Friday, 18 January 2013

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child was yet another book that I’d noticed everybody was raving about. Lots of reviews were posted around Christmas time but I hadn't got a chance to read it until this month when it finally snowed. Check me out coordinating my reads with the weather! 

Ageing couple Jack and Mabel have moved away from their family to make a new life for themselves in the harsh wilds of Alaska. However Jack is struggling with the manual labour for their farm and Mabel is lost in grief for a baby she sadly lost some years ago. Then, after fresh snow falls marking the start of winter, the couple break their monotony and build a snow girl, complete with a scarf and mittens. The next morning the snow girl has disappeared but the couple start to catch glimpses of a little girl running through the forest in the scarf and mittens and find her small footprints in the snow around their secluded house. 

And so begins the start of a magical relationship, as this mysterious girl enters the couple’s lives and changes them forever. The imagery of the Alaskan scenery sounds absolutely stunning but there are also descriptions of animal hunting and farm labour which highlight the hardships of agricultural living in the 1920s against the dramatic backdrop of wintery wilderness. But Jack and Mabel are a hardy pair and I’m not ashamed to admit I got a bit teary-eyed as they forge strong relationships with new friends, with each other and with their wondrous snow child. 

The Snow Child is a great read any time, but a perfect read for winter. This is a bewitching story based on a Russian fairytale that will stay with you long after you have finished. 

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