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Light on snow was the first book I read from author Anita Shreve. I love Jodi Picoult's books and I read in an article that Jodi's favourite author was Anita Shreve. I was recommended this book by a friend as well. So I had a good expectation of the author and this book before I started reading it.
Like Jodi Picoult's novels Anita Shreve's books make you think about certain moral issues or decisions that the characters make. I enjoy books that make me think about things differently and that I find interesting. I often find myself thinking about the issues long after I have finished the book.
Light on snow is a story about 12 year old Nicky Dillon and her Father who live in New Hampshire. Nicky is an only child that has lost her mother and sister. She and her father moved to New Hampshire soon after her mother 's death. She seems intelligent for her age and I find it fascinating when Anita writes from Nicky's viewpoint. Nicky's father is a carpenter and gets lost in making his furniture. He is still grieving and seems to have forgotten about his responsibilities as a father. He has cut himself off from the world and sometimes I felt compassion towards him for the grief he must still be feeling, and other times angry because of the way he was treating Nicky. They both go for a walk in the woods and on the path that they choose they find a newborn baby in cold snowy conditions. Nicky often looks back and wonders what would have happened if they had not chosen that path, and they had not rescued the baby. The story follows Nicky and her Father handing this little baby to the authorities and the The book investigates the relationship between daughters and their fathers, and also relationships between mothers and daughters. Nicky is desperate to have another mother model to look up to.
I enjoyed the plot, and there were parts of the storyline that I was not expecting, with twists and turns. I enjoyed her descriptive storytelling as well. The book is well written and I couldn't put it down. It really kept my interest with good descriptions and easy to read format.
Anita Shreve's books are normally quite short in length, but they are long enough to get into the story and do not take an excessively long time to read.
ISBM 978-0-349-11856-7 £7.99
On one of my many book hunting trips to my local charity shop this book caught my eye, mainly due to it's interesting cover of half the face of a young girl, so I checked out the write up on the back and I saw it was definately one to add to my collection and I'm glad I did.
The story of Light on snow is told from the perspective of a 12 year old girl called Nicky, who along with her father moved from Massachusetts to a small farm in New England after the death of her mother and baby sister in a tragic car accident.
Her father left his high powered job in the city to move to New England and make furniture from the trees on the land surrounding their farm, as a way of escaping the memories of the death of his beloved with wife and child. And although he wants to live life away from civilisation, he wants his 12 year old daughter to live a normal life.
The story is centred around an afternoon walk young Nicky and her father take, and on this day they decide to take a different route to normal when they hear what sounds like a cat mewing, but upon closer inspection it is found to be a tiny baby wrapped only in a blanket, who if Nicky and her father hadn't happened open it would probably have died in the freezing cold and snow. They take the baby back to the house, before informing the police of their discovery. A discovery which raises all sorts of question in the mind of young Nicky. What was the baby doing left abandoned in the snow? Where are the parents? How could you leave your child to die?
Then when a teenager visitor to the house admits she is the mother of the baby found in the woods and not just someone looking for a furniture peice for her mother. Nicky hopes to find answers but does she get the answers she is looking for or just more questions?
A gripping novel from author Anita Shreve, the first of her books I have read, and will definately try another one. She managed to bring in some powerful emotions to this interesting story.
It's makes you wonder about how hard things have been for 12 year old Nicky, being taken away from her life after the loss of her mother and baby sister, and brought to a new isolated home, with a father who doesn't seem to be able to mourn.
Although in some ways very mature, you also see she is a still a young girl who is looking for a female figure to help her with some of the feelings she doesn't understand when her and her father find the small baby abandoned in the snow.
Some very emotive and heartwarming storytelling from Anita Shreve definately one to read when you have a day off, as I managed to get through the whole book in one day, as with only 272 pages it's short enough. But I think that adds to the value of the book with the fact that there isn't time for the author to add in unnecessary details that might otherwise take away from the great story.
I came across this book when rooting through a bag of books my aunt had set out for going to the charity shop. She told me to pick out any and this was one that caught my eye! I hadn't heard of Anita Shreve before but the blurb on the back of the book appealed to me. After reading this, however, I would be tempted to look out for others by her.
The story is told in first person, and also in present tense, which is sometimes tricky to pull off but I found it believeable and easy to read. The main character is Nicky, who is now 30 but at the time of the story was 12. I think this is why the present tense works so well; she is recounting each event as it comes to her.
Nicky and her father moved to rural New Hampshire after the death of Nicky's mother and younger sister in a car accident. Her father has given up his high-flying career in Manhattan and wants to live a life as a virtual hermit with as little contact with the outside world as possible. He makes a living selling furniture made from trees grown on their ground, while trying to allow Nicky as normal a life as possible, all the while trying to remain a recluse himself. However Nicky appears unsure by his decision to uproot themselves from their old lives and is desperate for life to be the way it was before. The story opens with them taking a regular walk through the woods after a heavy snowfall close to Christmas time. They hear a noise that they initially suspect to be a cat, however on closer inspection they come across a newborn baby abandoned in the snow.
