Published by Brilliance Audio on July 25, 2017
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Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She's diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life.
Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls - one for every villager. Fascinated, she can't resist the urge to open the doll with her father's face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava's dolls are much more than they seem.
When he learns what she's done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls - whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava's creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.
At first I found it hard to get into this novel, which was set in a historical Russian village and seemed to have a rather weak premise. But as the story unfolded, I came to enjoy Matrona’s character and the magic of the world she was dealing with. I will say that most of the characters are rather flat, but that is actually a part of the plot. I would have enjoyed more back story and also a lot more story after the end (maybe a sequel). But overall, it was a great read and listen.