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The Snow Child

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  75,821 Ratings  ·  10,348 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 423 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Headline Review (first published 2012)
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Susan Rouchard the poetry of this book hovering between fairy tale and hard realism.
Holly I noticed that, too, Sue. For me, it added to the spirit-like nature of Faina. Especially early on in the story, it made me wonder, "Is a little girl…moreI noticed that, too, Sue. For me, it added to the spirit-like nature of Faina. Especially early on in the story, it made me wonder, "Is a little girl actually speaking or is this all in Mable and Jack's minds?" And I thought this device made the child's voice more akin to the wind or the sound of the ice breaking on the river or the howl of wolves than to a human voice. Lovely story!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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karen
Jan 08, 2014 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

when i was about one hundred pages from the end of this book, i tugged on greg's sleeve at work, and said, "is this gonna end sad??"

and he refused to answer.

i think that was a good impulse.

because i almost don't wanna review this. this book was such a beautiful journey, and taking place as it does over a number of years, there are naturally high and low points, emotionally.

but i'm not going to tell you how it ends up.

i will tell you that i VERY NEARLY CRIED early on. like page 42-early.i misted
...more
Emily May
Jan 10, 2014 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fairy-tales

I put off reading The Snow Child because it wasn't something I would have chosen for myself without the extremely positive reviews of other goodreads members. If it is not obvious to you from the description alone, then this book is not mostly plot-driven. It's charm is upheld by the characters, the relationships, and the sad, cold mood that seems to permeate the entire novel from open to close. It is the kind of novel that I sometimes have trouble with, the kind not concerned with action or dr
...more
Elyse
Sep 06, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the Goodreads community and my friends -- for the comments of inspiration while I was reading this book.

When "The Snow Child" was first released in 2012,
other that adoring the books cover, I was sure this book wasn't for me.
I'm not sure why or what I thought it was -I just 'passed-it-over'. Well, for what's it's worth...I am more than pleasantly surprised to discover how MUCH I LIKE THIS BOOK.
I don't seem to remember 'anyone' telling me it was a page turner.

The blend of myth and
...more
Nataliya
Jan 11, 2014 Nataliya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads

Once upon a time there lived a childless old couple...

This is not an uncommon beginning to folk tales, a simple introductory line which can (and in Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child does) condense into a few simple words the years of pain, sadness, and intense longing for something that nature refused to give despite desperate desire.
"Where else in life, Mabel wondered, could a woman love so openly and with such abandon?"



This is where I saw the strengths of The Snow Child - not in the imagery of Al
...more
Reading Corner
Feb 05, 2016 Reading Corner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
So this story was beautiful with so many cute and heartbreaking moments. One of the best things in the book is the character development and the developing relationships throughout the story. From the start of the book, I nearly started crying because there was just scenes that were so heart wrenching especially at the end which completely broke my heart.

All the characters are perfect in this novel, they all have their faults but just as many strengths and the unexpected romance towards the end
...more
Tabetha
Feb 24, 2016 Tabetha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"'There,' he said. He stepped back. Sculpted in the white snow were perfect, lovely eyes, a nose, and small, white lips. She even thought she could see cheekbones and a little chin...How could she speak her surprise? Such delicate features. formed by his calloused hands, a glimpse at his longing. Surely, he too, had wanted children...they believed that someday their Christmas mornings would reel with running children and squeals of delight. She sewed a small stocking of their firstborn and he s ...more
Nathan
It's truly gratifying to come across a book that evokes the senses to such a degree that its flavor is brought to the palate. Such is the case with Eowyn Ivey's debut novel, The Snow Child. Infused with aspects of pine boughs, mountain herbs, woolen mittens and inspired by happenstance, it breathes new life into an old Russian children's tale Ivey stumbled upon in her bookstore.

We come to know of aging Jack and Mabel through their childless sorrows, playful intense love and survivalist fortitude
...more
Kris
Apr 15, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book. The Snow Child is inspired by the Russian folktale in which a childless elderly couple make a snowchild that comes to life as a young girl. Ivey's use of the folktale is multilayered and inventive, and works very well in the book's setting of Alaska in the 1920s.

