BOOK CLUB: The Snow Child

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Author: Eowyn Ivey
ISBN: 978-0-7553-8052-7

Wildly captivating and breathtakingly haunting the debut novel of Eowyn Ivey will hold your imagination in thrall with the perfect symmetry drawn between the Russian fairy tale that inspired the story and Ivey’s own Snow Child.

The book is bound in a blue cover, as was the book of Mabel’s childhood, and printed with a snowy white silhouette reminiscent of books that I can imagine being printed early last century – when this book was set.

Set alongside the Wolverine River, Alaska in 1920 when the area was untamed wilderness and the settlers were fighting nature every season to survive. A time when every battle was hard won and every crop was hard fought. The scenery is stark and vivid with much of the story being told throughout the winter months. You can just picture the pristine snow blanketing the forest, and feel the arctic wind blowing through the gaps in the cabin walls.

the snow child

Jack and Mabel are an older couple who move to Alaska to find a little peace and quiet, a fresh start in a new life that is all about the two of them. Somewhere quiet where there are no babies crying and children playing to haunt Mabel and cut to the heart of her grief for the baby she lost, away from the family who whisper and judge her for the lack of children.

Panning out over a decade and a half this is a story that builds slowly, like the success of a new farm, the growth of a friendship, and the bond of a family that you choose.

Arriving in Alaska Mabel wants solitude and silence in a world built for two; no neighbours, no family, no friends – just Jack and Mabel in partnership against the harsh climate of the Alaskan wilderness so when Jack embarks on a friendship with the Benson’s Mabel is a little frosty, but soon blossoms alongside her friendship with Esther.

There is an ever widening distance between the couple that Mabel had hoped to diminish with their move, and in all her imaginings things didn’t quite turn out the way she had thought. The joint venture of them working together panned out a little differently and sees the chasm taking them further apart, both of them trapped in their own head and heart unable to express themselves.

The magical first snow of winter brings with it a lighter mood that sees the 50-something Jack and Mabel making a snowman in their yard, a child sized snowman with a beautiful face etched with love, dressed in hand knitted scarf and mittens.

The morning light brings the discovery of the snow child missing, and child sized footprints leading away from the scene….

Is this a case of Cabin Fever as Esther suggests? Is there a logical explanation? Or is it really the magical transformation of snow child to real child of the snow as captured in the fairy tale of Mabel’s childhood?

This is a question that is never completely answered, never settled without a doubt, and remains shrouded in a little magic, a little mystery right up to the closing lines.

Regardless of the answer there is no denying that the entrance of Faina into the lives of Jack and Mabel is a turning point in so many aspects of their life. The beginning of a new chapter that brings heightened awareness, heightened emotion and heightened clarity.

A novel filled with emotional highs and lows, of going to the farthest reaches of civilisation to really get to know yourself, of opening yourself to the possibilities around you.

Ivey captured my heart and my imagination with the mystery surrounding the Alaskan homestead, the magic inherent in every page. A beautiful story that weaves the threads of the original fairy tale through the novel, comparing the fairy tale to what is unfolding before them. And for those who are intrigued by the fairy tale but never come across it there is a telling of the original story in the back of the book.

40 members of our Beauty Chick Chat panel have been reading The Snow Child, find out what they thought below…

41 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Snow Child

  1. I’ve been reading regularly, since I was able to. It is my favourite thing to do. So I was excited when this opportunity came along. I love the book cover, it reminds me of books from years and years ago, that always had the same textured hard cover. From the first page I was interested. I cannot believe that this book is the Authors first, she has an amazing talent for writing and expressing herself and putting images and words together, her style of writing just drew me in. I related to Mabel’s depression, the feelings and thoughts that Mabel was going through, I’ve felt myself. From the first word the mental images began to form in my mind, so I had a rolling movie going as I read. I feel like I know the Alaskan wilderness even though I’ve never been there. I feel I know Mabel, Jack, Garret, Esther, George and of course Faina. I can see there cabin and the snow covered fields. I found myself astounded, frustrated, laughing to myself, tears welling in my eyes, happy, sad, empathetic, and a huge feeling of hope. The relationship between Mabel and Jack grew to be so strong and their love was special, Mabel changed completely through the stages of the book, finally becoming the strong and proud woman that was always inside her. I love to believe in miracles and this book had a sense of magic about it, although I had a feeling from the day Faina first appeared that she was going to be lost again one day, so I was setting myself up for that early on.
    The Snow Child is about coping with loss, about overcoming great difficulties, learning to love again, the human need for strong friendships and bonds, acceptance, perserverance, believing in miracles, optimism, respect, humour and survival.
    I received the book on Friday and started reading it on Saturday night, it took me only 4 nights. But that was because once I got to bed and began reading, I literally couldn’t put it down. I’d have to keep reading….just one more chapter…and then I’d look at the clock and it’d be 1am or later, then I’d have to put it down.
    I’d recommend The Snow Child highly, it’s a wonderful, uplifting story that does get you thinking about aspects of your own life. I will definately be keeping my eye out for any more of Eowyn Ivey’s books.

