Review of “Cover of Snow” by Jenny Milchman

Some of the writing in this book shows that the author may have a good story inside of her yet, but this particular book isn’t it.


Nora Hamilton, 35, wakes up one morning to find out her husband hasn’t woken her up AND he hasn’t made her coffee! Oh, and incidentally he killed himself the night before. No, it wasn’t because he was tired of waiting on his wife, but the real reason (which we don’t discover until the end) wasn’t a much better explanation.

After Nora’s gruesome discovery, the rest of the book consists of her efforts to find out what drove her husband Brendan to kill himself. Maybe it was his creepy and evil mother, who seems to have escaped from a Grade D horror movie. Or maybe it was his fellow police officers, most of whom obviously spent their previous life in Hitler’s S.S. Or maybe it was because Nora was married to this guy, but obviously knew absolutely nothing about him or his family or his past or his present. (This could be because Nora is totally self-absorbed, or because she is totally clueless. Both are true.)

In short, most of the plot is just nonsensical. Some of the characters are inconsistent, if not schizophrenic (presumably at least in a few cases so we can be mislead by red herrings). Others, like the main protagonists are pretty much unknowns. Why should we care about them? How can we judge the bizarre things they do to be believable if we don’t know who these people really are and what might motivate them?

Discussion: So, you may be asking, why did I keep reading this book? Well, there were a couple of reasons. One is that I really wanted to like it and thought that if I just reading, it would get better. (We might label this The Red Wine Principle – i.e., sometimes if you let a wine breathe, or aerate, the flavor improves.) The second reason is that some parts showed promise. (This would be the You Go Girl Principle – rooting for the just-starting-out author!)

Rating: 1/5

Published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, 2013

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22 Responses to Review of “Cover of Snow” by Jenny Milchman

  1. I laughed and laughed as I read your thoughts on this one. Thanks for always being so honest Jill. Better luck with your next read.

  2. Charlie says:

    I admire your honesty in that first sentence, and in the rest of the review, too. I haven’t read the book, but I think I know the sort of writing you’re talking about – where the author is obviously trying to make you care whilst not actually giving you a reason to? Very difficult books, those.

  3. Sigh… I will stay far, far away from this one!

  4. I don’t think i’ll be attempting this one. I appreciate the honest review. Hoping your next read was much better.

  5. Sandy says:

    All of the less-than-positive reviews of this book makes me very sad, because she is a new author and as nice as can be. And she likes Tana French. But I guess those characteristics don’t write a good book. I hope she keeps writing and working on her craft.

  6. I too cracked up reading this review — I haaaaaaaaaaaaate books that are based on a married couple not talking/knowing each other. So annoying.

  7. BermudaOnion says:

    Aw, too bad. It’s nice to know the author has potential.

  8. Care says:

    I am pondering all the Principles in this educational and enjoyable review. Hmmmmm.

  9. bookingmama says:

    Darn it, darn it, darn it! Just accepted on audio!

  10. Ditto to all the above comments – thanks for the honest review, too bad on the not so great book and hopefully the author will grow and prosper!

  11. zibilee says:

    I have heard from other reviewers that this was not the best read out there, and that it was really underdeveloped with flaky characters. It seems like you felt the same way. I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. It sounds like it would be a terrible read for me.

  12. Jenny says:

    Hmmmm, I think you may have fallen victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy of reading — it gets me pretty rarely these days, but I sometimes do find myself halfway through a slog of a book, feeling terribly resentful and somehow unwilling to give up because then all my previous slogging will have been for naught. :p

  13. Jenners says:

    I probably would have kept reading too. I always think “things MUST get better since it got published.” I’ll wait for her to “season”

  14. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I like Jenny’s Sunk Cost Fallacy. Sounds like something that gets me a lot.

  15. Heather says:

    I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said here, although I might have found a little more potential in the novel than you did. But Jenny is SO nice so it was difficult to be so honest about the book. I hate when this happens!!

  16. Staying away from this one. The plot didn’t appeal to me and your review just confirmed my thoughts.

  17. JoV says:

    On the positive side, the book cover is beautiful. Suppose that’s what the title is trying to say “Cover of Snow” – don’t bother about the content! 😉

  18. Rita K says:

    As Nancy Pearl has taught me, there are too many good books to read to waste time on a bad one. Glad you forewarned me. I will not have to waste my soon to be precious retirement time.

  19. stacybuckeye says:

    As I sit here drinking my perfectly aerated red wine, I applaud you for giving this one a chance to prove itself 😉

  20. tututina says:

    Well….I really liked this one. I found it engrossing. I knew something bad was going on, but couldn’t quite figure out what it was, and felt the author strung the reader along very well to keep up interest. I can’t wait to see if she writes another one. I for one, will read it. My review is here.

  21. Kro says:

    I agree with your review. I really tried to get through this. There was not one character I liked.

  22. Audrey says:

    When I realized how pathetically naive and risk taking Nora was, I just had to close the book.

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