This is the most beautiful book I have read in ages. An ageing couple in 1920s America, Jack and Mabel, head to Alaska to set up a homestead on the harsh and difficult terrain. They are no spring chickens, and the harsh conditions of winter make it almost impossible for them. There is a great sadness in their marriage; they have never had children. Mabel gave birth to a child many years ago, but it passed away soon after. The two try to find comfort in each other, but somehow it's not quite enough. When, one night they build a snow girl, laughing and joking in a flurry of activity which hearks back to their youth and when they first fell in love, it seems that the snow girl comes to life, becoming the little girl they always wanted, but never had. The tale of Jack and Mabel and Faina the Snow Child, and the way she enters and affects their lives, is incredibly moving. It's a human story, full of love and yearning and emotion, but it's also laced with an ethereal beauty and mysticism. This is represented by Faina herself, the mysterious and fey child who, it seems, may not exist out of Mabel and Jack's world on the homestead. The descriptions of Alaska, particularly during winter when the land is blanketed by snow and covered by treacherous ice, are truly breathtaking. I came away with my heart caught in my throat, trying not to sob.