‘When she first fell in love with Jack, she had dreamed she could fly, that on a warm, inky black night she had pushed off the grass with her bare feet to float among the leafy treetops and stars in her nightgown. The sensation had returned. Through the window, the night air appeared dense, each snowflake slowed in its long, tumbling fall through the black. It was the kind of snow that brought children running out their doors, made them turn their faces skyward, and spin in circles with their arms outstretched.’
The Snow Child is loosely based on, but mainly inspired by a Russian fairly tale called Snegurochka, which translates as The Snow Maiden.
Eowyn Ivey uses this to create one of the most breathtakingly beautiful books I have ever read.
I’ll admit it, I judged the book by its cover. Without even knowing really what it was about, I was drawn to that magical cover (which seems as if a type of stencil has been used on it), and bought it immediately.
Set in the 1920s, it tells the story of middle-aged couple, Jack and Mabel, who move to Alaska to escape the painful memories surrounding their stillborn child. Living deep in the middle of nowhere, isolated from most of the village, and struggling to keep the homestead going, life seems desperate. In the middle of the night it starts to snow, calm and delicate snowflakes. Overcome with emotion Jack and Mabel try to recapture their happier days, by creating a girl out of snow together. By morning, the snow girl has disappeared, but a young feral child has been spotted darting in and out of the forest nearby.
Eowyn creates an incredible atmosphere with her detailed enchanting descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness. This novel is very much a fairy tale for adults; it is both spellbinding and heartbreaking all at the same time.
It’s difficult to describe the wonderfully strong and vivid imagery in the novel, I could not fault Eowyn’s powerful writing. The story is slow-moving and yet really draws you in.
I loved The Snow Child more than I can describe – I plan to buy the audiobook version at some point too, because that fantastic descriptive language is something I could listen to over and over again. You must get this book, and get it in hardback.
Original Book Girl