Though Victoria's life appears picture-perfect from the outside, no one knows what it's really like on the inside. Her father is a callous, yammering cad. Her mother grows more distant and ill with each passing day. When her older brother's attempt to be like their father begins to fail, he turns to drugs. And then there's her baby brother, Bradley. He's a sweet boy that can't help that he's just a little different.
Victoria seems to be getting a handle on things until the unthinkable happens: Her mother suddenly dies. Victoria is tossed into a world of survival for not only herself, but for her little brother as well. But, how high will the price of her sacrifices be? Will she ever be able to have a life of her own?
Victoria is your average fifteen year old girl who has big dreams. She wants to go to MIT, she wants to fall in love and she wants her family back. Ever since her younger brother, Bradley, was born, her life has changed irrevocably. He's autistic and her mom and dad fought constantly about his care, until one day they stopped fighting. Her mom, Katherine, spends all of her time caring for Bradley and her dad spends all of his time at work or being authoritative at home. Her oldest brother, Clayton, has fallen into drugs, definitely not the path his father had planned for him.
Vicky's mom is always tired and she knows she's ill. She spends her time worrying about her mom and falling in love for the first time with Shane, an aspiring musician. But Shane wants Vicky to run away with him and get married and she knows that she has to take care of Bradley since her mom is always so tired. She sure can't get her dad to help with anything. He won't even allow her mom to see a doctor.
Then there is Mr. Barrington, a thirty something business colleague of her dads who is always asking Victoria personal questions. He creeps her out but she shrugs it off, spending more and more time with Shane. Until his family urgently moves out of the country for his dad's business. Then everything changes - especially when Vicky's mom dies suddenly. Now, her dad has another plan for her and Bradley, and it includes Mr. Barrington. Will Vicky sacrifice everything she holds dear to hold onto her brother or will she make another choice to live her own life?
Darkness Lies in Winter is a solid debut novel. Exploring the dynamic of family, autism, young love and the disturbing psychological implications that one man's choices hinder upon others, Darkness Lies in Winter is compelling. Set in modern day, Wood sugar coats nothing in this superb, riveting novel! I can't wait to see what she writes next!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ariana Wood lives in Indiana with her husband and three boys. This is her first published book and she looks forward to the next. Find her on Facebook.
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