BEAUTIFUL EVIL WINTER by Kelly K. Lavender *Review*

GENRE:   Suspense

PUBLISHER: Self-published


About the Book

After the USSR collapses, a time reminiscent of the unforgiving gun-slinging days of the frontier west, mild-mannered Ethan and fiery Sophia board a plane bound for Russia. They hope to prevail with their homespun plan to secure their son’s safe passage to America. What can go wrong? Maybe, an innocent ill fated encounter with the Mafia or maybe, being marked as a target for mob revenge. Perhaps, having to rely on a first-time adoption coordinator to complete the process and shelter them from harm. Honestly, what won’t go wrong?

Inspired by a true story, Beautiful Evil Winter triumphs as epic historical fiction about the human capacity for hope, the traumas that shape our lives and the hardships we’ll endure for love.

Read an Excerpt

The conversation with Natasha on the phone last night burns in my brain.

“Adoption very risky in Russia now. The ban make Mafia watch money very close.”

How could she say that on the eve of our trip? I play back what Natasha said.
“This trip big gamble for you. I work to keep adoption away from Mafia. If I do not, police arrest you for human trafficking or Mafia take you. Better to go to prison. My name not appear anywhere, only yours. Phone will be disconnected. And I never know you.”

“Hello, folks. This is your pilot I apologize for the delay. The maintenance crew is working diligently to insure the safety of our trip. Thanks again for your patience.”

I glance over at Ethan, who’s dozing now.

“Honey?” I place my hand on his arm, but he doesn’t stir. Probably, the fatigue finally caught up with him, or… maybe he drank a cocktail, in which case he’ll be comatose. I think I’ll go to the restroom before the plane takes off. “Be back in a minute.”

I carefully unclasp my seat belt and try to skitter by him without disturbing him. As I walk past the rows on either side, I glance at the tendrils of ear plugs reaching upward like small sun- seeking plants, and the hand-held devices, passengers attached to them like farmers admiring prized vegetables pulled from the fields.

As I reach the door, the occupied sign forces me to pause and begin to turn around. Suddenly, I hear the click of the door unlocking.

What luck! I’ll just dash in and dash out. Hopefully, I won’t have to hold my breath to stay in there. My face twists in repulsion at the thought. A haggard looking middle-aged man with a large paunch emerges and smiles too brightly at me.

That look—that look of recognition like I’m a favorite relative, but I’m not. His lids half close as he squeezes past me taking his slow sweet time. And he looks back at me before he stumbles down the aisle way.


My Review

Author Kelly K. Lavender has given the reader an insightful look at post-Communist Russia by introducing us to a number of colorful people. Beautiful Evil Winter touches very vividly on the subject of adoption of unwanted Russian children and shows us that the idea of family is worth any number of risks.

After reading the blurb, I really wanted to like this book. I do like the idea of the book. Unfortunately, for me, there were far too many historically inaccurate details, passive voice, and outright grammatical errors that took away from my enjoyment.

I also found the use of flashbacks in first person very confusing. I did enjoy the heroine, Sophia’s strong character. I wish her husband had been as likable. He did come through when necessary and that is to his credit.

Although there is a hint in suspense/intrigue, I was expecting more. I would classify this more as women’s fiction than suspense. If you are a fan of this era of history (early 1990s) and don’t get sidetracked by inconsistencies, you could very well enjoy this book. It does have a wonderfully uplifting premise.

About the Author

Kelly’s fascination with fiction began in middle school when she entered a book-reading contest and won. As an ardent fan of the resonating narrative and the cliffhanger, she decided to dedicate herself to becoming a skilled writer. When college professors spotlighted her writing in the classroom, it anchored her interest in becoming a novelist.

After earning a business degree, she continued to pursue her education at UCLA, via the UCLA Writers’ Extension Program, where her work earned praise from an Award-Winning Author. A rickety project trip to Russia, to adopt a baby boy, provided the inspiration for her debut novel, Beautiful Evil Winter.

A Giveaway

Kelly K. Lavender will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

This is a four-week, review tour. You are welcome to visit the previous stops for even more chances to win!

January 30: Kimmi Love
January 30: Long and Short Reviews
February 6: Straight From the Library
February 13Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
February 20Locks, Hooks and Books
February 20Bookaholic

~ ~ ~

It’s been my pleasure hosting this stop on Kelly K. Lavender’s tour. Please come back again on Friday and again next week for more authors, books, and giveaways.


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16 Responses to BEAUTIFUL EVIL WINTER by Kelly K. Lavender *Review*

  1. Lisa Brown says:

    I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win:)

  2. Thanks for hosting the tour. Thanks for reading and reviewing my book. I address any concerns about historical inaccuracies and editing in my blog post at A week ago, I re-edited, and re-published my Multi-Award-Winning novel to elevate the experience.

    • Nancy Fraser says:

      Kelly, I’d read the original version and then, when I received the updated version 4 days before my post, I re-read the entire book. I was very impressed with the changes you did make. I’ve also reviewed the notes on your blog. You do a great job of explaining the changes. Thank you so much for pointing this out.

  3. Bernie Wallace says:

    What book would you like to see a prequel to? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.

  4. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. 🙂

  5. Victoria says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing your review!

  6. Nikolina Vukelic says:

    Thank you for your honest review, it’s much appreciated!

  7. Rita Wray says:

    I liked the excerpt.

  8. Karen H says:

    A new-to- me author. Sorry I missed you on party day. I’m playing mad catch-up here! Enjoyed the review and excerpt.

  9. Bernie Wallace says:

    This looks like a great read. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

Comments are closed.