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Whiter Than Snow

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,902 Ratings  ·  547 Reviews
Whiter Than Snow opens in 1920, on a spring afternoon in Swandyke, a small town near Colorado’s Tenmile Range. Just moments after four o’clock, a large split of snow separates from Jubilee Mountain high above the tiny hamlet and hurtles down the rocky slope, enveloping everything in its path including nine young children who are walking home from school. But only four chil ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 30th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

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Jun 03, 2010 Toni rated it really liked it
Sandra Dallas' books are pure enjoyment for me. Granted, they are not great literature, but I love her story telling. Her characters come alive for me and for a time, place me in the same room with them.
Apr 23, 2010 Jackie rated it it was ok
I would like to give this more than 2 stars, but just can't quite get there. I read this book in a 24 hour time span - it was engrossing and a quick easy read. And I don't quite know what I expected, since I just picked up the book based on the fact that it was a new one from Sandra Dallas - I think I've read pretty much everything she's written. But somehow this didn't meet those expectations, whatever they were.

I'm not big on short story collections, and this sort of felt like that to me. Even
Jun 30, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Sandra Dallas is a solid story-teller whose books often recreate early 20th century Midwestern and Western history. In "Whiter than Snow", the story of an avalanche in a dirt-poor gold-mining town in Colorado that kills or injures 9 schoolchildren, the author traces the life of each parent leading up to the moment when the snow rumbles down the mountain into the path as their child walks home from school that day. Like Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", fate brings together formerly unconnec ...more
Jun 02, 2010 Staci rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
I have yet to read a Dallas book that I wasn't totally absorbed into from the very first sentence. She has a way of putting the reader right there in the moment of tragedy. I felt the coldness of the snow. The desperation of the parents. The joy when a loved one was recovered. The anguish when a small child who would not draw another breath was laid to rest. The author does an amazing job of taking you into the lives of each family affected and traces the choices they made that brought them all ...more
Jul 09, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
This was a really sad book, but I actually enjoyed it. While you read this book and learn all about the children in this town and their lives, you have no idea which children are going to be killed in the avalanche. I didn't think I could even read this, but I got intrigued by this story and actually finished it and was able to give it 4 stars.
Wendy Hines
Jan 16, 2012 Wendy Hines rated it it was amazing
In 1920, in a small mining town, Swandyke, Colorado, a terrible tragedy happened. An avalanche, taking everything in its path, including nine children on their way home from school, hurtles down a slope.

Their are the Patch sisters, Lucy and Dolly, who between them have five children buried under all the snow. Lucy and Dolly have not spoken in many years, not since Dolly betrayed Lucy in the most horrible way. Wanting to get out of the town, Lucy goes to College, with the stipulation that she wi
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 07, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read a Sandra Dallas book and the plot of this one was particularly intriguing.

This is a beautiful story. It's what I call a light read. I picked the book up one evening and when it was time to turn out the light saw I had read three-quarters of the book. The story is simple and quite straight-forward but Dallas has written it in such a manner that the reader becomes emotionally involved in the characters by the time the already mentioned tragedy unfolds
Debbie Maskus
May 06, 2010 Debbie Maskus rated it really liked it
I have read two other of Sandra Dallas's books, and I enjoyed this as much as Tallgrass. I found Prayers For Sale to be a little slow. Whiter Than Snow is set in a mining town, as is Prayers For Sale. An avalanche falls in April 1920, in a small mining town in Colorado and buries nine young school children. The story begins with the avalanche and then quickly turns to describe the life of each parent or caregiver of the nine children. In the various stories are two sisters who have not spoken to ...more
Hillary Woody
Oct 11, 2010 Hillary Woody rated it it was ok

It’s hard to describe just how unfortunately not good this book is. “Unfortunately” because you would expect more from a New York Times best-selling author. And given the genuine praise Sandra Dallas’s other novels received for her ability to write historical fiction and her “terrific” (according to Publisher’s Weekly) characters, you would expect Whiter Than Snow to stand out in the same ways. On the contrary, these are the elements which failed this time around.