  2. I’ve always enjoyed reading and totally absorb myself in books. When in high school we were given a book to read for the month and I was finished within two nights. I couldn’t wait to read The Snow Child whether I received the book or not. I knew that I would read it somehow. Thankfully I received the book (big thank you smiley) on the Friday, started Saturday arvo and finished Wednesday night. I am so impressed with the blue/silver cover of the hardcover book….it is hauntingly magical and beautifully enchanting at the same time.

    The Snow Child is a fairytale entwined with fantasy and I was completely absorbed from the beginning as I felt an instant compassionate bond with Mabel. Definitely a tissue or two needed here.

    The book is set in the 1920’s. Mabel and husband Jack decide to create a new life in the remote wilderness of Alaska. Mable wanted to live an isolated life except for Jacks company. From the first few chapters we learn that Mabel is feeling depressed and unworthy due to the stillborn of their first child. Due to the loss of the child their love was lost because they couldn’t bear to talk about the baby. Somewhere, though deep inside, both still had a great love for each other that was yearning and intense.

    One night they build a snow child out of snow and adorn the child with woollen mittens and a scarf. This brings happiness to both of them and a playful sparkle emerges between them. Next morning the snow child has disappeared but both see glimpses of a young blonde-haired child running wild through the trees and wearing the exact mittens and scarf as the one they built.
    As we see more and more of the child whose name is Faina, it’s not possible to understand if she is real or not as only Mabel and Jack have seen her. This is where you want to read more and more to find the answer.

    Although Mabel wanted to just be alone with Jack they do befriend neigbours George and Esther and their 3 sons. Esther is a bit rough around the edges but as we get to know the family, you can’t help but like them. Their characters bring humour to the pages and Mabel makes a lifelong friend.

    From reading the book, I could visualize the house, the surrounding environment and wildlife. It has been beautifully written because it deals with the journey of what they have lost and gained in their lives. In parts of the book it is slow moving but I never lost interest as my emotions were wanting to learn more plus there are funny, sad and heartbreaking moments which in turn want you to read more. I found it hard to actually put the book down. I was intrigued at how the book would end so I was ready either way with more tissues.
    Eowyn Ivey certainly captures your attention in her first written book and I look forward to reading more books from her.

  3. This book was just beautiful, I loved the way the book was presented just like the book in the story. The tale is etheral in it’s beauty and touched me deeply as am childless myself. I found myself engrossed in this book and I literally could not put it down. Do yourself a favour and read this book….it will not dissapoint. This is the most enchanting book I have read in a long time…I will treasure it always!

  4. From the second I opened the parcel that contained this amazing book, I saw the cover and instantly felt like I’d been sent back in time. The author is incredibly talented and her words suck you in to the extreme that you dont want to put it down. Everything was described with such passion that by the end of of the story I felt like I was there and I personally knew the characters in the story and experienced every emotion possible. Keep a couple of tissues handy.

  5. Although a prolific reader, this is probably not a novel I would have normally picked up. I am used to lots of action and drama, plenty of characters and more familiar settings. The Snow Child had none of these features and yet I was captivated from beginning to end. The physical novel itself is beautifully bound and cleverly reminiscent of several elements of the narrative.

    The characters are like none I have come across before and yet Ivey’s portrayal of each makes them so familiar. Many women have suffered childlessness as Mabel did, many men the difficulty of not knowing what to say or how to respond. The setting is so far removed from what I know, yet again, Ivey manages to describe it so vividly that even as I read during a stifling hot day, I somehow felt the chill and the isolation of winter in the Alaskan outback.

    The Snow Child is indeed a very poignant novel with elements of a fairytale, but still realistic. To the last page, I was captivated by Ivey’s eloquent storytelling and her characters, particularly the enchanting and mysterious, Faina. A definite recommended read!

  6. From the moment this book arrived I fell in love with it and could’nt wait to sit down,put my feet up and relax. It has been many years since I have had the opportunity or motivation to pick up a book and take time out for myself. The Snow Child did not disappoint me and I soon found myself not being able to put it down. I fell in love with the author and the fantastic characters in her novel and could never wait to finish work and get home and pick it up again. The Snow Child is a great read and is written with such passion that I often found myself thinking about it and dreaming of Alaska. This is one author that I will be watching out for and one that Im sure everyone will love. A great book written by a brilliant author. Thank you for this opportunity and giving me the passion to start reading once again.

