The Snow Child

The Snow Child

by Eowyn Ivey
4.4 345


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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316175661
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 11/06/2012
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 16,284
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper. This is her first novel.

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The Snow Child 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 345 reviews.
Nathan_Dunbar More than 1 year ago
It's really gratifying to come across a book that evokes the senses to such a degree that its flavor is brought to the palate. Such is the case with Eowyn Ivey's debut novel, The Show Child. Infused with aspects of pine boughs, mountain herbs, woolen mittens and inspired by happenstance, it breathes new life into an old Russian children's tale Ivey stumbled upon in her bookstore. We come to know of aging Jack and Mabel through their childless sorrows, playful intense love and survivalist fortitude all cruxing on a belief in dreams and a touch of magic. Through imagery spun with such crispness as to leave a skiff of snow on your heart and the bite of cold wilderness air in your lungs, it's nearly impossible not to fall deeply into the story of Faina and her enchanted sudden appearance. And I must say, the skill with which Ivey works your emotions, ebbing and flowing like tides with each of Faina's disappearances, belies the fact this is her first book. I found myself really believing Jack, Mabel, Faina and the cast of supportive neighbors--pragmatic George, boisterous Esther and their helpful wide-eyed son Garrett--existed somewhere, somehow. I can only leave you with this: when you bring this book into your world, carve out time to give it your full attention. Then make a space for it on your shelf of favorites, it belongs there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Expertly crafted, beautifully written -- a tale I will long remember, wish the story could go on forever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful story. Could not put it down and was sad when it ended. It was like taking a trip to the wildernes of Alaska.
Icecream18JA More than 1 year ago
This is one book worth marking as a to-read for 2012! Jack and Mabel married a little on the late side and experienced a miscarriage. The sad couple moved to Alaska and tried to bury their unhappiness over their inability to have children. One night, when the two are particularly sad and feeling a little frivolous, they build a snow girl, complete with all of the fixings. The next day, the snow child is gone and footprints are left in her place. The couple do think that this is a little odd, but they must always focus on their own jobs and the event begins to drift from their minds. When the two are going about their business, they begin to see these glimpses of a girl in the woods. It is interesting for the reader to try to decide whether there may be some magic or if the whole event is just a coincidence, the author leaves this up to the readers' imagination. The author manages to convince the reader that the girl is wild, free, and slightly lonely. The young girl, Faina, is certainly a strong main character, but she feels more like a wisp of a character at times-many scenes do not even require her presence, but the reader remembers her nonetheless. The other characters help pull the novel together and move the plot along, they are fun to get to know. The setting was richly described, the author is very good at painting a picture in the readers' mind. The mystery of Faina will remain in the readers' mind long after finishing this book, the mark of a good author is to leave the reader thinking about his/her book long after finishing it. The shift between the real and the magical is barely there, but the reader is always aware of the dividing line, but likely will vacillate between either side. This book is highly recommended to young adult/teen readers.
JadeWant More than 1 year ago
Vividly described and set in the 1920's, this story’s magic transcends imagination while still giving a realistic look at how hard “homesteading” in Alaska was. This book is jammed full of love, loss, suffering, trust, but also joy. Jack and Mabel need a change. They are missing the child they lost and it is too painful to be around all the bad memories. They make a life-changing decision to move and try to make a life in Alaska away from their tragedy. After a heavy, wet snow they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone but a trail of tiny footsteps lead into the woods. For weeks they catch glimpses of something moving in the woods but both of them think they are imagining things. Then a little girl shows up at their door. The beautiful tale begins. The story doesn't drag anywhere and will hold your attention on every page of this heart-warming novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story that I will remember and choose to read again and again. The perfect book for a snowy afternoon in front of the fireplace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I truly think this will be a classic. Going to buy the real touchable book to have on my real book shelf. One of the top 10 on my all time fav. List..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a lovely story full of so many emotions. Is Faina a snow fairy or a real child? The author allows you to decide. She fills her story with lots of suspense too, which makes it hard to put the book down. In fact, I felt a sense of sadness when I finished cause I wasn't for it to end.
RudyGem More than 1 year ago
Loved the story. Authors descriptions of the scenes put me right there in Alaska with the characters. Recommend highly.
