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Cannonball Read IV: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

By Mrs. Smith | Books | May 16, 2012 |

By Mrs. Smith | Books | May 16, 2012 |

I originally picked up The Snow Child as a possible read for my daughter, but once I got it home and took a peek at the first chapter I was hooked. Eowyn Ivey writes a sweet, gentle tale about Mabel and Jack, an older couple who have moved to start a new life together in the rough wilds of Alaska in the 1920s. They have no children and both of them yearn for a sense of togetherness that seems to be slipping ever further from their grasp.

Jack struggles daily to work the land and prepare it for planting in the Spring. Mabel works at home, making the most of the little they have but feeling inadequately prepared for the bareness of living without the everyday conveniences she is used to.

Ivey captures the loneliness of the couple in the opening chapters and when the snow finally comes I could sense the dread of a long, dark winter looming over the couple. Jack and Mabel get excited as the first fat flakes begin to fall and they build a snow child as the snow accumulates in the dark. The next morning, the snow child has fallen apart and there are tiny footprints moving away into the forest beyond their land. This reminds Mabel of the Russian fairy tale her father used to read to her and she and Jack both begin to believe that even a make-believe child can fulfill their dreams and return the overwhelming affection they have to share.

Is the snow child a figment of their collective imagination, or does she really exist? Ivey’s story keeps the reader invested as Jack and Mabel nurture Faina, the child who only returns with the snows each year. The main story and the sub-plots are interwoven beautifully and though I could sense the ending might not be all happiness and light, it felt real and right as events unfolded. I enjoyed reading The Snow Child and would recommend it to anyone who likes family stories and fairy tales.

For more of Mrs. Smith’s reviews, check out her blog, Mrs. Smith Reads

This review is part of Cannonball Read IV. Read all about it.

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