  7. I was a lucky recipient asked to review this book. i loved the presentation of the book with the hardcover and silver image was the start of something magical. I felt the author was able to capture the reader and draw them into a long forgotten world, you could feel Mable’s pain form the onset, and the loneliness that surrounded her, the other characters especially Esther with her loud ways made the story more believable and endearing.

    When The Author Eowyn writes you almost hear the spoken word, very real and captivates your mind entirely. Just beware it is hard to put down until you have finsihed. Many a late night spent reading this one. Looking forward to her next book, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

  8. I was captured by this book from the moment I opened the parcel and took out the textured hard cover. It’s design just called out to me to open the pages and read, which is exactly what I did. I received the book on the Monday night and finished it by Saturday night. I couldn’t put it down, as I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I was enthralled, both by the story and that this was the author’s first book! Eowyn Ivey has definitely got the gift of the written word! The story was well written, with plenty of detail, so I could literally see the cabin and it surrounds on every page. It was heart-wrenching and funny where it should be and the characters had plenty of “life” in them, so you could picture it all whilst reading. I love these types of novels and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author. Thanks for the opportunity to read such a beautiful book, as this is one I would definitely recommend to my family and friends.

  9. What a great book to have had the honour of reading. I finished the book in less than a week, and had trouble putting it down. Its very well written and I found it easy to read. I got to learn about farming and hunting in the freezing conditions and can only imagine how hard it can be. The relationships that developed between neighbours was good to read about and how they pitched in to help when jack was in need. I just feel sad now that I have finished reading it.
    Thanks for letting me read The Snow Child, I recommend everyone gets a copy

  10. From the first page of this book I was drawn in. It is magical and realistic and had me feeling like I was apart of the lives Mabel and Jack lived. I picked the book up and didn’t stop reading, there was a presence that made me feel welcome and excited for them and at times sad for them and I just didn’t want to put the book down.

    I would most certainly recommend this book, it was so well written and captivating. Amazing!

  11. I really enjoyed this book. It was very magical and engaging. I did find it quite sad at times but I loved the way you felt everything Mabel was feeling. I truly felt her isolation and loneliness and although it made me sad I still loved the book.

    I feel that the author did a great job of making you feel the protagonists thoughts and feelings so strongly. To me that is what makes a book so amazing to read. When you actually put yourself into the book, put yourself in the shoes of the protagonist and really get into, really allow yourself to fall into that world.

    I love the actual book too. When I first opened it I thought wow what have I come across. It reminded me of books I read as a little girl that were old books that my mum had kept from years before or books that I had come across in op shops. I love hard covered books, they just feel right to read. This is why to me the internet and Ipads will never ever replace the book!

    Thank you so much for this wonderful book. I love Beauty and Lace

  12. Wow what an amazing story. Sometimes it takes a while to ‘get into’ a book but this one has you wanting to discover more straight away.

    This is a wonderful story of Mabel and Jack.
    It begins with Mabel ready to give up on the world. Nothing is as she dreamed it would be. The most longed for child died before its time and here they are living in Alaska cold, lonely and barely survivin
    Then unexpectedly life changes, they make friends with another family and finally Mabel has another female to talk to.
    Then suddenly one day a child apears that changes their life forever.
    Mabel thinks about a story from her childhood and decides to write to her sister, something she hadn’t done before.
    The arrival of friends and a little girl all come to change Mabel from the women barely holding it together to a fun, loving Mabel who sees life is on the rise. The relationship she has with Jack grows and together they bring a spark back to their marriage.
    This is such a wonderfully written story that you see and feel the cold of Alaska and when they are in their cabin you feel as if you are standing there watching it all happen around you.
    Eowyn Ivey takes you on a wonderful journey of love, compassion, friendship and more.
    Its a touching, sad, happy story that will touch your heart.
    I loved how while reading the book you discover why it has no dust jacket and its not a paperback.
    Many wonderful little things to discover along the way.
    Loved this book and would recommend it to anyone that loves to read.

  13. I found “The Snow Child” to be a very moving book, and I suspect that over time it’ll also prove to be a memorable one. I’m not sure I’d choose the word enjoyable to describe it, as in places it was quite a harrowing read. The depiction of Mabel and Jack’s grief over their lost son is clear-eyed, powerful, and at times desperately sad. I find it hard to imagine anyone reading this and not being moved emotionally; I had to put the book down to give myself some space a couple of times.

