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Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy
Published by Headline

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 glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Despite loving the cover of the snowchild and therefore wanting it from the moment I saw it I was somewhat reluctant to start it as I was worried it'd be slow and that I'd get bored and give up part way through. I am delighted to say what once I did start all these such ideas were proved to be unfounded and I found myself completely and utterly engrossing in the story of Jack and Mabel.

The story is an unusual one. The main characters are a childless couple in their 50s and follows their story as they struggle to survive through the harsh winters of Alaska. What I found as I read this book was how completely fascinated I was with their story and seeing how they got on and how they survived every day. The book was so beautifully written that it was effortless to read.

The main story focuses on a snow child the couple make which later comes to life and then visits Jack and Mabel all through the winter months. Through her visits you can see the change in Jack and Mabel's relationship which is really sweet.

I'm purposely not going to go on for long as I will spoil the book but needless to say this is a book I would recommend. It has brilliant characterisation, a fantastically beautiful and moving storyline and is superbly written. Not one to be missed.


I love the cover, but it did sound like it might be a slow read. Glad to know it's worth picking up! Great review!:)
serendipity_viv said…
I adored this book. Just so beautifully written.
I saw this in Waterstone's the other day - I have to have it!
Dwayne Johnston said…
This one sounds kind of fascinating. What a different kind of concept for a book. And I like that it's based on a fairy tale. I'll have to look this one up.

Dwayne Johnston (Seattle DUI Attorneys)