They manage to rush the baby to hospital but the incident plays on Nicky's mind. Who is the baby? Why was it left there? What happened to its parents? And why can't she and her dad adopt it? When the baby's mother unexpectedly turns up, she opens old emotional wounds that Nicky and her father struggle to deal with, as it brings forth their own grief at losing half of their family.
As much as I hate the term, this is essentially a "coming of age" story. Nicky's desperate notion for the baby's mother and the baby to live with her and her father shows her desperation to re-create the family she has lost, although through the course of the story she comes to understand her father better and she learns that grief is a potent emotion that affects everyone differently. The entire situation surrounding the baby teaches Nicky a lot more harsh facts about life which in turn seems to help her accept her mother and sister's deaths as something she cannot change, and finally accept why her father chose to change their lives as dramatically as he did.
The novel is set over the course of a few days just before Christmas, and it is mentioned that Nicky's mother and sister also died at this time of year. The snow-filled setting is vital to the plot however I think there is a metaphorical element in there, in that life has its "winters" but they don't last forever; spring is always around the corner.
Nicky is an endearing character with the expected selfishness of a twelve-year old and the young adolescent intrigue of adult bodily functions such as periods and childbirth. By the end of the novel there are subtle changes in her character that show she is now on the breach of adulthood. Her relationship with her troubled father comes across as realistic, as does her fascination with the young mother of the abandoned baby.
With the exception of the baby discovery there are not a lot of major events in this book, but they all add up to the change in Nicky's character, which to me was the main plot line rather than the mystery surrounding the baby. The book has excellent, haunting prose with just enough detail and the ending is fitting although it did come as a surprise (the back of the edition I have has a chapter of another novel in it , so due to the thickness of the book I expected the story to go on longer than it did!)
This was a quick and easy to read book that manages to deal with sensitive issues without becoming overly depressing or heavy at any point. It is thought provoking, and details how life can deal us hard blows, but at the same time equips us with the strength to move on, if we choose to use it. I would highly recommend this book.
Anita Shreve is an author that I enjoy, so I chose Light on Snow from some books my daughter was lending me for my holiday reading. Anita Shreve has written several brilliant novels and this was described as her most powerful novel.
The Independent on Sunday wrote "that it touches the very deepest human emotions.....perceptive, gripping and ultimately exhilarating, this is a very fine book indeed."
It is set in a country area in New England, in winter time, just before Christmas and written by Nicky looking back to when she was 12 years old and her father had left his job and their home and moved to a house miles from anyone when he lost his wife and baby daughter in an accident. He wasn't coping well and Nicky had to do many of the household chores, her father started to make furniture using wood from their grounds, although wasn't too keen on meeting people to sell it and was glad to get out for a walk or snowshoeing, when Nicky got home from school each day. A few people make it up the lane to their home but it soon gets snowed in, just to add to the drama.
One snowy afternoon they thought they heard a cat mewing, but discovered it was a baby wrapped in a sleeping bag, her father managed to get back home with the baby and they travelled along the snowy roads to the hospital, where the police became involved. Who is the mother? Who put the baby in the wood? The story unfolds and Nicky soon discovers some facts of life.
It is a novel that may upset people who have lost loved ones in an accident. Or who have had a baby and given it up, the mother of course has to appear on the scene to make the story more dramatic, and Nicky's father doesn't like contact with people since his wife died. It pulls heartstrings, makes you feel sad and you wonder how hard it must have been for Nicky and the young mother whose baby was found abandoned.
It was a reasonably fast moving story and one I read nearly in one go as I flew home from holiday. Only 272 pages and cost is £6.99. Available on Amazon from 1p plus £2.75 postage.
I did enjoy it, it wasn't like any book I had read before, and although it doesn't end with a sickly "happy ever after ending", it does have an interesting ending! If you want to find out more you'll need to read it yourself!
I've just finished reading this book as recommended by a friend, and I've really enjoyed it.
The book tells the story of a 12-year-old girl called Nicole, who moves to New England with her father following the tragic death in a car accident of her mother & baby sister. They have bought a house in the forest away from the nearest town, & her father takes her out snow-shoeing one evening when they make a shocking discovery in the woodland of a new-born baby wrapped in a sleeping bag. The baby is still alive, so they rush her to the nearest hospital & so begins the main plot of the book.
The author writes the novel in the present tense, and very successfully manages to convince the reader that the story is being narrated by the 12-year-old girl, and you really do see the story developing through her eyes, as she struggles to come to terms with how the baby came to be abandoned, especially following the loss of her mother & younger sister, as well as exploring her relationship with her father, which has been somewhat fraught & distant since their loss.
I really enjoyed this book & found it a real page-turner; it's relatively easy reading but with a conscience. It deals with the sad loss that can be faced in life sometimes but at the same time the ability to move forward in life, & Nicole's forgiveness of her father as she understands why he made the difficult decision to move her hundreds of miles from all that she knew & loved in New York before the tragedy of the accident.
Best-selling author Anita Shreve has chosen as her latest protagonist a 12-year-old girl, whose life has not just been touched by tragedy, but blown apart by it. Nicky and her father have moved to a remote house on the outskirts of a remote village somewhere in New Hampshire, following a road accident which has wiped out the rest of their family. Nicky¹s father would like to live like a hermit, but recognises, even through his intense grief, that 12-year-olds need many things the world has to offer.