Synopsis from Goodreads Alaska, 1920: a brutal
place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and
Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight
of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a
moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child
out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a
young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. Faina, seems to be a child of the woods surviving alone in the Alaskan wilderness. While Jack and Mabel
struggle to understand this child, who could have stepped from the pages
of a fairy tale, they come to love her. But in this
beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear.
Shannon's Review I was drawn to The Snow Child for a couple of reasons. First, that I used to live in Alaska. Second, that I loved the historical setting and third because I was only vaguely aware of the fable the story is based on. Any one of those reasons would have justified my choice to read this book but all 3 made it a can't miss.
I think the novel does a great job of immersing you in the isolation, danger, and wonder of Alaska. There really isn't anywhere else like it and it's easy to tell that author Eowyn Ivey has an admiration and love for her home state. Reading about the falling snow, frozen rivers and clear starry nights made me desperate to go back for a visit.
Jack and Mabel aren't always the most likeable of characters. Both of them make some pretty poor decisions but both are hardworking and realistic. I actually found it rather refreshing to see their imperfections so proudly on display. I mean these are two people who are older and more set in their ways. Plus the setting of the 20's adds to their more conservative personalities. The strain in their marriage is understandable but I loved getting to see them fall back in love with each other.
Faina, the snow child, is a
character who remains very mysterious throughout the entire novel. I
love that what you do learn about Faina only adds to her mystery and
The way in which The Snow Child fable is interwoven into the plot is quite clever. I thought it would be more of something that was just used as a backdrop but it's actually much more important then that.
The novel's ending definitely didn't turn out the way I thought it would. It's much more open ended, which I was actually fine with. Many authors feel this need to wrap everything up and I like that The Snow Child leaves more room for the reader to draw their own conclusions.
Like most historical novels The Snow Child is a bit slow in places but easily held my attention throughout. Its a beautifully, creative adult debut that has the ability to attract a variety of readers.