Today I’d like to review a book I’ve read a few months ago: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This book still keeps me thinking.
Summary quoted from eowynivey.com¹:
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for a couple who have never been able to conceive. Jack and Mabel 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 catch sight of an elusive, 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 leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever.
I mainly chose to read this book because of its setting. I love the themes of wilderness and winter. And I love Alaska. What I also liked very much but what didn’t play a major role in the book, was that the book was set in the 1920s. Ms Ivey did a great job constructing the setting for The Snow Child. I really felt the cold and the woods. I could smell the trees, the water and the snow. And after all these months, I still can.
I also fell in love with the characters. I was able to empathize with all of them even though they were so different. This also brings me to the story. Especially Mabel changes with the arrival of Faina. She becomes a happier but sometimes more restless person. As a reader, I was able to feel all these emotions and never doubted them. Ms. Ivey writes a story full of joy and sadness. She manages to balance these two components and even though a feeling of loss has stayed with me since I’ve finished this wonderful novel, its storyline and setting are so beautiful that they will outbalance this feeling.