    But despite this strong plot strand, “The Snow Child” is ultimately an optimistic and positive book. It recognises that no matter how devastating grief is – often justly so – there are still joys to be found. I was really drawn to the subtle depiction of Mabel and Jack gradually repairing their fractured marriage; they’d never stopped loving each other, or knowing each other well, but they had for a long time stopped showing this to each other. It was a great pleasure to see them draw together again over the years. Although nominally the story of Mabel and Jack’s relationship with Faina (the snow child of the title), the book was at least as much about the couple’s relationship with each other.

    Most people will read this as magic realism – a very grounded, realistic novel with only touches of fantasy in it. Depending on your own mind set you can read more fantastical elements into it, or less; there’s a great deal to appreciate whatever level you choose to read it on.

    Overall, I’d recommend this to a wide audience. It’s a sensitive and emotional story with a strong grounding in realistic emotion and reactions. The characters will strike a chord with many readers, and engage many more deeply than they might initially expect. Ivey has also vividly depicted the Alaskan frontier, making it a truly believable setting. And finally, her clever layering of the story will reward readers looking for different things from the novel. As others have said, this is also a beautifully presented book which is a physical pleasure to hold and read.

  14. There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a good few hours to curl up and get totally immersed in a good book. I was so excited to get into this one particularly because of its fantasy feel. It didn’t take me long at all to get sucked in and then I just couldn’t put it down! 🙂

    One some levels I could really relate to some of the female characters which helped me to understand and really create the images in my mind.

    I love the hard cover of the book and even though the artwork is simple, it really suits the story completely and I actually think it is done beautifully to match the timeless writing style of the author.

    This truly wonderful, emotional and captivating book now has its own proud place on my “books I’ve read” bookshelf where no doubt it’ll be borrowed and read by family and friends who like to use my collection as a library! 🙂

    Thank you for this lovely opportunity to read and review this book, I will never forget this one. I’m sure I will go back to it again and again like an old friend as happens with so many of my favourite books. 🙂

  15. The look and feel of the book alone tells you that you’re in for a beautiful breath taking story. Such a lovely cover and it immediately made me think of books that sit proudly on your shelf.

    The first chapter grabbed my attention straight away, captivating me with thoughts and feelings from Mabel, while revealing her and Jack’s past throughout the book that really gave you a great insight into the meaning of loss through their eyes. The story moved me to tears, and not many books generate such a feeling from me!!

    I loved that the story was bold and mystical at the same time. Dealing with all facets of life – relationships, love, loss, friendship and grief. At times I could imagine the frosty world, the tapping of a horses shoe, the longing for their lost child and could truly understand what Mabel or Jack may have been feeling, the words connected with me and was beautifully written. I could not put the book down!

    I definitely recommend this book and thanks to Beauty and Lace for giving me the chance to read it.

  16. When I opened the package to find a copy of “The Snow Child” I was struck by how special and inviting the book looked with its beautiful blue hard cover with the white drawings of trees, snow, a fox and a little girl.
    Once I began reading it was instantly one of those books that you just dont want to put down but at the same time as you start to near the end of the book you feel sad as you so dont want this experience to end. I carried The Snow Child with me in my head where ever I went. I found I spent time thinking about her and wondering what might happen next.
    The story tells of a childless couple that have set down new roots in the wilderness of Alaska where initally they dont know anyone which suits Mabel as she feels being alone with her husband Jack is much better then being around people that are judging her for being childless. But life has a way of messing with her plans and they end up befriending a neighbouring family. Friends that become extreemly close and worth their weight in gold.
    One night The snow child arrives into their lives and from that point on life will never be the same. Both Jack and Mabel learn so many life lessons from this little girl. Children have a way of teaching adults lessons we had no idea we would learn. The Snow Child teaches them how important it is to love someone for who they are and to not try and change them and make them become who we want them to be for if we do manage to change them then we will actually lose the person we love.
    I wont spoil the story for you but urge you to pick this book up and im sure that once you start reading you will find that you too are swept up in this truely delightful story.
    For me this story has now become a favorite and its a story I will keep with me for life and im sure this book will be read over and over again in the years to come. For me this is a new Classic.

  17. The first thought that crossed my mind when I took this book out of the package was how beautiful it is. The lovely purpley-blue cover with shimmery white writing & pictures brings to mind the fairy tales that we used to read as children. Once I started reading, I found the book to be a wonderful story, with reality and magic skilfully interwoven.

    Jack and Mabel are an older couple who have moved to the wilds of Alaska to start a new life. Struggling to cope with the grief of a stillborn child, their relationship has become stilted and difficult. They are hoping to start again and rediscover the passionate love they once felt for one another. Sadly though, the stark and harsh reality of the Alaskan landscape has almost the opposite effect and the couple are almost at breaking point.

