Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Review for The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey 
Publisher: Headline
Release: 30th August 2012 (Paperback Edition)
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Fairy-tale, Family
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Goodreads Summary
"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."

Following the roaring success of The Snow Child last winter I knew that I had to make it a priority read this Christmas. From the synopsis it sounded like the perfect book to get me into that magical childlike frame of mind, and I’m so glad that I finally read it because this book was, in a word, enchanting.

The start of the book is really quite heart-breaking with one half of our beloved couple Mabel attempting suicide. Mabel and Jack are so utterly alone in their relationship and are still grieving for a baby they lost years ago and with it their one chance of being parents. The first few chapters are really gutting to read in a beautiful yet fragile kind of way, until in a rare act of tenderness and joy they build a snow girl together during the first snow fall of winter.

The book reads as part adult fairy-tale, part historical fiction on life in rural Alaska during the 1920’s. I have to say that I enjoyed the fairy-tale aspect to this story the most but can see how the setting created the perfect backdrop for this story. At times the solitude and snowy landscape of a wintery Alaska made the place read like a magical land itself.

I think that what I loved most about this novel was how you never really know exactly what Faina is or how she came to be. Throughout the book you’re not quite sure if she is the little snow girl Jack and Mabel built come to life, if she belongs to someone else, or if she’s simply a figment of the couples imagination. I loved the mystery and magic surrounding Faina and although some things are cleared up as the story goes on there is still a lot of room for the reader to interpret the story in their own way.

Reading The Snow Child had the same effect on me as the fairy tales I read and loved growing up did and will be sitting proudly next to the classic fairy tales on my bookshelf. In turns heart-breaking, magical and beautiful this book will awaken the inner child in adult’s worldwide.


  1. Ohhhh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's such a beautiful book, and I think there are little moments that are probably etched in my mind forever - Faina and the fox flitting through the trees, Mabel and Jack in the snow, that moment where the boy is hiding, watching Faina and the swan... I keep trying to press Mum to read it this winter, but she's very stubborn when I recommend something! :(

    1. Same :) there are just so many beautiful moments. She must! We shall gang up on her until she does *Makes prank calls to Book End saying "read The Snow Child" then hanging up.* That should do the trick!

  2. I'm not really familiar with this one. I've seen the cover before, but your review has me adding it to my (never ending) list. Thanks!

    1. You're welcome! Glad the review grabbed your interest :-)

  3. I Loved this book so much! Glad you enjoyed it Jess.

  4. Oh I have a copy of this book on my shelves unread that's waiting patiently for me. I've heard such amazing things and have really high hopes for it!

  5. Love this review! Have this book sitting on my shelf and hoping to get round to it soon!

  6. Like I mentioned before I simply adore this review, I was really unsure about this book before even though I loved the cover, but once again your gorgeous review has convinced me to add another book to my tbr pile and you know how much I enjoy my heartbreaking reads! :)

    1. This book is definitely heartbreaking! Glad to hear it's added to your pile ;)

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