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The Snow Child

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  52,323 ratings  ·  7,884 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 glim ...more
Paperback, 423 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2011)
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Susan Rouchard the poetry of this book hovering between fairy tale and hard realism.
Elizabeth Letourneau I think it may the flow of the speech clearer. Because the way that every time someone speaks with her it's with bated breath and they almost believe…moreI think it may the flow of the speech clearer. Because the way that every time someone speaks with her it's with bated breath and they almost believe they'll blink and she's gone. Also that they wait so anxiously of ruer to come, speaking with her is like finally exhaling when she arrives.
Maybe? what do you think?(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Emily May

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

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 Ala
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Robinson
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
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
“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
Wendy Darling
4.5 shining stars Utterly, utterly gorgeous. Review to come.
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
Jun 25, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.

In the remote Alaskan hinterland, in 1920, a fifty-ish couple struggle to make a new life on an isolated smallholding. Jack performs the back-breaking work of clearing the land while Mabel struggles with her grief over the long-ago loss of their only child. Then, when the first snow falls, they make a snow girl together. From this brief moment of light-heartedness grows a remarkable story of love, loss, belief and magic.

The Snow Child is based on a Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka or The Snow Mai
Final rating: ★★★★/★★★★★

“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
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
Jan 20, 2015 Caroline rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of magical realism, fans of fairy tale re-tellings

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 fict
I'm not sure that I can do justice to this book any more than other readers.

Everything about The Snow Child is perfect. From the charming cover design, to the excellent timing of the release date, to the magical prose that so beautifully meshes reality and fairy tale. It's so difficult to find this trifecta these days, but it's a treat for the reader when it happens.

I have to be honest and say that parts of this book were very difficult for me. I had to put it down fairly often in the first few
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
This enchanting book was one of my favorites from 2012 so I was happy to read it again for a book discussion. The Snow Child is a delightful combination of hard reality with the magic of a Russian folktale. Jack and Mabel are childless, older homesteaders in Alaska in 1920. The life is harder than they had visioned with the long, dark winters and short summers. But they have good, helpful neighbors and a deep love for each other that helps them through their first year in Alaska. When the snow f ...more
Kimberly B.
I just finished The Snow Child and I'm a little bit in awe. It is incredible. It amazes me that this is Ivey's first novel, because her writing is breathtaking; she has a rare talent for writing beautiful, flowy paragraphs without being wordy or overly fluffy. The story is magical, mysterious, and moving. I was so entranced that I didn't want to stop reading. It seems that more and more authors these days write about subjects they've extensively researched; it's rare to find an author writing a ...more
Teresa Lukey
This is the story of Mabel and Jack, a childless couple who move to the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920's in hope of finding a new life for themselves. Jack is in the fields all day and Mabel is left in the home to cook. They are lonely and trying to accept the way their life has turned out.

On the first snowfall, Jack and Mabel decided to build a snowman, which turns out to be a snow girl. In the morning they find the snow girl appears to have been destroyed, but Jack sees a young girl running t
switterbug (Betsey)
Inspired by a Russian fairy tale that is braided into the narrative, Ivey's debut novel is a rustic, atmospheric novel that combines reality with myth, and fabled whimsy with austerity. I treasure cold-weather settings in literature with abundant ice and snow, and this Alaskan frontier farm locale engages with a spartan but stirring ambiance. Set in 1920, the central characters are Mabel and Jack, a childless couple in their late forties whose only shot at parenthood ended in a stillborn child t ...more
3.5 stars

I don't want my three-star rating to give you the wrong impression of this book which is pure, magical loveliness. Emily does an amazing job in her review capturing the nature of that loveliness, more than I could ever do here. What I can say is that this is a character-driven story where not a lot happens, yet the story always feels pregnant with melancholy and a distracted expectation that something is going to happen, any minute now, right around the corner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the
This book is beautiful!

It is a story that is a fairy tale/folk story updated that doesn't really firmly state it is. It hints that the snow child may be of another world, supernatural in nature, but it doesn't say she is. You are left to decide if Faina is really a snow child like in the stories that Mabel reads or if she is not. That she comes to Mabel and Jack, an older couple who are devastated they were not able to have kids, every winter helps add to this mythology.

Yet the book is not so m
Apr 06, 2013 Dolors rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a light reading
Shelves: read-in-2013
Once upon a time there was a childless couple who decided to start a new life in the faraway Alaska, where the wild land was always covered in white and pure snow. On a playful evening, they decided to make a snow child and put their willing hearts in it, shaping it as a girl. And the fairies of the magic mountains decided they were worthy of getting what they most coveted: a daughter of flesh and bone. So when they woke up the following day, they found the snow maiden gone and their luck change ...more
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Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper ...more
More about Eowyn Ivey...
Shadows on the Wolverine Last Days in Hunting Camp Faerie Magazine Issue #27: Summer 2014

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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?” 109 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.” 90 likes
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