    This is when, one magical night during the first snow of winter, they find themselves playfully building a child out of snow. We are never sure whether this ‘Snow Child’ has come to life or whether Faina really is an orphaned human child, however her presence in their lives proves to be the catalyst which turns everything around for them. They discover a love for the Alaskan landscape, the wildlife, and particularly for the harsh cold winter because it is during this time that Faina comes to them. Most importantly, in taking this strange and wonderful child into their hearts, they rediscover their strong love for one another and find that together they can overcome adversity.

    The true nature of Faina remains a mystery but I think there was magic in the winter snow that brought her just when Jack & Mabel needed her most. Whether human, or ‘snow sprite’ or a mixture of both, she captured their hearts and taught them to feel again. As to where she came from, I like a theory expressed by Mabel when trying to explain Faina to Esther. She tells Esther; “Don’t you see? She was reborn that night . . . reborn out of snow and suffering and love.”

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read this book and to share my thoughts. It is beautifully written, and really draws you into the hard but rewarding lifestyle in the stark beauty of a 1920’s Alaskan landscape. I’m going to lend it to my mum now and would happily recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of magic 🙂

  18. Expanding a children’s fairytale into an intricate novel has been attempted (and successfully too) by countless authors, but Ivey’s novel stands its own ground in this field due to its unique choice of inspiration: a Russian fairytale. In comparison to the many novels that appropriate the ‘traditional’ fairytales (think the Grimm brothers), Ivey’s “The Snow Child” provides a breath of air as fresh as that of the Alaskan wilderness described in the book with its unconventional characters and imaginative plot.

    From the beginning, the potential for an emotionally captivating tale is apparent. Protagonist, Mabel, is introduced as a middle aged woman who is struggling with “winter’s stranglehold tightening” around her in the harsh conditions of the Alaskan wilderness. Equally, in the opening chapter, we are provided a glimpse into Mabel’s fractured marriage with her husband, Jack. They are described as each “fading away without the other’s notice”, with the bleak atmosphere and dull tension of the opening scene and the interaction between the two characters simply scratching the surface of the issues that will later provide the backbone for the emotional drive of the story. So far, not bad. Nothing too exciting or captivating has occurred, but the style of Ivey’s writing flows well enough that it never feels like a struggle to continue to the next page.

    The setting of the scene and the introduction of several other characters occurs over the next few chapters, but it is when we meet the mysterious Faina – the “Snow Child” who comes to life from a snow girl the couple build – that the direction of the story changes and the routine life of Mabel and Jack is injected with a dose of magic. Her increasingly entwined existence with the two struggling individuals, and her consequent affect on their relationship, is fascinating to follow. Her involvement in the plot certainly picks up the pace of the story and makes for a solid middle section of the book.

    The final third of the novel was probably my favourite – largely due to the fast paced action through the pages, the jump in time frame and the inclusion of some unexpected turn of events. Without giving too much away, this section was the climax that the previous few hundred pages built towards – the meeting of many characters, the unfolding of an inevitable outcome and a fine line between reality and fantasy. It is also impossible to ignore the changes that have occurred in all the characters of the novel, especially Mabel and Jack, and following such character developments within the blue hardback bound pages certainly makes for a great read that taps into the most raw and basic of human emotions.

    As a reader in the younger category of the audience range, however, I did personally find it hard at times to relate empathetically to Mabel and Jack. Perhaps due to the incompatibility of life experiences, or a different outlook on life, or the fact that the setting of the novel in 1920 develops characters with a contrasting mind set and lifestyle – but whatever the reason, I did find myself backing the younger characters, namely Faina and Garrett. So perhaps this novel would suit an older audience over a younger one.

    Overall, the heart of this novel lies with Ivey’s ability to paint a vividly realistic image of the Alaskan landscape with nothing more than words. From the weather conditions to the intricate animal trails in the snow, she encompasses her talents as a writer and her insight as an Alaskan to weave a delicate but definite portrayal of the environment. Even the most Australian of beach lovers would not have to strain their imagination to experience the raw brilliance of Alaska.

    In conclusion, this novel is a solid read that would appeal to readers who enjoy imaginative plots or stories that keep you thinking after you have finished them. I found that I wanted to continue reading onto the next chapter (and increasingly so as the novel progressed), but at the same time, it was not so strongly attached to my hands that I could not put it down if I had something else to do. In comparison to other novels of the imaginative or fairytale field, “The Snow Child” was below Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief” (this one I could not put down), but above Murray Bail’s “Eucalyptus”. Nonetheless, it was a lovely read and a huge thank you to Beauty and Lace for allowing me to review it!

  19. From the minute I opened the package I was intrigued. Not often these days do you get books bound in this way. I first thought, is this just the pre-published “look”?

    I continued to question as I read. Am I going to like this book? Is the the sad, heart-breaking theme going to continue until the end? And so on I read and IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!!

