The Snow Child: A Novel (Paperback)
February 2012 Indie Next List
“This love story, set in Alaska, is really a love story about Alaska. Ivey describes the achingly beautiful landscape without making it seem an easy place to live. Based on an old fairy tale, this is the story of a childless couple who make a snow child one evening only to find a real little girl the next day. As the girl grows through the years, we know that this enchanting story will have the twists that we have come to expect with tales that teach us lessons about life. Friendships, marriage, parenthood, and survival -- all set in an unforgiving but entrancing landscape. I loved it!”
— Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
A retelling of a Russian folktale, this is the story of Jack and Mable
struggling to understand if the little girl in the woods, Faina, is real
or part of their imagination …or is she something else entirely?
1920s Alaska creates the stunning backdrop for this tale of a wild girl
who appears the day after the couple builds a snowman in their backyard.
In the morning a trail of footsteps lead away from where the snowman
was, and the couple start seeing a little girl and a red fox in their
Charming, imaginative, and heartfelt. Quite possibly in my top 10 of
The snow child is beautiful. Set in a wild Alaska in the 1920s, this is the story of Jack and Mable and the magic that Alaska offers them. The weight of never having had children weighs heavily on them both, driving them away from the pitying and prying eyes of their friends and family and consequently deeper into despair into the lonely wilderness. In a rare moment of playfulness they decide to build a snow man, or rather a snow girl which helps to bring the distant couple back to one another and helps to set the stage for something a little more mystical. The next day after discovering their destroyed snow girl the couple notice a stranger in their forest, a young girl and her pet fox.
Filled with such a pure and wild magical realism, this book is nothing but sweetness and wonder.
Eowyn Ivey has created something beautiful in this story and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart -- he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone -- but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
"THE SNOW CHILD is enchanting from beginning to end. Ivey breathes life into an old tale and makes it as fresh as the season' s first snow. Simply lovely."—Keith Donohue, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child
"A transporting tale . . . an amazing achievement."—Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife
"THE SNOW CHILD is a vivid story of isolation and hope on the Alaska frontier, a narrative of struggle with the elements and the elemental conflict between one's inner demons and dreams, and the miracle of human connection and community in a spectacular, dangerous world. You will not soon forget this story of learning to accept the gifts that fate and love can bring."—Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
"Eowyn Ivey's exquisite debut transports the reader away to a world almost out of time, into a fairytale destined to both chill and delight. Her portrayal of an untamed Alaska is so detailed you can feel the snowflakes on your own eyelashes, even as her characters' desperate quest for, and ultimate redemption by, love will warm your heart."—Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been
"Magical, yes, but THE SNOW CHILD is also satisfyingly realistic in its depiction of 1920s homestead-era Alaska and the people who settled there, including an older couple bound together by resilient love. Eowyn Ivey's poignant debut novel grabbed me from the very first pages and made me wish we had more genre-defying Alaska novels like this one. Inspired by a fairy tale, it nonetheless contains more depth and truth than so many books set in this land of extremes."—Andromeda Romano-Lax, author of The Spanish Bow
"This book is real magic, shot through from cover to cover with the cold, wild beauty of the Alaskan frontier. Eowyn Ivey writes with all the captivating delicacy of the snowfalls she so beautifully describes."—Ali Shaw, author of The Girl with Glass Feet
"Long winters come alive in Ivey's novel about 1920s-era homesteaders in Alaska."—Tina Jordan, New York Times