Matrona shook her head, mulling over Olia’s bizarre words. “What’s ‘snow’?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea” – Jaska shrugged – “but she prattles about it from time to time.”
That little exchange is the first sign you get that the small village in Charlie N. Homberg’s latest book might be a little…odd. Things aren’t completely perfect (other than the weather of course); Matrona Vistin’s newborn sister disappeared without a trace when Matrona was six years old, and her relationship with her parents in the twenty years since can best be described as “strained”. But Matrona is mostly content with being a dairymaid on her family’s farm, and she has her upcoming marriage to the handsome (if a little distant) village butcher to look forward to.
Matrona’s life might have stayed predictable and quiet, if only she hadn’t given in to a moment’s curiosity and stumbled across the tradesman Slava Barinov’s collection of nested wooden dolls. Each doll is painted to look like someone Matrona knows. In fact, there’s one for every member of her village, and trying to separate the two halves of the dolls has a nasty effect on whoever the doll is matched to.