    It captured so many emotions that are so close to so many women today yet it was set almost a century ago….have we really changed that much! The last few chapters roller-coastered between pure joy on one page and then devastation on the next, it truly was had to put down.

    I feel in love with the Alaskan wilderness and formed extremely vivid pictures in my head. In fact, it was almost like watching a movie the narrative was so good! I even cast some of the characters (Kathy Bates as Ester, Gwyneth Paltrow as a mature Fianna!!!)

    I loved the book in the end and agree with several other reviews that I find it incredible that it is Eowyn Ivey’s debut. I would definately read future novels.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this book

  20. I thought this book was amazing! It really took me on a beautiful journey to Alaska. I found myself totally enthralled in the book and found it hard to put down. The story was beautifully told and captured every little detail that you could think of to describe perfectly the surroundings.

    I felt for the characters and their struggles and could relate to Jack and Mabel and their struggle to have their own children, it really struck a chord with me.

    Thank you so much for allowing me to read this debut novel by Eowyn Ivey, I will certainly keep an eye wide open for any of her work in the future! I feel blessed to have read it and that it truly touched my heart.

  21. This book was beautiful and it really pulled at my heartstrings. Just looking at the front cover and spine with the stunning snowflakes and simple drawing told me that I was going to be in for something special. Once I started reading I found The Snow Child really difficult to put down, so that I could get on with the rest of my life!

    The book was written in a way that I had no difficulties at all putting myself in Mabel’s shoes. I could feel every emotion that she was feeling and so I was taken on a ride of high’s and low’s. I felt the Loneliness , the loss, the happiness and the wonder. I laughed and cried along with Mabel and Jack. The character of Esther was gorgeous. She helped Mabel to get back on her own feet and look at the world in a different way. And Faina, well right from the beginning you could tell she was special. By the end of the book I felt as if I’d woken from a really good dream and I wondered whether Faina was really real, or just a figment of their imagination from a beautiful dream.

  22. The Snow Child is a book that will happily have pride of place on my book case with my other ‘must read’ novels that have been read, reread dozens of times.
    Despite the old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, it’s hard not to with The Snow Child. This beautifully presented hard cover novel does not disappoint inside or out.
    Eowyn Ivey has embraced the themes of love, loss, longing, hope, despair and friendship to create a magical materpiece which vividly transforms the reader to 1920s Alaska. Quite simply I could not put this book down. It presented beautifully the complexities of relationships in everyday life and I was left wanting more.
    I would class The Snow Child as a classic. A simple tale which is in no ways simply told, and I will be recommending this book wholeheartedly to those I love and those whom love a good read. I myself will be keenly awaiting Ivey’s next novel!
    Thank you for the oppoprtunity to preview this exquisite novel.

  23. I was enthralled by the second page. I love to read, but it isn’t often that I am absorbed into a book so quickly! I was pulled into the world of Jack and Mabel and their Alaskan adventure on their homestead and really never wanted to escape although the twists and turns made me wonder if I could go on, just as Jack and Mabel wondered the same thing.

    Everything was described so clearly it was like watching a movie, and sometimes the path turned in a direction that you just did not expect – rarely did it ever become predictable!

    This was a beautiful novel, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to read and review it. I will no doubt be reading it again and again and am looking forward to sharing it with my friends (if I can part with it!!)

  24. Thanks to Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to review The Snow Child. As others have mentioned, the actual book is a delight: the silver embossing on the navy cover is quite charming and gives a little hint as to what lies between the covers. I found it was very tactile and somehow, quite reassuring to hold.

    Each character in the book is wonderfully developed and by the end I found myself well and truly enamoured by all of them; but I really had a soft spot for Mabel. I felt as if I lived through every winter with her; I experienced her heart ache and revelled in her joy.

    The language used by Ivey is at once simple but also very evocative. At the beginning of the book Jack & Mabel find Alaska quite a cruel and foreboding place; with horrendous weather, wild animals and harsh terrain; and their mood and the interactions between them is similarly effected. As time progresses however, I think they see their environment and the world they have created to be a thing of wonder and beauty. This is of course, highly influenced by the appearance of “The Snow Child” Faina into their world.

    Faina is a mystery, an enigma. Are we dealing with reality or fantasy here? Is she some magical being or drawn of flesh and blood, just as Jack and Mabel? This is one of the elements in the book that makes it so readable; we must find out – at times I found myself reading with real intensity and not really aware of what was happening around me. I simply had to get to the end and was incredibly interested to see how the book would end.

    Overall this was an enjoyable book and I will happily recommend it to my family and friends. I have already given it to my sixteen year old daughter to read; I’m sure she will enjoy it as much as I have.

