BLURB: “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?”.
I was really looking forward to this book; I give myself a mission, every so often, of reading what sounds like the most interesting bestseller in a certain month. I’ve had ‘The Snow Child’ for well over a year now, and was expecting quite a lot from it due to its status as a famed bestseller. This is, perhaps, why I was slightly disappointed by what the book had to offer. I enjoyed the book – the writing is especially beautiful, with vivid descriptions of the snowy landscape and tough farmland that made me feel like I was really in the midst of icy cold 1920’s Alaska. Mabel and Jack’s relationship was also extremely realistically written, with Ivey unafraid to show the flaws of the characters and how these impact their relationships. The Benson family are a lively, likeable and sometimes comical addition to the novel, allowing for a brief respite from the heavy emotions the reader feels after reading about Jack and Mabel’s growing attachment to the snow child herself, Faina, a wildling who acts as their daughter in the winter months but heartbreakingly disappears each summertime. Faina herself remains a mystery even at the end of the novel – which gives the reader an extreme sense of unfulfillment. Throughout the book, I kept expecting something big to happen, some big secret of Faina’s to be revealed – even during her period of romantic, almost domestic life close to the end of the book, Faina never does anything to make the reader gasp in shock or excitement. The character I found most likeable, in fact, was Garrett Benson; although not one of the main characters, he brings a practical, strong dimension to the book that increased my enjoyment of the tale greatly.
Overall, though a much pleasanter retelling of the old Russian fable than some stories I have read *coughangelacartercough*, ‘The Snow Child’ is a somewhat anticlimatic novel. As an easy, relatively enjoyable read, however, I may recommend it again.