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'Snow Reason Not to Enjoy This
The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
Member Name: jo1976
The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey
Date: 16/12/12, updated on 10/06/13 (25 review reads)
Advantages: Moving, compelling read, vividly brings the story to life
Disadvantages: Fantasy fairy tale aspects may not appeal to all readers
I'm not normally a huge fan of fantasy style novels, preferring my books to be slightly more rooted in day to day reality. My Mum, however, passed on her copy of the Snow Child after being totally engrossed in the story for a few weeks and urged me to read it.
Snow Child is, quite simply, a modern day fairy tale for adults. Everything, from the haunting front cover to the story hidden within, is beautiful and a delight to uncover. The author Eowyn Ivey, at the end of this, her debut novel, openly acknowledges that the story borrows heavily from a traditional Russian fairy tale and this is frequently referred to during the story.
This magical and mystical tale surrounds a childless couple, Jack and Mabel, trying to make a new life for themselves in a very harsh and unforgiving Alaskan setting during the 1920's. One day the couple try to lighten the bleak Alaskan Winter by fashioning an image of a little girl out of snow and, from then on, find themselves catching glimpses of a mysterious young girl, flitting in and out of the landscape. From then on, the couple, just like the readers, are desperate to discover just who this little girl is, how she is managing to survive these harsh conditions and whether she really could be the snow child brought to life by a couple's desperation for a child of their own.
Despite knowing very little about the location or the era where this story is set, I found that the author really managed to paint a vivid picture and transported me straight to the heart of the story, so that I could empathise completely with Mabel and her struggles to survive in this environment. The story flowed beautifully, with little details unfolding in a very gentle, but fascinating way. This is not an 'edge of your seat' read, by any means but it is still totally compelling. I found myself reading this over just three nights, as I was so desperate to uncover the true identity of this magical little girl and to discover just how events would turn out.
I found myself really enjoying this story and particularly warmed to Esther and her large brood of boisterous boys, who comes bursting into Mabel's life bringing with her some much needed warmth and excitement. I think it is actually Esther, as much as the mysterious Snow Child, who really brings Mabel and her husband to life, both as characters and individuals within the story.
The only slight issue for potential readers is that the ending is very ambiguous, leaving lots of unanswered questions about both the past and the future. I'm not sure how else I would have wanted the story to end, however, as I think this rather vague and ethereal ending is actually perfectly in keeping with the whimsical and magical nature of the story as a whole.
The paperback is currently available for just £3.86 from Amazon. At that price, this would make a lovely present for somebody special to snuggle up during these cold Winter nights.
Summary: A beautiful enchanting read