Winter of the Wolf

Narrated by Kelly Pruner
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Pub Date 07 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 23 Feb 2021
Greenleaf Audiobooks, Greenleaf Book Group Press

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A tragic mystery blending sleuthing and spirituality

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 heartwarming, 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.

A tragic mystery blending sleuthing and spirituality

An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved...

Advance Praise

'Winter of the Wolf takes you on an amazing and emotional journey through suicide and spiritual discovery.''

-Bria Neff, teen wildlife artist and advocate

''Winter of the Wolf is a compelling, heartfelt tale based on a story close to the author's heart. She takes what is a difficult subject and weaves a captivating story about life, death, grief, and gratitude. A must-read for any age.''

-Mary Ellen Keating, former Senior Vice President of Communications for Barnes & Noble, Inc.

''A true literary masterpiece. Martha Hunt Handler takes us on an edge-of-your-seat thriller. We find ourselves arriving at the collision course between perceptions we've long held and deeper beliefs we've long ignored. While taking us on a journey of unfathomable pain, she asks us to ponder both the spiritual world around us and our interconnectedness to all souls who share the planet with us. You'll be awakened to the idea that the light that shines within us is too bright to ever be extinguished.''

-Wendy Diamond, best-selling author, TV personality, animal advocate, and founder of Women's Entrepreneurship Day

''All great books open our minds, broaden our visions, and strengthen our convictions, and Martha Hunt Handler's Winter of the Wolf does all three brilliantly. Much like a wolf, 15-year-old Bean follows her intuition, desperate and determined to prove her beloved brother did not choose to end his life. As readers follow her emotional and spiritual journey, they will, undoubtedly, begin to question their own beliefs about life and death and the interconnectedness of all spiritual beings. A breathtaking read from start to finish.''

-Hélène Grimaud, founder of the Wolf Conservation Center, world-renowned musical artist, writer, and human rights activist

''Handler takes us deep inside one family's tragedy and shows us how our spiritual beliefs can guide us at our deepest moments of grief. As we travel with fifteen-year-old Bean through the loss of her beloved brother Sam, we see how friendship, trust, and deeply held beliefs help her navigate the painful aftermath of his death. In a mystery that races forward, Handler shows us the power of sibling love to endure forever.''

-Lisa Heffernan, coauthor of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults

''Heartwarming and unflinching, Winter of the Wolf explores one family's struggle to face the complex nature of death and loss. A timely and important tale for all ages, it offers a powerful message of hope for our lives.''

-Kristen Wolf, best-selling author of The Way: A Girl Who Dared to Rise

''Let Winter of the Wolf take you on a journey of the soul to unearth the truth to set you free.''

-Emme, supermodel and social reformer

''Martha's gut-wrenching and captivating story may be a work of fiction, but it hauntingly hits home. I felt like I was reading my worst nightmare.''

-Stephanie Ruhle, NBC News

''What we attempt to capture in our photographs, Martha Hunt Handler portrays with her words in a heartbreaking story that reminds us of our interconnectedness with all that is living and breathing on our planet.''

--Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, cofounders of SeaLegacy, world-renowned nature photographers, and filmmakers

"Martha's gut-wrenching and captivating story may be a work of fiction, but it hauntingly hits home. I felt like I was reading my worst nightmare."

--Stephanie Ruhle, NBC News

"What we attempt to capture in our photographs, Martha Hunt Handler portrays with her words in a heartbreaking story that reminds us of our interconnectedness with all that is living and breathing on our planet."

--Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, cofounders of SeaLegacy, world-renowned nature photographers, and filmmakers

'Winter of the Wolf takes you on an amazing and emotional journey through suicide and spiritual discovery.''

-Bria Neff, teen wildlife artist and advocate

''Winter of the Wolf is a compelling...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781626347205
PRICE $19.95 (USD)
DURATION 6 Hours, 19 Minutes, 50 Seconds

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 151 members

Featured Reviews

This book evoked a lot of strong emotions. It was heart wrenching going through the grieving process with this family. Sam, one of 4 children is found dead, the police and the rest of the family believes that it was a suicide but Bean who was closest to her brother thinks it was something else. As she struggles with what happened and tries to process through the grief she enlist the help of her best friend. Through interviews with Sams friends Bean learns more about Sam but she still doesn't believe he committed suicide. Sam had strong Inuit beliefs and she can't reconcile them with what happened.