    Thanks and I look forward to hopefully having another opportunity to review a book for Beauty & Lace.

  25. Thank you, Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be one of the first to read Eowyn Ivey’s Snow Child. Along with others from this site, I found it hard to put down. I was never truely sure about the Snow Child – real or imaginary and even had me trying to work out until the end of the book the truth of the matter. It was certainly not predictable but I loved it.

    Not having alot of contact with snow and wintery months here in sunny Queensland, Ivey took me on a journey back in time, to snow and wood cabins, hard work, nature, supporting your friends and family and having a go. I loved reading about the connections made by Jack and Mabel, and how these connections made their lives better / happier.
    A great read & already being loaned out to friends! Thanks again


    I loved this book so much that once i had finished it and posted my review here i then emailed the author.
    This morning Ive just checked my emails to find that she has emailed me back. A lovely email thanking me for all my kind words and saying how delighted she is that i loved her book so much.
    She thought it was lovely that i took the time to email her but i thought it was lovely that she took the time to email me in return 🙂

  27. When I recieved this book I had been on the hunt for a good book to read, one that would really draw me into the story and captivate me — well this book certainly did it. From the moment I set eyes on the book it looked sophisticated but simple with a hard blue cover and a pretty like design yet a simple title. I began reading the book that night and loved the style and story so much that each night I read I found it near impossible to put down. I’d plan to read for 20-30mins but would end up reading for 1.5-2 hours, not stopping till after midnight as I would just read ‘one little bit more’ time and time again.

    The story is quite imaginative and gets you thinking, even now after i’ve finished the ending there is still magic about the story and my mind is still thinking about what really happened as it’s never really clear – It leaves you thinking. I finished the book yesterday and I keep thinking about parts of the story and wondering. This happened to me throughout the week I was reading it too. I think the ending was much different to I expected but it was great none the less.

    The storyline is really easy to follow and I found it a really captivating read. I’m not going to say anything about the actual story as I don’t want to ruin any of it for anyone, but I will say the characters are ones you can really understand and get to know, and quite easily relatable. I came to love the characters especially the beautiful sounding girl Faina. The story is so realistic, yet so not realistic at the same time; part of the magic I guess. The story takes unexpected turns and just when you think you know what might happen, it doesn’t! I would highly reccomend reading this, I think it is a story that most people would enjoy and it really is a book that takes you away from your reality and into the world of the characters. I’m really glad I had a chance to read this magical book, I will be passing it to my mum to read next 🙂

  28. What a fantastic novel…
    Firstly, the cover and the way the book was presented was just so beautiful, the dark blue cover with silver/white prints on it automatically makes you want to read it right away.
    Once you start reading it you are pulled into a whole other world and it becomes hard to put the book down.
    The writing was so lovely and I fell in love with the characters and scenery. This is a great escape from your busy life and its great to hear the story unfold.

    Thanks for a fabulous read and I am giving this to my housemates for them to read aswell 🙂

  29. Whilst I enjoyed reading this novel, I didn’t really have the same feelings about it as the other reviewers.
    It was hard for me to get into at first, at the end of the first chapter I was overwhelmed with emotion and wasn’t sure I could continue reading it!
    But I did persevere and really am pleased that I did, the story got more intense but flowed easier and the imagery got stronger as Mabel’s struggle with her self, husband and surroundings became part of the strength that helped her endure all the emotions, people and trials in this wilderness of Alaska circa 1920’s.
    The characters are deeply believable and lovable and the time span of the story is weaved in such a way to be mysterious but not altogether baffling.
    The emotional roller coaster ride of this novel is what I’m left with upon finishing it and it’s not a bad thing! The author has done what a lot of authors rarely do for me, it takes a lot of imagery for me to be “in” the story and with the characters.
    Eowyn Ivey has done a fantastic job and I would recommend this novel to anyone wanting a good, heartfelt story with an historical element.
    But with a warning – you will feel emotions you may not want to be feeling!!!
    Thank you Beauty and Lace for this opportunity.

  30. Thanks to Beauty & Lace for giving me the opportunity to review The Snow Child.
    This is a very emotional and captivating novel, and from the very first page I was intrigued at how the book would end, so I found very hard to put down. Just one more chapter…
    The story has been very well written with lots of detail, so you almost feel as if you intimately know the characters and can picture how the live. It deals with couple’s losses and gains, and ups and downs in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920s. The book is very touching, and does get you thinking about aspects in your own life. Many women have suffered childlessness as Mabel did, and that part touch me deeply and made me a little sad so far unable to have children myself… and did make me put the book away for a few days…but then my curiosity got the better of me, and then there was no stopping me, I had to know what happened next.
    There are parts of the book that are a little slow, but still, I just wanted to keep reading to learn more about their characters and how it would all end. Part of the book is like a magical fairytale, yet it is mixed with the story of the everyday life of Mabel and Jack, in such a clever way that it constantly has you wondering.
    Overall, the Show Child was a very enjoyable book, and it is hard to believe that it really is Eowyn Ivey’s first book. I will definitely recommend it to my friends and family, or anyone who enjoys a good read. I have already passed it onto a girlfriend, and I have no doubt that she will enjoy reading it too. And Im already looking forward to her next book!