I cared about the characters, but I especially loved the depictions of the Alaskan wilderness throughout the seasons. The novel also pays homage to freedom and individuality, while at the same time cel
...more
Karen
Sep 05, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this sweet story! So much heart and a little magic!
Linda Robinson
Jul 22, 2012 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing talent, beautifully delivered. This is a five sense book, and maybe a sixth and seventh as well. I could hear a bull moose snorting, swan screaming, snow crunching, river ice cracking. I could taste moose meat for the thirtieth and 100th time; smell wet wool and blood, birch fire and moonshine. I could touch the two-man saw, feel the weight of an ax, and the tiny threads of intricate embroidery. And always, always the snow and the earth beneath. I could see rows and rows of crops growing ...more
Scarlet
“No warm blood in me doth glow,
Water in my veins doth flow;
Yet I’ll laugh and sing and play
By frosty night and frosty day–
Little daughter of the Snow.

“But whenever I do know
That you love me little, then
I shall melt away again.
Back into the sky I’ll go–
Little daughter of the Snow.”


- An extract from Little Daughter of the Snow by Arthur Ransome.
You can read the short story here.


This book... it's a dream. An unhurried, ethereal, captivating dream - so captivating, that I cleared out my currently-r
...more
knig
Jan 13, 2014 knig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*


I, is for Ivey

5 Stars

I'll let you in on a little secret *shhhhh* I love fairy tales, and the darker they are the better I like them. There is something so intriguing to me about the extremity of these stories, they appeal my twisted little brain. Oftentimes in darker, Grimm-style tales the punishment is so unsuitable for the indiscretion. It reminds me of "Hannibal" and his penchant for serving up people who are rude to him for dinner. So EXTREME, so deliciously *snicker* finite.

I mention the
...more
Dem
Dec 26, 2013 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a wonderful fairytale for adults(and whoever fancies it) set against the harsh backdrop of 1920s Alaska. Sometimes a little of what you fancy does you good ! And so I fancied a fairytale and it did me the world of good!!!

This is the story of Jack and Mabel a childless couple who move to Alaska to farm and to etch a living from the harsh and frozen land. A man and woman set in their ways, Jack the stubborn sort who is too proud to ask for help and Mabel who fears f
...more
Aubrey
I'm puzzled as to why this isn't considered Young Adult. Well, more of an eyebrow raise of sardonic 'Really? You're going to go that way?', for I have a pretty good idea of why this was pushed up into the adult realm. I simply don't agree with the argument for such.

Now, I adore new renditions of old tales as a matter of principle, for a host of reasons ranging from the past being a foreign and sometimes hateful country, to a childhood lust for urban fantasy that I never quite outgrew. Any story
...more
Amanda
Jan 14, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
Poignant, melancholy and slow-moving, The Snow Child probably isn't for everyone and I'll admit that it probably would have been a 3 1/2 star if I hadn't read it at such a seasonally appropriate time. With temperatures in the single digits, the wind whipping outside, and my part of the world brought to a halt by the "wintry mix" falling from the sky, this was the perfect book to curl up with and therefore I'm tacking on that extra half star anyway.

Well past middle-age, Jack and Mabel strike out
...more
Wendy Darling
4.5 shining stars Utterly, utterly gorgeous. Review to come.
Desislava
“We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?”

The Snow Child takes place somewhere around the 1920s and tells the story of Jack and Mabel, a couple in their early 50s who moved to Alaskan wilderness in an attempt to start a new life. Mabel is una
...more
M
Mar 02, 2016 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst reading this, a line from the movie 'From Dusk Till Dawn' came into my head... George Clooney's character says something like "I don't give a rat's ass about you or your f****** family. You can all live forever or die this second - I don't care which."

Well, that pretty much sums up how I felt about the characters in this book.

Once again, for me, this was yet another book devoid of conflict and tension - or any kind of plot, actually. And what plot there was, was lifted from a fairy tale.
...more
Arah-Lynda
Jun 25, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: karen
Shelves: lod, i-said

This incredibly beautiful story was inspired by and tenderly envelopes an Old Russian folktale. One evening an elderly, childless couple build a girl out of snow. Come morning it is missing, leaving faint footprints, from where the snow child once stood.

Set deep in the Alaskan wilderness, the environment is like a mirror on our couple, one that Ivey breathes life into, through the many seasons of this tale. I loved the stark, majestic beauty of the always there and always demanding landscape.