Bean's family is also struggling, her father who freaked out on both Sam and Bean right before this happened is trying to push everything away, her mother won't get out of bed and isn't taking the medication she was prescribed, her brothers seem to be going about their lives. During her investigation Bean learns more about her family and this builds a stronger bond between them all.

Through investigating Sam and learning more about his beliefs and other spiritual practices the girls decide to perform a shamanic ritual that they believe will help them know if Sam is still with them. This ceremony is beautiful and the aftermath brings the family even closer.

I really liked this book and the big reveal at the end. While I didn't see it coming I agree it is a very under reported problem. If you have a teen who is going to read this book I would suggest reading it first or at least at the same time so that a conversation can happen about this reveal. Regardless of how difficult that conversation may be it is important.

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I need to start by saying I am not in the age rage of the target audience, but have read and enjoyed a few other YA books. I was drawn to this firstly by the cover then the description.
A lovely comforting story that follows a girl and her family struggling through the grief process with the loss of her soul mate older brother by suicide. It handles all the emotions of grief realistically, and with real feeling.
I engaged with Bean as she tries to help the family while dealing with her own grief. Also her best friend Julie, as She tries to help and support Bean.
I liked the way they explore spirituality for coming to terms with their loss, despite not being a spiritual person myself. The description of Inuit beliefs was very dry. The shaman ceremony and the totem pole with the animals having meanings was very Sam and moving.
It sensitively reveals and deals with a subject that still isn’t widely talked about.
The narrator is good adding emotion to story. I felt quite emotional at the end.
It leaves an educational message behind which I hope will help others.

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Kelly Pruner did a great job narrating the audiobook Winter of the Wolf. Most of her voices were distinct which made for easy listening. I believe that high school students will like the book, however, I will forewarn them that I’ll want their opinions about the Inuit connections. Do they feel that the culture was appropriated or respected?

Overall, I was completely engaged in the tale and could envision a grief stricken sister working to prove her beloved brother’s death was not a suicide. The steps Bean (sister) took to try to figure out what really happened were believable as a 15 year old. The family’s grief was believable. I deeply appreciated the strong ties to nature and preserving the environment.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This audio book has a narrator who's voice is quite warm and crisp yet intriguing. The novel itself is indeed fascinating. The story is relatable and easy to connect with. I personally have lost my brother , most of the family are turning towards suicide however I knew him intimately so I know for sure that this was not a suicide that it was murder. Certain things that happened around the time and the people who were furious with him for exposing their fraud to the customers... needless to say I know the truth. So when I read this book I could quite easily relate and for this reason I really connected to the novel itself.
The author has done a wonderful job with this Novel and i hope it prospers beautifully. I am also a spiritual person and open minded to the supernatural. It ticks al the boxes for me.

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I read a lot of books but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like Winter of the Wolf before. The narrator, Bean, is a teenager. The youngest in a family of four and the only girl. When the brother she is closest to, Sam, kills himself after a family disagreement she is understandably devastated but is also clinging to the idea that his death is connected to Inuit beliefs. Alongside her best friend Julie,she attempts to find the answers.

I have to admit that I nothing at all about Inuit customs but it didn’t matter. I was swept along by Bean and her family’s attempts at coping with their loss. The emotions are raw and honest. You could see how they troubled to communicate with each other, through grief, guilt and denial.

You would think that this would be a depressing read but it isn’t. Some of it is everyday teenage life. Boys, friends, families. There are parts that she has to cope with at school that are different, the feeling of being ignored because people don’t know what to say, the comments from others who say they know what she is going through because they have experienced similar.

Alongside the learning to cope there is the description of the local community, the area and its wildlife. So different to life here and much of it sounds magical. I found that the part of the novel that concerns the Inuit customs was quite small but fascinating. Mixing human and animal blood was something I had never even thought about and it reminds the reader that there is a lot to learn about different cultures and beliefs.

