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A Cold Season    by Alison Littlewood Amazon.com order for
Cold Season
by Alison Littlewood
Order:  USA  Can
Quercus, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Littlewood's storyline isn't new - a widowed mum relocates to her childhood village of Darnshaw to begin a new life, odd things begin happening even before she gets there, the neighbours are a bit strange from the get-go and her son's demeanour changes from sweet to belligerent after one too many play dates with a new friend.

Cass shrugs it off as coincidence and settles in to get her website design business up and running. But her nagging suspicions that things just aren't right escalate. Why are the townsfolk either downright hostile or overly friendly? Why are there no other tenants in her building? And why is Ben becoming increasingly rude and belligerent? She should have never come back to Darnshaw. It might have the picture perfect postcard appeal that tourists adore, but as a little girl, she'd learned the village harboured dark secrets.

If not for the help of Ben's kind-hearted and charming headmaster, Mr. Remick, Cass might have headed back to London without bothering to unpack. But Ben seems entranced by the man and Cass, well, she's attracted to him as well.

Her fears escalate, but before Cass can escape, the village is pummeled by one winter storm after another and she and Ben find themselves stranded by dark forces threatening to swallow them both.

Littlewood's stylish and atmospheric writing style kept me reading way, way past my bed time! The characterizations are well done, especially Cass as she struggles with her growing suspicion and paranoia. Littlewood adds a couple of nice twists along the way as well, but disappointingly tosses in an overused cliché at the end.

Even so, I found A Cold Season highly readable and would recommend the novel to anyone wanting to lose themselves to a few hours of creeping menace in the Yorkshire moors.

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