Wendy Hines's Reviews > Whiter Than Snow

Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas
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Jan 16, 12


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 will return to Swandyke after she graduates to work. Her income going to her family to help support them. She agrees so that Dolly may have a better life. But just when Lucy finds true happiness, Dolly pulls the rug out from under her.

Joe Cobb is the only black man in Swandyke. Years ago, when his wife Orange was in labor with their second child, things were not going very well and Joe ran to the white doctor for help to save his wife. The doctor made Joe stand at the screen door while he finished his supper, drank his coffee and smoked his after-dinner cigar. Then he followed Joe to his wife, but it was too late. Orange had died in that time. Angry and bereaved, Joe hit the doctor. Knowing it for a hanging offense, Joe grabbed his young daughter Jane and ran. He ended up in the small town of Swandyke and has had a few enjoyable years, until his daughter is one of those buried in the snow.

Minder Evans is an elderly Civil War Veteran who spends his days cleaning and tidying up the cemetery. Minder hasn't had any peace in his life since his cowardice cost the life of his partner in the service. The true light in his life is his grandson Emmett, who he is raising. But when he finds out that Emmett is also buried in the avalanche, Minder believes God is punishing him for his cowardice years ago.

Essie Snowball is a prostitute in the small town of Swandyke. Not wanting to bring shame upon her daughter, she has her stay with a friend, and watches her from afar except dinner on Sundays. She never planned to fall into the life, as she always dreamed of being a dressmaker, but a shady romance turned south, it was the best way for her to make fast cash. Now, with her daughter under the snow, it might have been for naught.

Grace Foote is the Mining Managers wife. Grace grew up with money and went to finishing school. She fell in love, but he wouldn't marry her since her family just lost their wealth. She seduces Jim, and finding herself pregnant, they marry. But Grace has never fit in with the townsfolk, and has always put on airs. Now with her son buried in the avalanche, Grace will need to put her fancy ways behind her.

As the men dig for the children, the townsfolk all come together. Black, white, prostitute, or elderly, when there is a tragedy, all personal beliefs are set aside. As the women huddle together frantic for their children, they set aside old differences and realize that it didn't really matter in the big pictures, did it? And perhaps they will find peace, and forgiveness, and maybe hope.

WHITE THAN SNOW hooked me from the first page. I was entranced in the lives of the characters and devastated with the tragedy of the children. Some lived, some didn't, but you will find yourself praying they all do and your heart breaking when they don't. The lives of the townsfolk intertwine in a rich woven tapestry, and Ms Dallas unravels the pieces gently but firmly. I highly recommend Whiter Than Snow - one of the best books I've read this year!
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