Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?
Written with the clarity and vividness of the Russian fairy tale from which it takes its inspiration, The Snow Child is an instant classic.
I dithered a bit when deciding on the star rating for this book. I couldn’t decide between four or five stars.
The writing is absolutely stunning. Beautiful, evocative descriptions of the cruel but awe-inspiring Alaskan wilderness, combine with heartfelt and touching portrayals of two lovely, kind people who are frozen by the tragedy at the heart of their lives – a tragedy that has driven them away from everything they know to the wilds of Alaska, that sees them struggling to survive, but a tragedy that they don’t speak about, despite their obvious love for each other.
The writing is warm and the author’s love for her characters really comes through. And l loved the way that the traditional fairy tale was woven through the narrative so cleverly that even now I’m still not sure what was real and what wasn’t. And the snow child herself is exquisitely written – ethereal yet capable, fragile but tough, her story is beautifully told.
The only let down for me was that it was a bit long-winded in parts. The writing is gorgeous, but it still needs to be tightened in places. And that’s what had me wavering. But in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and was, at times, totally immersed in the world that the author so cleverly created. So it does have to be five stars.