The story begins with a devastat
Jul 27, 2010 Ramona rated it it was amazing
Another beautifully written story by Sandra Dallas. Dallas weaves a tale set in the 1920's in Swandyke, Colorado, a small mining town where an avalanche sweeps away nine young children as they walk home from school. Only four survive. The story goes back to share the stories of the lives of the parents of these children, of their differences in family, culture, social status and religion. Dallas puts you in the midst of the hardships, heartbreaks, family trials, the challenges faced in a small m ...more
Virginia Myers
Jul 08, 2013 Virginia Myers rated it liked it
Someone else said this book was “soul satisfying”. I agree, it is just that. It makes me feel good to know that people who have been somehow bruised by life can come together and either ignore that bruise or determine to forget it when tragedy strikes a community.

The book tells the story of how several people who now live in a small Colorado mining community pull together to console each other or to assist in recovery efforts when a group of children are swept away by a dreadful avalanche. The 1
Jan 10, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I really liked Whiter Than Snow! At the beginning of the story, an avalanche hit a small Colorado village in 1920, killing five children. The book then goes through the lives of several characters, setting up all of the back story for each one and for the children involved.

But you don't know which kids live or die until the very end. The book is sad - with the death of the children, that's to be expected - but heartwarming at the same time. 4/5 stars.
Keilani Ludlow
Apr 08, 2011 Keilani Ludlow rated it liked it
This is one of her sadder stories, but will little spots of joy. It is a series of smaller stories, as you learn the background of various characters, wrapped in the larger story. One day an avalanche takes several of the town children as they return home from school. As the anxious parents wait to discover if their children will survive or not, you learn the story of each parent, and most are not very happy. Some of the children are saved and some are not. There are some very touching moments, ...more
Whiter Than Snow is a Sandra Dallas book that has been out for a couple of years. She takes the reader to Colorado into a mining town where an avalanche happens while the children are walking home from school. Each family's past is revealed bringing you to the climax when you wait - with the mothers to hear what they don't want to hear. The emotional richness of this book makes your heart sing and sink with each reveal.

Sandra Dallas writes books that worm their way under your skin and into your
Steph Hundt
Apr 14, 2010 Steph Hundt rated it really liked it
I just finished this book today sitting out in the sun in a patio chair. It's a testament to how engrossing this author's books are that I was not distracted in the least by the neighbor mowing his lawn or the kids riding bikes on our street.
This novel is another set in a Colorado mining town. Each main character is given a chapter to explain the events that brought them to the small town they now live in. The last chapters are devoted to what happens in the town one day while many of the scho
May 10, 2010 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I adore Sandra Dallas books. Prayers for Sale is my all time favorite. This one was deep down good, but it just didn't pull me in so deeply that I couldn't put it down. It truly helped me realize that the people I meet have a story and often I am never aware of that story. Every character in this book had a story of how they came to Swandyke. In the end we tragedy struck all those people that had judged one another for what ever reason came together as a community. Because of that tragedy many c ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sandra Dallas is one of those writers who appeals to both readers who read to escape and readers who read thoughtfully. Whiter Than Snow is the story of the families of a group of children caught in an avalanche. The reader knows from the very beginning that most of the children will die, but one of the hooks of the story is trying to figure out just which children will live. Like the other Sandra Dallas books I've read in the past, there is a nice sense of redemption by the final pages, with th ...more
Jul 17, 2012 Alison rated it it was amazing

I have enjoyed all of the Sandra Dallas books that I have read and this one was no exception. It was a really beautiful and touching story. Dallas is a historian and her book is full of the social and cultural history of mining towns as well as Colorado history. Part of what makes her story so compelling is the work that goes into her research. I live in Colorado and am very familiar with the history of the state, but I imagine a reader without knowledge of Colorado would find some of the refer
Dec 21, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
Intregingly crafted, emotionally fullfilling and pleasing to read. Sandra Dallas gives us a peek into the lives of people living in a small mining town in the early 1900's in Colorado's Rocky Mountains plus transports us into our own lives through the events in the book.

Personally, I was taken by the unwitting similarity between character Grace and a real life novelest Mary Hallock Foote. I even asked Sandra if she based the character on Foote. Sandra graciously replied assuring me that she mode
Oct 25, 2011 Brenda rated it really liked it
Even though this book has a very heartwrenching teary outcome in the little mining town of Swandyke, CO(which I had to look up to find out if it existed-its now a ghost town in Summit County)where nine kids leaving school were caught in an avalanche with only four surviving. But well worth the read as you voyage into her the lives of well developed characters of the early 1900's; you delve into the Civil War fields, New York, Alabama shortly after slavery and the hard life on an Iowa farmstead b ...more
Dec 10, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it
This book begins with an avalanche. The year is 1920 in a dinky mining town in Colorado. The avalanche, which occurs moments after the grade school lets out for the day, scoops up nine of the town’s children in its icy grip. We learn the names of the nine children and then the last line of the first chapter simply states: “Four of the children survived.”

