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256 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical (but probably not for everyone)
Mabel and Jack cannot have children. They move to Alaska to start a new life, one without the pressures of polite society. However it is not easy, the farm work is hard for her husband and money is tight. They struggle to survive the dark, cold winters and start to move apart. One night, as the snow falls, Mabel is overcome by a childish urge to make a snowman, no, a snow...
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm

versus
97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I prefer more pace and action.
This is a difficult book to review as it's simply not the kind of book which I would usually be enthusiastic about. You might wonder why I picked it as my Audible download of the month, in that case, right? Well, the blurb intrigued me and the cover enchanted me. I had hopes of a haunting narrative, evocative of old, dark fairy tales. What I got was something...
Published 23 months ago by Laura


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256 of 265 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical (but probably not for everyone), 10 Feb 2012
By 
Curiosity Killed The Bookworm (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
Mabel and Jack cannot have children. They move to Alaska to start a new life, one without the pressures of polite society. However it is not easy, the farm work is hard for her husband and money is tight. They struggle to survive the dark, cold winters and start to move apart. One night, as the snow falls, Mabel is overcome by a childish urge to make a snowman, no, a snow child. She gives it mittens and a hat and Jack carves a beautiful face in the ice. The next morning, the snow child is gone, but there is a trail of small footsteps leading into the woods.

The Snow Child is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale, Snegurochka, Little Daughter of the Snow. Moved to the wild and isolated Alaskan frontier in the twenties, it beautifully describes the land, the snow and the hardships of making a living there. It does have a timeless feel to it, although mod-cons such as internet, air travel and daylight lamps have made living there much easier now, you get the sense that not a huge amount has changed.

It still retains the feeling of a fairy tale though, perhaps this will not be to everyone's tastes but I loved it. It is not fast paced, and it did seem to slow a little in the middle, if you tire easily of descriptions of snowy winter wonderlands and characters doing little but farming or hunting wild animals, you may struggle. The writing carried me through and I must admit to being fond of snow - we don't get enough of the proper stuff here. The snow is so central to the book, it brings playfulness and beauty but also danger and cold.

The speech between the snow child and the other characters is lacking in quotation marks which added to the doubt of her existence or realness. When she is not present, the quotation marks return (thankfully, because I lose track without them). This side of the story reminded me of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman and I kept expecting her to melt away to nothing.

After I'd read The Snow Child, I had a look round at other reviews and one reader criticised it for implying that all it takes is a child to make women happy. I'll admit, I'm also annoyed by books that take that view but I don't think this is one of them. It is not set in the modern day for starters and there was still the expectation for women to have a family. Mabel left behind her old life precisely to escape the peer pressure of society and the awkward conversations. Understandably she grieves the loss of potential motherhood, it is something she wanted for herself and near the end it explains the reasons for her wanting a child. They are simple and something that at the time, only a child could really fulfil. But it is not the snow child that cures her depression. At the start she waits at home all day waiting for her husband to return, her only responsibility is to cook. She feels useless and the long, dark nights of an Alaskan winter will cause depression in even the hardiest souls, let along with no distractions. She slowly comes out of her depression when she makes friends, socialises and starts doing tasks that make her useful and takes her mind off her previous life.

As I turned over the final page, I looked out my window. Our first snowfall had arrived. Magic.
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78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking and Mesmerizing, 18 Feb 2012
By 
V. Gregory "VK Freelance" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
My husband gave me this book for Valentines Day.

I picked up the book and didn't put it down for 5 hours. It was 3am when I decided to stop reading it.

A middle-aged couple with no living children, move to Alaska to start a new life after a stillbirth, there they encounter the Snow Child. A child who lies somewhere between reality and fantasy and the story tells the tale of joy and worry she brings to their lives.

It beautifully written, astoundingly emotional and some of the themes at least are close to home. I recently suffered the loss of my only child, and the deep desire to have a family is so difficult when suffering from infertility. I feel the emotions expressed in this book are so honest and so true to what I feel, that I spent half the night in tears. Unless you have been in that situation, losing a baby and having infertility, you can never understand that NEED, that yearning desire to have a family, the only thing missing from life, the ever traumatic memory of your child that died.

I feel the harsh reality of their lives in Alaska, represents the harshness of a life without the one thing they obviously want so much - children, and she brings help and happiness in more than one way, making their lives better in so many ways.

This haunting tale will stay with me a long time.
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121 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding, 29 Nov 2011
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With a nod to Russian folklore, Eowyn Ivey's debut novel is truly a thing of beauty. In the 1920s, middle-aged couple, Mabel and Jack, up sticks and move to Alaska, hoping to flee the heartbreaking memories of their still-born child. How can this vast, bleak landscape possibly fill their empty hearts? Hope comes with the appearance of Faina, a quasi-feral child who brings equal amounts of joy and sadness into their once barren lives as she flutters in and out of their home.

The writing is so evocative and atmospheric, it's hard to believe that this is a debut novel. We see the crisp beauty of the wild Alaskan landscape which can be equally cruel and bountiful. We see real folk trying to carve out a decent living against all the odds, clinging onto the slightest glimmer of hope.

Eowyn Ivey has spun a spellbinding, haunting story, skilfully blending fantasy and reality. Throw another log on the fire (virtual or real!) and be transported to the Alaskan wilderness through this captivating tale.
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97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I prefer more pace and action., 24 May 2012
By 
Laura "@ Scattered Figments" (NEATH, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
This is a difficult book to review as it's simply not the kind of book which I would usually be enthusiastic about. You might wonder why I picked it as my Audible download of the month, in that case, right? Well, the blurb intrigued me and the cover enchanted me. I had hopes of a haunting narrative, evocative of old, dark fairy tales. What I got was something different.