Ou
...more
☮Karen
Jan 18, 2016 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
On the cover is an adorable little blond girl out in the snow peaking out from behind  a tree.  This image stuck with me every time she was mentioned in the book.  Fantasies are usually not my thing at all, but I loved this little girl and the sweet, childless couple she graced.  Where did she come from and where did she go each time she disappeared?  The writing was so beautiful and flawless, I could picture every scene.   A lovely story apropos to this frigid January.
helen the bookowl
5 out of 5 stars without doubt!
I'm so happy I read this book during Christmas and while it was snowing outside, because if there's one book that is suited for winter, this is the one! From the very first pages, I could feel the cold of the snow and the bleak mood of the winter which was portrayed in the book, and even though the story started out depressing I loved it!
Mabel and Jack were some of the best main characters I've read about for a long time. Their marriage and their relationship and
...more
Caroline
Nov 21, 2016 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of magical realism, fans of fairy tale re-tellings
***NO SPOILERS***

Eowyn Ivey’s dreamy tale is very difficult to describe in a way that will do it justice; it’s truly as unique, as, well, a snowflake. One good description for it is a single word: atmospheric, but maybe the best place to start is simply to discuss its genre; this is “magical realism,” the integration of magical elements in a realistic setting. The Snow Child is a great choice for readers who dislike fantasy and also those who dislike straight-up realistic fiction or literary fic
...more
Kaora
Feb 16, 2015 Kaora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.

The Snow Child is based on a fairy tale. Jack and Mabel are a childless couple living in Alaska, struggling to survive the harsh winters and keep their farm. During the first snowfall they build a little girl from snow, and awake the next morning to find footprints in the snow and the child gone. Soon they are seei
...more
Isamlq
Sep 19, 2012 Isamlq rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved…

…The back story, why they were in Alaska to begin with was heartbreaking. Know that it isn’t a quick story, rather it’s slow and filled with emotions that could be hard and then soft then funny then good. The story stretches over a pretty long period … and in this period, I saw how each of them grew with each other and grew accustomed to things.

…That it really was the fresh start she was looking for. And against this new backdrop, I saw how they got to know each other, the place and then
...more
Diane
Jan 09, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I became utterly absorbed in this story set in the Alaska wilderness and gobbled the book up in just two sittings. Jack and Mabel decided to start a new life in Alaska after their child was stillborn. Homesteading is a hard life, and their grief made it even more difficult. One night, when it started to snow, they built a snowgirl in the yard, complete with mittens, a scarf, yellow grass for hair and berry-red lips.

The next morning, the snowgirl had been destroyed and the mittens and scarf were
...more
Angela M
Jan 05, 2014 Angela M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is she real or is this just a fairy tale ? It didn't matter - the writing is just so amazing ! I felt the brutal cold , saw the landscape , felt the deep pain of Mabel & Jack and loved Faina . This will stay with me for a long time .
Jane
Dec 28, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eowyn Ivey’s first novel, The Snow Child, is so wonderful that I am very nearly lost for words.

Early in the 1920s Mabel and Jack move to Alaska. They are middle-aged and childless, and they know that, after a still-birth, they are unlikely to ever have a child to raise.

They plan a new life.

That new life is hard. Their homestead is isolated, their land is difficult to work, and as winter comes their food stocks are perilously low.

But Mabel and Jack have hope, and they see beauty in the world arou
...more
Kristalia
Final rating: 4/5 stars

“We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?”


I liked this book. It is nice, lovely, but it has only two flaws. It has reaaaaaaally long intro into the story and the pacing is slow. I didn't mind it though because in th
...more
Blair
Eowyn Ivey's debut The Snow Child is one of those zeitgeist books that seems to have a significant buzz about it right now. Whether this is because of great PR, reader word-of-mouth or simply that it's really that good, people seem to be talking about this book, and the burgeoning hype, along with the promise of an intriguing, magical story, grabbed my interest. When I spotted a special offer (fyi - use the code SNOWCHIL at Amazon UK to get the hardback for 5.99!), I was sold.

Beginning in 1920,
...more
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Eowyn Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and an international bestseller. Her newest novel To the Bright Edge of the World will be released August 2, 2016. Eowyn was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters.

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“We never know what is going to happen, do we? Life is always throwing us this way and that. That’s where the adventure is. Not knowing where you’ll end up or how you’ll fare. It’s all a mystery, and when we say any different, we’re just lying to ourselves. Tell me, when have you felt most alive?” 157 likes
“In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.” 128 likes
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