Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

As part of my reading challenge, one of my categories was to read something I've been meaning to read for a while and The Snow Child was near the top of my list. And it was every bit as good as I heard it to be. Of course, it was a perfect winter novel if you're looking for something seasonal. 

The story is based on a Russian folktale of a old man and old woman who weren't able to have children. One night they build a girl out of snow and the next morning, the girl comes to life. This story is set in 1920's rural Alaska and it's about their years with Faina, the snow child, among other things. 

This touched on a lot of things for me in many ways. I don't know to the extent Mabel and Jack were feeling with childless but I could get a sense. I felt like their personalities/characters would be similar to mine and my husband's if we were in their situation 20 years from now. Their relationship wasn't surface level. It was deep and meaningful and it felt real. They each struggled with each other, held grudges, had quarrels but then there was a great sense of love and appreciation for one another that really shined through. Like simple things as rubbing each other's feet in the evening after a long day's work. Just this doting devotion to one another that I loved. 

Faina, the snow child, was not a character I connected with but I wonder if that was the author's point. She would drift in and out of the pages so quickly that I almost didn't think she was real. I do have some ideas about her but hesitate to give the plot away. 

Another character I loved was Esther, Mabel's newfound friend and neighbor. She is a rough and tumble type of gal and I loved her grit and quick wit. Her and Mabel were so different but I loved their relationship-in some ways it reminded me of the sisters' relationship from These is My Words. The ending left you wanting more (again, not sure if that was the author's intent) but it slightly fell flat for me. It would be great to discuss it with others. 

Overall, the writing was great, the setting and the story was a bit magical and atmospheric. It was written in such a way that I felt like I was there smelling and tasting and experiencing what they were experiencing. When I think of a good book experience, this book hits it on the head for me. And to top it off, it made me enjoy these winter months just a teeny bit more. I'm curious to hear your thoughts if you've read it!


  1. this looks like a cute book - and i like anything Alaska, so i should read it. The relationship you described between Mabel and Esther reminded me of Ms. Rachel Lynn and Marilyn.haha

  2. Julia, every book review you write, I want to read. The relationship between Mabel and Jack sound like such a sweet, strong relationship, makes me want to read it. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to put it on my want to read list.