Ivey creates a phenomenally beautiful sense of place and it is evident that she is intimately familiar with the Alaskan wilderness she describes. The detail given to the surroundings was definitely my favourite aspect of the story. However, I felt that the characters weren't nearly as vivid. I have a suspicion that Ivey did this deliberately as the lack of colour given to either Jack or Mabel was indicative of their ailing relationship.

Jack and Mabel move to Alaska to start anew and to escape their old, childless life. But the move isn't the cure they had hoped it would be. Instead their lives have grown dismal and silent. It is only when the little girl, Faina, enters their lives that things begin to look up.

This is one of those books which is going to get four or five stars from a whole bunch of reviewers. It's beautifully written... but in my opinion, it was also slow. Actually, it goes further than that; I think it was dull.

Very little happens for about seventy percent of the novel, and when things do happen they happen slowly. Until the very end. The last few chapters of the book felt rushed and desperate to me, as though Ivey just wanted to be done with it. She added a third point of view, she skipped about six years in a leap, she seemed to forget all about the themes of hope and grief surrounding Jack and Mabel. After building a story around two characters, I had little/no emotional connection to Faina and Garrett. Their story, to me, felt like a grasped straw.

I am definitely in the minority. This book is elsewhere being described as "gorgeous" and "magic" and "heartbreakingly beautiful". While I do agree with these sentiments on some level, I prefer books with a bit more pace and action.

This is a nice book, it's just not my cup of tea. Therefore, I'm going to give The Snow Child three stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Amazing, 16 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Snow Child (Paperback)
You have to read this book, its amazing. The only book I have wanted to turn back to the first page and read again. The only problem is now trying to find another author who can write like this, difficult !
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Snow Child, 3 Mar 2012
By 
Sarah (Feeling Fictional) (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Snow Child (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Before I start my review I want to point out that this isn't the kind of book I usually read so perhaps that would explain why I didn't love it quite as much as so many others have. I did still like the story but it didn't wow me the same way it did most of my friends who have read it. The story is based on a Russian fairy tale but it isn't one that I was familiar with so I won't be making comparisons between them.

Set in the 1920s The Snow Child tells the story of Mabel and Jack who move to Alaska hoping for a fresh start. They married late in life and after suffering a still birth they were never blessed with more children. It isn't easy to settle into life in the wilderness, the harsh weather makes for difficult living conditions and life is more lonely than they were expecting it to be. When the first snow arrives the couple build a snow child but the next morning their creation has disappeared. Strangely there are tiny footprints walking into the woods and Jack is sure he spotted a small child in the forest. As the couple slowly get to know the almost feral child who appears to live on her own in the mountains they also find themselves settling into their new life. They are happier than they have been in years and even begin to make friends with their neighbours.

The story is beautifully written and so descriptive that you feel like you've stepped into Jack and Mabel's world. In fact every time I stopped reading to glance out of the window I was surprised not to see snow! Eowyn Ivey has really captured the harsh beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, it's not an easy place to survive thanks to the fierce weather conditions but there is a pure beauty about it that makes you long for more simple times and want to be at one with nature. This is one of those books where the setting is the main character and it was the one I was most connected to.

My problem was that I never really felt I got to know Mabel and Jack well and I didn't feel invested in their story. Whenever I picked up the book I enjoyed reading it but when I put it down it was easy to be distracted by other things and I never felt compelled to pick it up again. The fact that it took me 8 days to read the book (even though I read 6 other books during the same period and I'm someone who never usually reads more than one book at a time) shows that. Like I said this isn't the kind of book I usually read though so don't let me put you off giving it a try. It was still an enjoyable read and I think anyone who likes this type of story will love it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish there was more, 22 May 2013
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This review is from: The Snow Child (Kindle Edition)
Oh dear what do I do now, what a surprise. A beautifully written and unusual read. For some time now my reading has been difficult, I consider myself quite widely read but I have recently yearned for something new and absorbing. Little did I realise when I downloaded "The Snow Child" that this would be it. I have been completely enthralled by the beautiful descriptions and deep emotional relationships intertwined with an ageless fairytale and truly wonderful prose.
Thank you Eowyn.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started well but..., 7 April 2013
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This review is from: The Snow Child (Kindle Edition)
I thought the quality of the writing was very good and that's why I persevered with it but in the end I found it tedious and didn't finish it
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An acquired Taste!, 27 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Snow Child (Kindle Edition)
Nicely written but very slow going, particularly the first half of the book. Had to persevere with it. The story didn't 'Wow' me so won't be recommending it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was just Ok, 7 Feb 2013
By 
This review is from: The Snow Child (Paperback)
I wasn't that impressed with this book. It was well written I suppose but that's expected of a published book. It was bought me as a present and I thought it was going to be a great read because of the cover *slaps face*. Don't be fooled by covers! Silly me... Anyway, it was ok. I finished it- eventually. I like fantasy and I like reading about others' emotional problems and solutions, but the story didn't seem to go anywhere. The whole plot was told in the first half and then when something did happen near the end, I felt like it was just put in to bring the story to an end. I was also left a little confused. Was the snow child real or not? I know you're probably meant to use your imagination and decide yourself but when there's contrasting evidence and I'm left undecided it is frustrating. Maybe it just wasn't for me. I notice there's lots of 5 star reviews so other people obviously liked it. I suppose you won't know until you read it :)
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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
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