The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child is inspired by the Russian fairy tale: a childless, elderly couple builds a girl out of snow, and she comes to life, spending each winter with them, but disappearing each summer. Centering around that tale, Eowyn Ivey's beautifully written debut novel explores the grief and healing of a couple whose infertility and loss has driven them to despair. Unable to bear the constant reminders of their loss, Jack and Mabel leave comfort and their families in Pennsylvania and move to the Alaskan frontier, thinking that isolation will shield them from pain and perhaps bring them closer together. Sadness permeates their lives. Failure looms over them. Despite their love, they are drifting farther and farther apart, unable to even share their grief with one another. And then, in a rare moment of gaiety, they build a snow child, and she comes to life.
Whether she is a feral child or was made of snow and magic, Ivey leaves her readers to decide. The true magic in her story lies in its realism. Broken and bitter, we watch a middle aged couple as they begin to see each other with new eyes, eyes opened not only by their love for the snow child but by the harshness of the Alaskan wilderness and the kindness of their neighbors. We are witness to the healing power of forgiveness and the willingness to love despite pain. Their love story is what kept me entranced from the first page to the last.