The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, this year’s Deschutes County Library Novel Idea selection and winner of the PNBA Award, is one of the most assured debut novels I have read. The writing is haunting and beautiful; it updates a Russian fairytale to 1920’s Alaska. Mabel and Jack have tried to come to terms with being childless. They left their boisterous family behind on the east coast for the quiet loneliness of remote Alaska. Creating a farm out of this unforgiving land is a tough job for the young; it is hard, weary going for middle aged Mabel and Jack. Grasping for a moment of joy out of the first snowfall of the year, they build a snow girl in the yard. The next morning the snow is gone, but a blond girl, like a snow sprite, is glimpsed near the trees. They come to love the young girl as their own child, but you know fairy tales are not without danger.
— Deon Stonehouse
February 2012 Indie Next List
“This love story, set in Alaska, is really a love story about Alaska. Ivey describes the achingly beautiful landscape without making it seem an easy place to live. Based on an old fairy tale, this is the story of a childless couple who make a snow child one evening only to find a real little girl the next day. As the girl grows through the years, we know that this enchanting story will have the twists that we have come to expect with tales that teach us lessons about life. Friendships, marriage, parenthood, and survival -- all set in an unforgiving but entrancing landscape. I loved it!”
— Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he struggling to maintain the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young 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 and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel come to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they begin to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent territory things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform them all.
About the Author
Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She worked for nearly ten years as a reporter at the "Frontiersman" newspaper, where she won several awards. She is now a bookseller at an independent bookstore in Alaska.