The Snow Child

The Snow Child

As the days started getting shorter and evenings begun to get darker, I picked up this book and instantly wanted to read it as the cover showed a wintery, snowy forrest which got me immediately in the mood for a cold, Christmassy December!


This sweet little story is a fairly swift read with a quick pace which tells a heartwarming tale of a couple who have moved to Alaska to try their hand at homesteading in the 1920’s. Jack and Mable are a married, mature couple who have no children due to suffering a miscarriage ten years ago which has left their dreams of a warm, large and happy family shattered in the cold. The harsh environment in which they live means Jack is working long hours in the fields leaving Mable bored and lonely, doubting her decision to move them so far from their old life in Pennsylvania.

The winter’s are long and harsh in Alaska and test Jack and Mable’s ability to make a new life together, they barely laugh and joke and almost all sense of intimacy between them has gone. This is until one night, after the first flourish of snow falls in the forest, Jack and Mable play together as if they were in their teens again, throwing snow balls and making snow angels before they build a snowman complete with gloves and a scarf. Jack carves a  little girl’s face into the snowman before they return to their house to warm against the fire.

In the morning the snowman is nowhere to be found, all that is left is a mound of scattered snow and a trail of little footsteps into the wilderness. Jack and Mable could never have guessed how this event would change their lives as eventually a pale faced, impish girl emerges from the forest adorned in the very same scarf and mittens that were dressed on the snowman. Neither of them know where she has come from,who she is or how she came to be in the snow, however both develop their own feelings towards her and what she means to them as a child.


The Snow Child keeps you reading as you desperately want to discover alongside Jack and Mable the story behind the child who visits them every night. We, like them, aren’t sure if she is real, or simply a figment of their imagination after living in near solitude for such a long time.


Ivey combines Jack’s intimidation of the child with Mabel’s doubt of her own sanity to create an uncertain and eery situation yet with it, a beautiful story unfolds. It is with the help of their new friendly neighbours, their own determination and strength that Mable and Jack are able to fall in love again around the mystery of the snow child and it is this unity which completes the story itself.


 This book may be based on a fairytale which Mable reveals to us the more we read, however it is much more about survival and being able to find happiness and love in the darkest, coldest of places.

Without spoiling the end, this novel is heartbreaking and beautiful, a read that leaves you thinking about it long after it has been read and without a doubt it is one like no other with it’s unique form and delicate plot. Ivey created a magical tale and towards the run up to Christmas it is exactly the type of book to read at this time of year.

by Abigail Rowley


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