Rosebolo More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was very usual but kept my attention the entire time. It is sweet & fairytale-like but at the same time has some wonderful lessons about life & family. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this exceptional tale. Hands down,the best book I've read in a while. Looking forward to future books by Eowyn Ivey, whose name will be renowned after this stunning debut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written, offering the reader a vivid visualization of a rugged Alaska in the 1920's. I could actually feel the cold dampness of the snow and frigid temperatures as the snow child came to life and drifted in and out of Jack and Mabel's lives. Eowyn Ivey described each character with such detail and clarity, that I felt as though I knew them and shared in their struggles with nature, life and the unforgiving landscape of their homestead. George and Esther, along with their boys, were the neighbors who befriended Jack and Mabel and offered such a rich and colorful portrait of what true friendship really is, and is so rare to find. I truly felt as though I got to know the characters in this book and I didn't want it to end. It was such a bittersweet journey of life, love and the undying devotion of people who are intertwined. I hope Eowyn Ivey writes more inspiring books like this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A truly beautiful book. It touched my heart in so many ways.
autumnbluesreviews More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful tale of love, friendship and adventure in the wild Alaskan frontier. Jack and Mabel a childless middle aged couple left it all behind in the east, including family and friends. Mabel wanted more from life than family get together's and gossip, she wanted to connect with her husband. Although we do not get much detail as to how Jack feels about this move Alaska. There they are, a lonely couple who has only become more estranged amongst themselves. Leading Mabel at times with feelings of desperation at even attempting a conversation with Jack. Mabel worries she has made the wrong choice coming to this wild expansive cold climate that has now left her and Jack barely able to make it through their first winter. But then something magical happens. What are first only footprints in the snow later turn out to be a child. But is she real, a life flesh and blood child, or just a spirit -just a dream? This child named Faina turns the couples life around in ways they could never have imagined. If you believe in fairy tales, if you believe in miracles, if you believe in the innocent love of a child, than this story is for you. I was left breathless at the depictions in this story. The beautiful snow covered mountains, the frozen ponds, the wild flowers, the trees. The hunting and gathering, the way of life in this unforgiving wilderness brings not only changes emotionally, but understanding. The author Ivey brings forth orientation, in a way that anyone who does not live in this type of desolate, expansive, unrelenting climate, feels as if they are truly there. Running through the snow, watching the frozen tundra melt and become a muddy muck in the spring, picking berries and setting traps for wild game. The Snow Child is one of those books one cherishes, sets on the bookshelf and reads year after year, by the crackling of a fireplace. A book one does not lend, for the fear it may never be returned.
jmccannAZ More than 1 year ago
I finished reading The Snow Child a few days ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I loved it. It's sad and sweet and magical and lush. This story pulls at your heart in so many ways. The author does an amazing job of developing the characters so that you get to know each of them, and grow to love them. I didn't want the book to end, to say good-bye. Ivey' description of the 1920s Alaska wilderness is also amazing and the novel is worth the read for that alone.
Annamck More than 1 year ago
This was a great book to read from beginning to end. I was sad the story had to end, it was that good! I loved the way she incorporated an old fairy tale into it. She also had great characters you could connect with. This book won't disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of those books that will leave u daydreaming long after the book is read. Book is full of vivid descriptions, its like being there in person! Such a great read! Loved it!
tori_g More than 1 year ago
My main thoughts on this book: - The novel has a sweet, almost fairytale-like plot but is still grounded. - It is very well written. The author took me there emotionally and physically. This is one of very few books that kept me reaching for the kleenex out of sadness at times and joy at others. - My only complaint is that it did feel slow at times. It's a fairly long read, and I had to push myself through the middle.