A wonderful book that I would happily read again.

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Winter of the Wolf is the first audiobook I listened to on NetGalleys new audio review addition! I was super psyched to get this. And the cover is just beautiful! I love Wolves and Pigs and all other But there is something just so regal about a wolf to me.

Bean, who is super close to her older brother Sam has just lost him to what seems like a suicide. Everything points perfectly to suicide from the way he died to some incidents leading up to his death. But something in Beans gut tells her this is not the case. So with the help of her friend Julie they start to sift through his life looking into his strong beliefs in Inuit Culture, his relationship with his recent ex girlfriend and his close friendship with his best friend Skip, who has seemed to pull a disappearing act the day after Sam died. She’s hoping something will provide with her answers as to what really happened and if he did take his own life what was the cause.

This was a very interesting and deeply sad book.
First off the grief that the entire family was going through was so well written and so palpable I caught myself sniffling through the book on more then one occasion. Especially in regards to Bean and her mom. It really was heartbreaking. Beans mom was just so sad and lost and Martha Hunt Handler wrote about her depression very convincingly. And as a reader I truly felt how much the family loved each other even though they were going through their own desperate struggles.
It also was truly a mystery as to what killed Sam. By the looks of everything it pointed to suicide all the way but there were facts brought up about Sams personality and the way he lived his life that I was thinking no way, something sinister MUST have happened that night. So I was hoping Bean would get some real answers and the mystery would be solved. Which it does btw.
It was also really interesting to learn about the Inuit culture which I had never heard of. They have a very strong connection to nature and especially with animals. Sam accidentally kills a deer the night he dies in a car accident and to show respect he mingles his blood with the does. The Inuit never kill animals for sport only to sustain life.
The only problem I had with this book is the way Sam dies when we finally find out. There was all this build up and I just couldn’t believe he would go out like that. There is an author note at the end that explains why and some personal sentiments are attached to this, but the way the story starts out it just didn’t flow well. I guess real life doesn’t exactly either all the time though.

Kelley Pruner did a really good job as the narrator. I easily believed the different characters she slipped into. The only thing I didn’t like was her tone when Bean spoke aloud. It was kind of a whiny voice.

Overall extremely interesting and sentimental read of a family trying to get over the grief of a loved one that I highly recommend.

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This book was not what I was expecting. When I read the description of this book I decided I wanted to read it because I was interested in the reference to Inuit culture. A few years ago I read Confessions of an Igloo Dweller: Memories of the Old Arctic which is a non-fiction book by a man who lived with the Inuit people for an extended period of time. Coincidentally the man who wrote that book is named Sam. Because I enjoyed that book so much I decided to give a fiction book about Inuit culture a go. I really did enjoy this book, the spiritualism is so interesting. But it must be mentioned that this is a very somber read. Since it's not a spoiler, the whole of this book focuses around Sam's apparent suicide as experienced by his little sister and her inability to accept it as a suicide. The book has a sort of magical realism feel to it. All in all I thought it was well written, a good book but it's not something to read if you are looking for a light book or a particularly happy one. There are some feel good moments but they are few and far between in this book.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It has been published in July 2020.

"Winter of the Wolf" by Martha Hunt Handler is a heart-wrenching story about grief, loss and bereavement, but also about family ties, the strength of friendship and the importance of our relationship with nature and with the world around us.
Bean, the protagonist, is coming of age in the shadow of her brother's supposed suicide. The novel follows her search for the truth and for a way to make sense of this tragedy in the months after Sam's death.
I really enjoyed the characters - so well-rounded that they just come alive in front of your eyes - and the plot, which is surprisingly full of twists and big reveals.
The language and style are perfect for the narration, very true to the character of a mourning 15-year-old girl.
The themes are darker than what you would generally expect from a YA novel (suicide, mental illness, sex, drugs, occultism), but they're handled in a very sensitive way, so kudos to the author for managing that near-impossible feat.
Overall, "Winter of the Wolf" comes across as a story about resilience and the rebuilding of severed relationships, rather than as a story about grief.

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