Sandra Dallas has the ability to sculpt the events of an everyday life into something compelling. Though this book has at its heart a cataclysmic event for a small town in Colorado, the book is primarily made up of the back-stories of some of the people caught up in the terrible events of a spring afternoon in 1920, when nine children, headed home from school, were buried by an avalanche. The town of Swandyke responds, but not before the reader has been taken into the past to learn the history of six of the parents.
Avalanches are strange and mysterious beasts -- it's hard to appreciate the magnitude of their power until to actually see what they can leave in their wake. I've only known of avalanche rescue in current times. To read about the valiant efforts in the time of the book was sobering. The image of one of the fathers digging for his child is one that will haunt me.