MyndiL 6 months ago
While I rather liked the idea of the story, and I felt like it could have been a great one, I think it just didn't get there for me. The writing was beautiful and I was interested in the characters and what would happen next, but it felt like it kind of dragged at the beginning and was very rushed at the end. I'm usually a very big fan of fairy tale retellings, so I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. I hadn't ever heard this particular fairy tale before, but I still feel like it's one I could have really enjoyed. The idea of a couple desperately wanting a child and finally able to (sort of) have one is beautiful. The descriptions in the book were in depth. It had almost everything it needed to be a fantastic book, and I'm sure for some it truly was. For me, it was just too slow up until the ending. I really wish we had gotten more information of what happened in the immediate days after what I will call "the tragedy." It was like it happened and then we fast forwarded several years to see how everyone was doing, but we didn't get the sort of closure we needed from the actual event. It was rushed and glossed over. Another warning, this is not a typical HEA book. You will see some happiness but not in the way you would expect.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I entered the hut as quietly as possible, but there's really no way to avoid your mother when she's actually sitting in a rocking chair and staring at the door. Even if you are half-elven. With a sigh, I resigned myself to a scolding. My mother is a tall women with curly auborn hair and a pretty but definitely tired face.<br>"Arya, where were you?" She demanded, arms crossed and eye glaring. "I've told you more times than I can count to stay inside at night."<br>I mimicked her posture. "Seriously, I was only outside for 20 minutes." I replied. Suddenly unable to contain my enthusiasm any longer, I grabbed my mother's hand and pulled her over to a window. "Mother, it's so beautiful tonight! You can just feel how alive the forest is. The leaves whispered their secrets to the wind, the grass was soft under my feet, the blossoms perfumed the air, the breeze swept back my hair..." I traile off as I became aware of my mother's blank stare.<br>"No wonder your hair's tangled." My mother remarked. She sighed and ran her fingers through my hair, just like she used to when I was a child. "All of this... wandering of yours, well, it needs to stop. You're almost of marrying age, and you should be focusing on that."<br>She smiled at me, but when I kept my gaze fixed sullenly on the ground, she frowned and bustled into the kitchen. I stalked over to my bed, changed, and flopped down. My shoulders and back were aching from the days work of digging up potatoes. The bruise on my jaw from Ron, an older village boy and his cronies, hurt like mad. I don't really blame him for it, because I started the actual fight, but that doesn't mean I don't hate him. I despise most of the villagers anyway. All they're concerned about is how their crops are doing or who they will marry. I want... skies, I don't know what I bleeding want. But there has to be more to life than this.<br>"Arya?" A soft voice called from the other side of the room.<br>A flood of warmth swept through me at the sound of my five year old half-brother's voice. "What is it, Harold?" I asked.<br>"You forgot to say good-night!" He announced in an accusing tone.<br>"All right, Harold." I whisper, smiling. "Good-night." As I closed my eyes, his persistent voice continued.<br>"Father will be back soon." He said. "Mother said his trading party should be home anyday now. I can't wait.!"<br>A shiver of dread went down my spine at the mention of my stepfather, Frederick. As far as I could, although I'd only met him inbetween his frequent trading trips, Frederick was a violent man who definitely did not enjoy my company. "That's great, Harold." I replied, trying to keep the lie out of my voice. "Now go to bed." Harold let out a contented sigh and then closed his eyes. Right before I slipped into sleep, I couldn't help but wonder if I was ever that innocent or free. If I was, I honestly can't remember it.<p>thanks for reading! Please leave a response.<br>~Shieldmaiden of Rohan
LisaDunckley More than 1 year ago
This book combines a retelling of the medieval fairy tale “The Snow Child”, with an early twentieth-century Alaskan setting. Mabel and Jack are building a new home on their homestead, the work is hard but fulfilling, and the only thing that prevents their happiness is the previous loss of a child. A little girl appears, hovering between real and supernatural, and they fall in love with her. A modern setting for retelling of a fairy tale is not unique, but the wilderness homesteaders setting certainly is! I would have enjoyed the book just because of the whole “working the land” and building up a home, but I LOVE new versions of fairy tales! Very well-written, characters are very well developed. The book had me spellbound the entire time. Mabel and Jack's love and longing for the child, regardless of reality, are superbly done. Really enjoyed this book!
Storytellermary More than 1 year ago
Eowyn Ivey's THE SNOW CHILD was a wonderful blend of legend and realism . . . beautiful, evocative, satisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every minute
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gorgeous writing, harshly beautiful subject matter, flirts knowingly with magical realism. A lovely, absorbing read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago