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Updated: Jan 16

Tracy Sierra's impressive debut is utterly gripping!

This debut novel grabbed me with an opening scene depicting a terrifying scenario!

Alone with her kids during a winter storm, a mother sees an intruder in the middle of the night in their remote historic home. They're all in their pajamas and would leave tracks in the snow. She makes a split-second decision to grab her kids to hide in a small, dark alcove hidden behind a trick wall panel. She can hear the intruder looking for them. And he is between her and her phone. He starts calling out them, trying to lure them out. She must keep her young kids quiet so they don't give away their hiding spot, and she must plan an escape. But there's no good way out.

The tension and adrenaline were palpable at times. Sierra vividly and atmospherically depicted this old house with its creaks, quirks, and the surrounding woods. The house and its idiosyncrasies become a big part of the story, almost like another character.

 The mother is a very well-developed character. Her internal monologues mingle desperation, fear, self-doubt, and other strong emotions with her instincts to protect her kids and survive. In places, the immediate danger and suspense ease a bit as her history emerges through flashbacks, forcing her to face her demons and past hurts as she fights her current nightmare circumstances. Social commentaries are blended with past events during these flashbacks to create an interesting and emotional layer of backstory. As all the pieces started falling into place, I could not put this down, I had so many questions! I was up way past bedtime to find out how things ended.

The book is cleverly written, feminist, and frightening. I loved the writing and some of the stylistic choices the author made. 


What an impressive debut! I cannot wait to read what Sierra writes next!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Viking for the gifted ARC. 

Pub Day: February 6, 2024

My steep was Winter Solstice from Fusion Teas, an herbal rooibos with an orange, vanilla, mulled cider flavor. 


A razor-sharp thriller about a mother pushed to the breaking point when her life and the lives of her children are threatened by an intruder

Home alone with her young children during a blizzard, a mother tucks her son back into bed in the middle of the night. She hears a noise—old houses are always making some kind of noise. But this sound is disturbingly familiar: it's the tread of footsteps, unusually heavy and slow, and its coming up the stairs.

She sees the figure of a man appear down the hallway, shrouded in the shadows. Terrified, she quietly wakes her children and hustles them into the oldest part of the house, a tiny, secret room concealed behind a wall. There they hide as the man searches for them, trying to tempt the children out with promises and scare the mother into surrender.

In the suffocating darkness, the mother struggles to remain calm, to plan. Should she search for a weapon or attempt escape? But then she catches another glimpse of him. That face. That voice. And at once she knows her situation is even more dire than she'd feared, because she knows exactly who he is—and what he wants.

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