Holly awakens late on Christmas morning. She vaguely remembers having awakened earlier and looked in on her daughter Tatiana, but then she fell back asleep and the family overslept. Her husband Eric rushes off to pick up his parents at the airport. Holly gets up to begin Christmas dinner for a full house, and then it begins to snow.
But Holly has awakened with a thought—something followed them home from Russia. Russia was where she and Eric adopted Tatiana (called Tatty) 13 years earlier as a baby. Throughout the day, Holly is obsessed with memories of the adoption and of incidents with her daughter as her interactions with Tatty become more bizarre.
The two of them are left alone because Eric’s parents have to be driven to the hospital and friends and family decide to stay home because of the blizzard. Oddly, some of them omit calling Holly to tell her these things directly, so she spends quite a bit of time unnecessarily preparing the dinner and has to call Eric to find out what is going on. But the oddest behavior is going on inside the house. As Holly obsesses about everything Tatty does, Tatty alternates between loving girl and rebellious teenager. This doesn’t sound that odd, but you have to read the novel to understand.
This tale is a carefully constructed psychological drama. The book blurb focuses on Tatty’s behavior, but it is really Holly’s that seems inexplicable at times. At first, she seems to be the most over-protective mother ever. Then, something else seems to be going on. The novel builds quite a bit of suspense as you try to figure out why these characters are behaving so oddly, and I didn’t see the ending coming at all.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.