The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)
The Snow Child was, to me, a sweet and sad tale of parental love and the dream that love can come when we most need it. Based on a Russian fairy tale, The Snow Child is set in Alaska in the 1920s. Mabel and Jack have built a life in Alaska but that life is teetering on the edge. They are alone in a very harsh environment and are struggling with being childless and exhausted by all of the effort it takes just to survive.
Amid their struggle to make ends meet, enter a pixie of a girl who appears as if my magic, flits through the woods, and appears to be alone in the world. Mabel and Jack quickly develop parental feelings for the girl and, even though they are confused about her origins, they accept the love and completeness they feel when she is around. Through forging new friendships and developing more confidence, Mabel comes out of the darkness that she had been experiencing since living in Alaska. Jack feels hopeful in the changes in Mabel and the possibility of building a successful farm and life in the rugged landscape.
I found Ivey’s story emotional and hopeful. She creates characters (even secondary characters) who offer depth and exhibit the complexities of human personalities that various readers could find relatable. In addition to the gripping story, I enjoyed having the Reading Group Guide at the end of my edition of The Snow Child. The author provided great insight into how she came to write the novel and the meaning it has for her. I believe this novel would be a great choice for readers who enjoy historical fiction with a little mystery and the supernatural thrown into the mix.