Take a moment, and imagine how it would feel to fall asleep in the arms of your beloved spouse, safe, content, and secure in the knowledge that all is right with the world. Now, imagine emerging from slumber, groggy and disoriented, plagued by a feeling of dread. Then, imagine how it would feel to discover that your beloved has, without warning, committed suicide. If you can bring yourself to imagine all that, then you might have some idea how Nora Hamilton, the protagonist of Cover of Snow, feels when she finds her husband’s body as the story commences. Unfortunately, Nora’s problems are only just beginning, as she discovers how very little she knows about her husband, or about Wedeskeyull, the isolated New York village they settled in. Her pursuit of the unknown forms the backbone of Milchman’s mature debut. It may also result in Nora’s demise, as she stirs up trouble along with long-suppressed memories.
Nora is a very credible heroine, an everywoman who, refreshingly, has no special abilities or quirks, other than a burning desire to learn the truth. Wedeskeyull is the quintessential insular small town, one whose terrible secrets taint almost all of its citizens; it’s fascinating to watch as Nora wades deeper and deeper into troubled waters, oblivious to the danger all around her. Although some of the clues seem to fall in her lap out of convenience, this minor flaw is forgivable, as Milchman does a good job of creating credible supporting characters to assist (and hinder) her in her quest. Ultimately, Milchman provides readers with an equally credible solution to the mystery, one which should prove satisfying to most.