Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Snow Child” as Want to Read:
The Snow Child
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Excerpt* *Different edition

The Snow Child

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  84,421 Ratings  ·  11,347 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 gl ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 541 pages
Published April 20th 2012 by Thorndike Press (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Snow Child, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Holly I noticed that, too, Sue. For me, it added to the spirit-like nature of Faina. Especially early on in the story, it made me wonder, "Is a little girl…moreI noticed that, too, Sue. For me, it added to the spirit-like nature of Faina. Especially early on in the story, it made me wonder, "Is a little girl actually speaking or is this all in Mable and Jack's minds?" And I thought this device made the child's voice more akin to the wind or the sound of the ice breaking on the river or the howl of wolves than to a human voice. Lovely story!(less)
Susan Rouchard the poetry of this book hovering between fairy tale and hard realism.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 13, 2012 karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Jan 16, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, fairy-tales

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
Jan 18, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the Goodreads community and my friends -- for the comments of inspiration while I was reading this book.

When "The Snow Child" was first released in 2012,
other that adoring the books cover, I was sure this book wasn't for me.
I'm not sure why or what I thought it was -I just 'passed-it-over'. Well, for what's it's worth...I am more than pleasantly surprised to discover how MUCH I LIKE THIS BOOK.
I don't seem to remember 'anyone' telling me it was a page turner.

The blend of myth and
Apr 20, 2012 Nataliya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads

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 Al
Mar 07, 2017 Norma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sister-reads
A magical & classic fairytale story for adults!  (bringing back memories of our childhood)
Sister Read Review by Norma & Brenda

THE SNOW CHILD by EOWYN IVEY is a wonderful, heartwarming, sad, and beautifully told bewitching tale based on a Russian fairytale titled "Snegurochka", The Snow Maiden a girl who is believed to be half-human and half made of snow.  This enchanting story had us both asking ourselves was there something magical happening here or not?  Oh, but for us, there definitel
Reading Corner
Dec 12, 2015 Reading Corner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
So this story was beautiful with so many cute and heartbreaking moments. One of the best things in the book is the character development and the developing relationships throughout the story. From the start of the book, I nearly started crying because there was just scenes that were so heart wrenching especially at the end which completely broke my heart.

All the characters are perfect in this novel, they all have their faults but just as many strengths and the unexpected romance towards the end
Sep 16, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this sweet story! So much heart and a little magic!
Amalia Gavea
''There once was an old man and woman who loved each other very much and were content with their lot in life except for one great sadness- they had no children of their own.''

I've often read that it is difficult to write a review about books that left you indifferent, distant. I agree, but for me, writing a review about a novel that left me speechless with its beauty is equally hard. Where do words stop? Where should we stop analyzing and dissecting a work of literature and let the power of th
Jan 16, 2016 Tabetha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"'There,' he said. He stepped back. Sculpted in the white snow were perfect, lovely eyes, a nose, and small, white lips. She even thought she could see cheekbones and a little chin...How could she speak her surprise? Such delicate features. formed by his calloused hands, a glimpse at his longing. Surely, he too, had wanted children...they believed that someday their Christmas mornings would reel with running children and squeals of delight. She sewed a small stocking of their firstborn and he s ...more
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
Mar 25, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2017 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars! I truly enjoyed the experience of reading this beautifully written book! The author, Eowyn Ivey, has an unbelievably unique and astounding way with words. She paints such a clear picture that draws the reader right into the snow filled fields of the Alaskan homestead.

I was completely engrossed in Jack and Mabel's love story. The struggles they endured as a couple only made their bond stronger as husband and wife. I had endless sympathy for them as I witnessed their vulnerabilities as s
Jan 16, 2012 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  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.

Nandakishore Varma
There is a special kind of emptiness in a marriage, when both the partners long for a child without success. Their private moments change from solitude to loneliness: intimate chatter degenerates into monosyllables before ultimately descending into dark silence. The carefree laughter of a child, the picture of a smiling cherubic face, or the pitter-patter of small feet on the road all become exquisite torture - reminders of some esoteric happiness forever out of reach.

