The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a sad, enchanting winter tale. It tells the story of Mabel and Jack after they move to Alaska, and learn to find hope after crushing sadness. Mabel, having recently had a miscarriage, feels a lack of energy and light in her life, and doesn’t see value in her life. She dreams of a mystical “Snegurochka” or “Snow maiden” and becomes convinced that the little girl who lives in the woods is, in her words, frost and snowflakes turned to flesh and bone.
Jack soon realizes that the girl, named Faina, is actually an orphaned child who made a life for herself in the cold snow and behind the trees. The fantastical tale has just enough reality and magic swirled together to draw the reader in from the first page, and does not release its grasp until the last sentence. The fantasy is presented along with the realistic, and makes it impossible to distinguish between the two. The wintry setting of the tale is told with such vivid detail that it almost makes the reader shiver, and the delicate story feels like snowflakes on someone’s fingers.
Every twist and turn has the reader wondering whether it was something that really happened, or a figment of someone’s imagination, and the jump between perspectives shows the true effect that hope can have in a desolate life. Ivey’s unique writing style conveys the unpredictability of the characters, and inspires as it saddens.
The Snow Child is an enchanting wintry tale, cold and light and perfect for a snowy day. It captivates the reader and leaves behind the idea that hope can help any situation.