    Thanks again Beauty & Lace.

  31. I wanted to write a review on this book not a summary as that gives too much away.Its a story about a couple who are unable to come to terms with the loss of their stillborn child 10yrs on and they are still struggling, so decide to move to the wilds of alaska.which in the 1920’s would have been harsh in the extreme,so isolated and both lonely they retreat into themselves and drift further apart in one part thinking about suicide,Until they have a few mad moments when it starts to snow and throw snowballs and build a little snowgirl and dress her, the next day she is gone but there are small footprints is she real is she fantasy.I won’t spoil the story but it is a beautifully wtitten tale of loss and longing that will touch the hearts of many it describes the landscape so well you are there with them.And tells you of the love they develop for this wild and beautiful place they have chose as their home.I loved it you will have to read the book and make up your own mind fact or fantasy, some lovely character’s evolve in this book with whom you would love to sit down to a meal and listen to their tales so light the fire pour a glass of wine and whisk yourself of to alaska.

  32. I love books and have been reading everything I can get my hands on since I was a little girl. When I received this book I loved that it had a hard cover and could not wait to see what it’s pages held for me. Sadly I was really indifferent to this book. Not loving it, nor hating it. In all honesty I could take or leave it. A true to life tale with a touch of fantasy, set in the cold of Alaska. As fanciful and lovely as it was, it didn’t reach out and grab me or absorb me as other books do. A light read for those not wanting something to intense or heavy.

  33. I’ve never reviewed a book before, where to begin! A quaint tale that absorbed me, held my attention and took me away to a new place, a world I am completely foreign to. As enchanting as it was, in essence it was a short story with lots of padding, making it larger and longer than it needed to be. All in all an enjoyable read.

  34. For me there wasn’t enough content in this book to justify filling all of it’s pages, the tale being fluffed with endless descriptions of Alaska and it’s wintery setting. Had all the descriptions been condensed, the book would have been relatively thin and a short read. Although a lovely and enchanting tale, it took it’s time in being told, with expanse and dull paragraphs dedicated to description. For me it peaked towards the end, where I became engrossed, glued to the pages, only for it to fade off with a disappointing ending. Not an outcome I had hoped for.

  35. I really enjoyed reading The Snow Child, it is an enchanting read and the story came to life, in my mind I could see the snow capped mountains and the frozen river, feel the coldness of the air and feel the snow. I learnt a lot about how hard the Alaskan way of life was and was touched by the way neighbours and friends were only to willing to help when things got tough.

    In all it was a great read with a touching story.

  36. Wow! One of the best books I have ever read, my other half said he was going to read it next. I will be recommending this to family and friends too. I love the look of the hardback blue and white cover, it is really fitting with the theme in terms of the Alaskan wilderness and snow. The author should be so proud of herself, she writes beautifully. I loved the storyline, I couldn’t book the book down, All of the characters and the relationships were really intriguing along with the various issues they faced, I can’t wait to read more of this author’s novels.

  37. The very minute I started reading this book, it captured my attention. Without reading any of the author’s details, I could tell she had in depth knowledge and experience of Alaska and it’s weather and temperaments. Her description of the mountains,rivers and wildlife all added to the wonderful story she created in The Snow Child. I think the story was well told and kept me in intrigue the whole way through. Each chapter added another layer of mystery as to what would become of the child and of course the old couple.
    I didn’t want the story to end and I think it finished on a great note, knowing what become of the old couple and Faina’s son and husband. A great read which I will thoroughly recommend.

  38. A Great Read

    A total departure from the normal ‘chick-lit’ that I adore… But what a welcome change. A thought provoking novel from a very talented author. I loved the relationships and the characters.

    Stunning imagery made me feel like I was part of the story.

    I will be looking for more books by this author in the future.

  39. I completed my review back in February but I just wanted to add that after I finished the book, my Mum asked to borrow it. I thought I was quick with 4 days to read the entire book!!!! But Mum had it done and dusted in 3 nights. She fell in love with the book also and we are both on the lookout for (hopefully) more stories written by Eowyn, she is AMAZING. I find that a month on, I still have The Snow Child in the back of my mind, it’s one of those stories that lives on in you.

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