From this point forward, the author dedicates one chapter to each of the parents of the avalanched children. She gives us their history, their b
Stephanie Marshall Ward
Jul 04, 2015 Stephanie Marshall Ward rated it really liked it
Tragedy strikes Swandyke, a small Colorado mining town, snatching up a group of schoolchildren in its wake. This crisis brings together an unlikely group of people. Lucy Patch, a bright woman who once sacrificed her dreams for her impoverished family, meets her long-estranged sister, Dolly Patch. Joe Cobb, the only black man in town, once fled vicious racism in Alabama with his beloved daughter in his arms. Grace Foote, born to wealth, laments a twist of fate that changed her life. Minder Evans, ...more
Jan 11, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Sandra Dallas does it again! This is probably one of my favorites of hers, if not my favorite so far. It is right up there with Prayers For Sale. This book is a touching and heart-wrenching story about a Colorado gold mining town and a tragic event that will change the lives of her characters. The only thing is that the whole book is the build up to the event. She develops the characters so that you get to know them, their lives, why they are there, and who their children are. Because it is thei ...more
Aug 03, 2013 Donna rated it really liked it
Well, this book certainly had something for everyone. It is set in a small mining town out west. The Fourth of July Mine certainly has some interesting employees. Throw in a hooker, a negro, a pair of sisters who fell in love with the same man, a polygamist, a civil war veteran, a school full of kids and an avalanche. By the end of the book, all of the loose ends are tied up and I promise that it does indeed make sense. Once again, Sandra Dallas has created another interesting novel.
Barbara M
Jan 27, 2016 Barbara M rated it really liked it
No one knew what triggered the Swandyke avalanche that began at exactly 4:10 p.m. on April 20, 1920. . . .For an instant, all was quiet, as silent as if the slide had occurred in a primeval forest. Then a high-pitched scream came from somewhere in the mass of snow, a child's scream. The slide thundered down Jubilee Mountain just after the grade school let out and it grabbed up nine of thirty-two school-children in its icy grip. . .all of the them were swept up and carried along in that immense s ...more
Carole Roman
Jun 02, 2014 Carole Roman rated it really liked it
Sandra Dallas has a way of capturing real people. This is the story of a terrible tragedy in Swandyck, Colorado when nine children were buried in an avalanche. The story backtracks to each one of their mothers or fathers, and in one case a grandfather, and the issues that shaped their lives. Whether it was cowardice, disappointment in love, or persecution, each one of the parents allow their particular problem to color their existence and shape their future. When the accident occurs, we watch th ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
I have read others by this author and enjoyed them all. This one was a story of several different people, which were interesting stories, but they only came together during the dramatic ending of the story. I like stories with several characters, reading all about their lives, but then connect with each other during the whole story and not just at the end.
Jun 08, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I curled up with this book on a chilly and rainy day in Colorado. Thank-you for telling me not to read it in winter, Sheri! I cried and cried! It is good to lose yourself in a book for a day every once in a while. This is a good one for that purpose. It is an easy and fast read, and such a moving story of human weaknesses and compassion.
Oct 04, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
Read this for one of my book clubs. I noted in one review that I read before I read the book that it wasn't very good, that there were too may characters. If six major characters are too many what does this person expect a two person conversation? I disagree completely. I enjoyed it very much.
One learns at the end of the first chapter exactly what is going to happen. An avalanche races down a Colorado mountain and covers nine children on their way home from school. We are old only four survive.
Jun 28, 2010 Rita rated it liked it
Sandra Dallas is a great story-teller. Each chapter is about a different person/family involved in an avalanche in a fictitious mining town in Colorado in 1920. At first I didn't like the "short-story" elements in the separate chapters, but she ties it together so well and each character is so believable and compelling, it works well.
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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff
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“Still, who knew how the old mountain took retribution for having its insides clawed out.” 0 likes
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