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Book Review| The Coldest Winter Ever: A Novel by Sister Souljah

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

As the July fiction pick for the ROTR Book Club, this book did not disappoint!

Warning! This engulfing, thrilling piece of Urban Contemporary Literature may cause side effects of sleepiness due to late night reading better known as “Can’t put it down” syndrome, and may (absolutely does) contain graphic sex scenes and explicit language. It's twenty chapters of naughty.

The main character and narrator, Winter Santiaga is beautiful, young, smart, and…untouchable. Born into a crime family, as the daughter of the head man in charge, Winter has the world at her fingertips. At least until her world comes crashing down around her and everyone she knew, even trusted, turned their backs on her.

The Coldest Winter Ever is the debut fictional novel of Sister Souljah. Originally published in 1999, the novel has gained a cult like following causing regular surges in new interest. With a new sequel novel, about the main character Winter, due out this year (2020), interest is currently a buzz. Though Souljah has written three follow-up books over the years based on supporting characters in the story, Winter seems to remain the favorite among fans.

“Now a bad bitch is a woman who handles her business without making it seem like business. Only dumb girls let love get them delirious…” ~Winter Santiaga

In this novel, Winter, named after the weather climate during her birth, is the oldest of four and takes full responsibility for looking out for…herself. With a selfish nature she finds it hard to consider the needs of others and doesn’t fully recognize the effects of her actions on those around her. Souljah does an exquisite job creating an antagonistic main character provoking the reader to desperately desire warning Winter of all her wrong choices before the aftermath.

Following her father's decision to move the family, including herself, mother, baby sister and twin sisters, to a mansion in the Long Island suburbs of New York City for protection, Winter hatches a plan to keep life interesting. Defying all the rules and centering her decisions around money, clothes, jewels and sex, Winter finds herself in one problematic situation after another.

Though cold-hearted, Winter has one warm center that she can’t shake. A mid-level worker for her father named Midnight. Tall, dark, handsome, smart and mysterious -Midnight carries himself like a man with a mission and is unimpressed with all that is important to Winter.

Throughout the story Winter is at the mercy of the men in her life without even knowing it. She remains in a mirage in which she is always in charge, calling the shots. Mid-way though the book, Winter meets a woman who tries to help her see that the life she admires so much will only lead to destruction, to no avail.

So, what’s the overall theme of the story? If you ask fans of the book, each one would probably give a different answer. However, one thing is agreeable: the author sets out to empower women and urban communities. Throughout the story, Souljah consistently includes themes involving stopping the cycle of brokenness within families, and the destruction of communities via drugs. It’s obvious because…well, the author tells us so.

Souljah offers a collector’s edition of the book on the Amazon Kindle App which includes personal interviews and character assessments written by the author herself. The activist explains that she wanted to create a character in which young urban people could identify. She wanted to offer an experience that would allow the reader to witness the outcomes of poor decision making, hopefully before they have the chance to harm themselves in real life -all while expressing the value of community and mutual respect.

By the end of the story, after a wild ride, you’ll feel the same way.

The collector’s edition also includes two follow up books (prequels) which allow readers to learn more about Midnight, Winter’s love interest. So…we’ve got more reading to do! This book is recommended if you are looking for a weekend of entertainment. It’s a thriller filled with twists, turns and oh so much scandal.

Books by Sister Souljah

The Coldest Winter Ever (1999)

Midnight: A Gangster Love Story (2008)

Midnight and The Meaning of Love (2011)

A Deeper Love Inside (2013)

As always, Happy Reading Friends!



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