The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – Book Review

Eowyn Ivey is an author to inspire all aspiring authors. She was a journalist in Alaska, but wanted to be a novelist. So, she chucked in her job and got a job in a bookstore. Whilst there, she came across a traditional Russian fairytale which inspired her to write The Snow Child.

The story tells of an elderly couple who have been unable to have children, and so make a child of snow. The next day, the snow child has come to life and is their little girl. But, as with many fairy tales, not all ends well, depending on which version you read.

Set in Alaska in 1920; a very empty and isolated place.  Mabel stays at home, sinking into depression as her husband, Jack, toils on their new farm. They are isolated from the world, and isolated from each other. During the first snowfall of what promises to be a harsh winter, on a whim, they build a snow child and dress it in some of their clothes. In the morning, the snow child is gone, but they see fleeting glimpses of a blonde girl running through the woods. Before long, the child becomes a regular visitor to the couple.

The Snow Child is a beautiful book. Eowyn Ivey depicts the location so beautifully that I feel as thought I have visited these woods and walked through that snow. I felt so deeply for the characters, especially Mabel who initially appears to be exactly the wrong person to be in this type of environment, but through tragic events, becomes the type of woman who can succeed in the wild frontier of Alaska.


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