I should probably begin this review by stating that I am not a fan of fantasy, and this novel is a hybrid of fantasy and historical fiction. It takes place in Alaska in the 1920s. Jack and Mabel, an aging childless couple, are newly arrived homesteaders. It was Mabel's idea to move to the northwest: she had lost a baby years earlier and was finding it increasingly difficult to be around their extended families. Rather than finding the wilderness lonely, she cherished the solitude and is rather surprised to find herself befriending their nearest neighbors, the Bensons.
The book gives a pretty good portrait of the hard life of homesteaders . . . but then it takes off towards fantasy. One night, following a playful snowball fight, Jack and Mabel make a little girl out of snow. Mabel is touched by the beautiful face that Jack has carved, and she provides mittens and a scarf to finish their snow child. When Jack rises the next morning, the mittens and scarf are gone, and he thinks he sees a little girl with a red fox at the edge of the tree.
At this point, Ivey's novel becomes a riff on a Russian folk tale, one that Mabel remembers hearing as a child, and the reader--like Mabel and Jack--can't quite determine if the girl is a real child or some kind of mystical being. Signs point in both directions.
I started out liking the homesteading story, and the descriptions of the landscape were quite lovely. But after awhile, Mabel got on my nerves. I can't quite explain why, except that she seemed at times to be naïve, bordering on stupid. And several of the other characters--like Esther, the resourceful, hearty, trousers-wearing Mrs. Benson--seemed like stereotypes to me. Since I am not fond of fantasy, I found that element more irritating than charming. Put me in the camp of those who did not care for the ambiguous ending.
Dale A Boyd
I found the book interesting but lacking. At the end of the first part, i thought the book was finished. It would have been better if it were. It seemed to ramble on looking for a purpose. The contradictions were never resolved such as when the snow child could not be indoors in the depths of winter unless the door was cracked. Suddenly she was able to live through the summer and indoors with a warm wood stove the following winter. I was looking for more.
The first half of the story was intriguing but it turns into a sappy romance novel for the entire second half which is not what the description implied. It was also poorly edited and the author could have told the same story in half the time/words.
I saw this book recommended in several places, but I didn’t think a snow-girl that comes to life would keep my attention. I’m glad I gave it a try! Beautiful writing and imagery, and a very good character study. This book did such a respectful job of creating a story from an old Russian fairy tale. I loved the friendship between the two Alaskan couples. Highly recommend.
As the other reviewers have stated this was a beautifully written book. The imagery took me there. The development of the couple (the main characters) was very good and so consistent, I felt like I really got to know them. The "neighbors" characters also were so well done.
The idea of the book is to keep you unsure as the characters in the book are unsure. However, I wanted just a little bit more about the snow child herself for me to care about her. She was vaguely interesting, and there were moments when the author almost had me loving her, but the depth of her development was never quite there. She didn't haunt me and I wanted to be haunted by her.
A book can get you out of your house, your town, even out of the country. I'm an avid reader believing reviews help find the good ones.
A beautifully written story of a close to fifty year old childless couple who move to the Alaska wilderness in the 1920s to homestead. It's a fairytale for adults with a wonderful storyline filled with emotions and lively characters. A magical, heartfelt, poetic MUST read.
I wish I could find more wonderful books like this one.
For a debut novel, I think Eowyn Ivey did a great job in writing “The Snow Child.” My dissatisfaction, however, is that I wished it could have stayed a fairy tale throughout.
I liked all of the characters that were developed in the story. I liked the Alaska setting especially. I just did not like the ending of the story. I see, however, that other readers loved the entire story. In my opinion, it would have been a much better novel if it had stayed a fairy tale!
The narrator, Debra Monk, did an excellent job.
I will not hesitate to read another book by Eowyn Ivey, however, I hope that she will write something other than a fairy tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Loved the feel and easy pace of the narrator. All the characters felt like you could have lived there and known them.
The story is sweet, touching and just enough of the "out of the ordinary" but not too far out.
The writing is beautifully crafted - a refreshing "read."
Worth the credit and I would look for more from this author.
But oh my goodness I am so glad I did. I was hesitant because I thought it would be more of a child's book. I was so wrong. This is a beautiful written and narrated story. It's about a
couple eking out a life in the frozen extremes of Alaska in the 1920's. Their excruciating sadness at the loss of their own premature baby and the magical appearance of another child. One that seems to have sprung from their hopes and dreams. The narrator has a beautiful patient voice that harmonizes with the gentle but intense story. You'll love this book. Im very partial to action packed mysteries and thrillers but was captivated from the very beginning. I can't wait to see what this author writes next. Ill be waiting…..
Tell us about yourself!I am an avid reader but enjoy listening while waking to work, ironing, doing dishes, etc. Listening to novels is an entirely different experience than reading; a well narrated story is a cross between drama and written fiction. Listening to books on Audible has been a wonderful experience.
The story and the setting were interesting and kept me coming back daily however it was too far-fetched in the end to be anything other than fantasy. Fantasy is ok but not my favorite genre.