Book Review: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

Winter of the Wolf…

About the Book:

An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding.

Both tragic and heart-warming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean’s world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

In this novel, environmentalist and award-winning author, Martha Handler, brings together two important pieces of her life—the death of her best friend’s son and her work as president of the Wolf Conservation Center—to tell an empathetic and powerful story with undeniable messages.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel so much, and considering my somewhat shaky relationship with YA fiction, I was quite surprised from the get-go how much I didn’t want to put this novel down. It had everything: a compelling story, well fleshed out characters, depth and meaning, along with a sensitivity regarding what can only be considered as ‘big ticket’ issues. This might be marketed as a YA novel, but it’s really one that suits all ages, in my opinion.

Bean was a beautiful narrator, so honest and loyal. I enjoyed her family interactions and especially her relationship with her best friend Julie. This novel has a spiritual underpinning that appealed to me greatly. It raised a question that I hadn’t thought much about, to be honest, that of whether we need to be born into a culture in order to live by its rules. Bean’s brother Sam had decided from a young age that the Inuit life and beliefs were what he wanted to live by, even though he wasn’t Inuit himself. It’s like he chose it as his religion. I found that really interesting and quite thought provoking.

There are some heavy themes in this novel but they are handled with sensitivity and intelligence. This is one of those rare novels that walks the line between education and entertainment with perfect grace. Despite the grave beginnings, it soars to a hopeful finish that left me feeling fulfilled and inspired.


Thanks is extended to Greenleaf Book Group for providing me with a copy of Winter of the Wolf for review.

About the Author:

Martha Hunt Handler grew up in northern Illinois dreaming about wolves and has always understood that her role in this lifetime is to tell stories and be a voice for nature. She has been an environmental consultant, a magazine columnist, an actress, and a polar explorer, among other occupations. She has also driven across the country in an 18-wheeler and been a grand-prize winner of The Newlywed Game.
Soon after she and her family relocated from Los Angeles to South Salem, New York, she began to hear wolves in her backyard. This was the start of her twenty-plus-year career as an advocate for wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center, where she currently serves as Board President.

Winter of the Wolf
Published by Greenleaf Book Group
Released 7th July 2020

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

  1. I was drawn to this from just the cover. Then I read the blurb and it sounded great. Your review has earned it a definite place on the wtr pile.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s