Book: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Genre: Adult, Historical/Fairy Tale
Rating: 4 Stars
Basic Plot: A childless couple moves to the wilds of Alaska in the 1920s to homestead. A mysterious child and her fox capture the hearts and imagination of Mabel and Jack. But this girl seems other-worldly. She disappears every year with the melting of the snow… only to return with the winter winds.
1) The snow! (ha ha) 😉
2) This book is based on several versions of a fairy tale where a childless couple builds a little “snow child” only to have the child come alive. This is a beautiful re-imagining of those tales. I love the fairy tale elements of this story, the unexplainable.
3) The story is also firmly set in the real, historical world. While there are some fantastical elements, they are very soft. In fact, like Esther in the book, you can explain it all away. Or at least most of it. Which I also find appealing. (Note: This aspect of the story reminded me a lot of the book Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.)
4) The relationship between Mabel and Esther is wonderful. The bond of two women in a world of men. Esther is no shrinking violet. And in many ways, this is an unlikely friendship. But it works. One of the most wonderful sections of the book is when (slight spoiler) Jack is injured and Esther comes with her son Garrett to help with the farm work. Why? Because she’s determined not to lose her neighbours.
5) The relationship between Jack and Mabel (the husband/wife duo of the story) is also wonderful. They don’t always agree, but their love for one another is beautiful. What a marriage should be.
6) I love the cover of this book. The child and the fox peeking out from behind the trees… Lovely!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) This isn’t a quick read. Now, that’s not necessarily bad, as long as you realize this. It’s not a page-turner. It’s more like a meandering walk through the woods. (Although, by Part 3, the pace does pick up a bit.)
2) I don’t get WHY they never name the dog. Why not?! (Poor dog.)
My rating is 4 Stars (out of 5) – I love this historical fairy tale. It blends elements of a Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type book (set in Alaska) with a Russian folk tale. Beautifully written. (Note: Even though it is a fairy tale, it is meant for adults, rather than children.)