Juliet's Reviews > The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
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Apr 09, 12


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 Maiden, which is given in full at the end of the novel.

This is a remarkable piece of writing, a stunning debut novel by a writer who is already accomplished in her craft. It combines the heart and wisdom of a traditional fairy tale with an insightful and compassionate portrayal of real people working through life's challenges. And it's a lyrical tribute to the Alaskan wilderness. Here's a sample:

'All her life she had believed in something more, in the mystery that shape-shifted at the edge of her senses. It was the flutter of moth-wings on glass and the promise of river nymphs in the dappled creek beds. It was the smell of oak trees on the summer evening she fell in love, and the way dawn threw itself across the cow pond and turned the water to light.'

Highly recommended. I purchased the hardback edition from Headline UK - a beautifully designed book whose deep blue cover has an image of a girl and a wolf walking under tall trees, with a lovely snowflake design on the endpapers. A real keeper.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Heidi I'm on a wait list at my library for this one, but it sounds like I should buy it! Garrison Keilor's book shop just opened 5 blocks from my house and this might be a great first purchase. Thanks for the review.


message 2: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Thanks for the review, Juliet. I think I'll pick it up =)


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