Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Title:The Snow Child
Author:Eowyn Ivey
Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date:2/1/2012
ISBN:0316175676 (ISBN13: 9780316175678)

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.

(Summary and cover via Goodreads)

Jack and Mabel have moved to the wilds of Alaska. It's supposed to be something they do together; something that brings them closer. Mabel feels the opposite happening. All she can feel is despair. One day though, she sees something amazing. A little girl is flitting through the snow. Soon Mabel and Jack take the child, Faina, in to help take care of her. Jack and Mabel grow to love Faina, and they raise her as their own. What it seems nature has given though can just as quickly be taken away. Not before Mabel and Jack see their own lives drastically change though.

This book was kind of amazing. The way the author draws you in and makes you feel Mabel's loneliness is amazing. I could feel every bit of what Mabel was feeling. The ability to describe the Alaska wilderness was fantastic. You get a great feel for just how stark it was out there. Every emotion felt by the characters is shared by you as a reader. I felt strongest for Mabel. At least Jack got to go out and work. For the most part Mabel was confined near the house, and this lead to some deep depression on her part. When she sees the snow child, you can feel her start to change. As Faina interacts with Jack and Mabel more, you feel a lightness being brought into her character that was not there before.

This book manages to be heartwarming and heartbreaking at once. That's a fairly fine line, but the author does a great job of capturing both. I felt so touched by everything, and the ending was both somewhat happy and hard for me to read.  I think this is a marvelous book, and one that many people will enjoy reading. It is definitely worth putting on your "must read" lists!

Galley provided for review.

1 comment:

Buffi Neal said...

wow! thanks for the great review-
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