a stark and unforgiving landscape. Frostbite is a constant worry, as is freezing or starving to death. The Church and the King both have a presence in the remote regions of Sweden but they are not seen as benevolent entities, more like oppressive and controlling forces. Politics, religion, and the evil that can live in man all come together to form a suspenseful mystery. Having read a lot of mysteries I did figure out one storyline before the characters in the book, but that is more a sign of our times and how we don’t naturally expect good in other people, than a sign of poor writing.