I know... I have been there
Linda Robinson
Jul 22, 2012 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
“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
Mar 11, 2017 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a sister read with Norma. We did the review together and posted it on her reviews.
If you are interested it can also be found on our blog as well

Dec 31, 2012 knig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela M
Aug 26, 2013 Angela M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is she real or is this just a fairy tale ? It didn't matter - the writing is just so amazing ! I felt the brutal cold , saw the landscape , felt the deep pain of Mabel & Jack and loved Faina . This will stay with me for a long time .
Feb 12, 2012 Dem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

I, is for Ivey

5 Stars

I'll let you in on a little secret *shhhhh* I love fairy tales, and the darker they are the better I like them. There is something so intriguing to me about the extremity of these stories, they appeal my twisted little brain. Oftentimes in darker, Grimm-style tales the punishment is so unsuitable for the indiscretion. It reminds me of "Hannibal" and his penchant for serving up people who are rude to him for dinner. So EXTREME, so deliciously *snicker* finite.

I mention the
Sep 19, 2012 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jan 05, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
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
Jan 25, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Evokes a strong sense of place...the frigid and unforgiving Alaskan landscape. Charming and magical story. I'm not a fan of fantasy novels so I was surprised at just how much I loved this book. All the characters were well developed, likable and their relationships with each other were tender and loving. I especially enjoyed Esther, their salty but lovable "Ma Kettle" like neighbor. She provided lively, laugh out loud moments in an otherwise gentle and restrained fairy tale.
Mar 19, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I can remember handling this book in the bookstore deciding whether I wanted to read it or not. I ended up deciding against getting the book. When I read "To the Bright Edge of the World", last year I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by the beautiful prose, the captivating landscape and the interesting plot. I couldn't wait to read "The Snow Child." While they are completely different books they both are arrestingly beautiful.

It is 1920's deep in Alaska where a couple who ha
Mar 14, 2012 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol by: The Readers Episode 22 - Author Talk
Shelves: fiction, debut
Achingly beautiful.

How is it that someone who struggles with fantasy and more so with sci-fi can embrace fairy-tales so willingly? There may be a fine line between the two but the best way I have seen the differences described is that fairy-tales are handed down stories, folklore, and that fantasy is the product of one person's imagination.

Regardless of where you put The Snow Child in genre, it is magical. It's a hard book to talk about without spoiling the whole for the next reader. The author,
Feb 01, 2012 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  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 fic
Whispering Stories
This is Eowyn Ivey’s début novel based on the Russian fairytale, "Snegurochka", which translates to "Little daughter of the snow".

I will admit that I committed the ultimate sin when purchasing this book – I fell in love with the cover and bought it mainly for that reason.

There are very few characters in the book and the story is mainly centred around Jack, Mabel and Faina. The descriptive of the Alaskan wilderness is as vivid as you could get, and you can imagine being stood in the middle of thi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey 17 102 Jun 25, 2017 12:06PM  
The ending 1 19 Jun 11, 2017 03:31PM  
Play Book Tag: The Snow Child / Eowyn Ivey. 4 stars 13 25 Apr 29, 2017 05:01PM  
Read Women: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 33 83 Apr 10, 2017 01:30AM  
Into the Forest: Snow Child- Spoilers 27 414 Apr 04, 2017 04:37AM  
  • Diving Belles
  • Bitter Greens
  • The Flight of Gemma Hardy
  • Running the Rift
  • The Vanishing Act
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan
  • The Man Who Rained
  • The Cove
  • Gillespie and I
  • Six-Gun Snow White
  • May the Road Rise Up to Meet You
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island
  • The Healing
  • The Rathbones
  • Gossip from the Forest
  • The Orchardist
  • Mr. Fox
  • The Watch
Eowyn Ivey's first novel, The Snow Child, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and an international bestseller. Her newest novel To the Bright Edge of the World will be released August 2, 2016. Eowyn was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters.

Learn more:
Blog: Letters from Alaska
More about Eowyn Ivey...

Share This Book

“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?” 162 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.” 138 likes
More quotes…