Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
I started hearing about The Snow Child late last year and as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to get my hands on it and read it. After hearing the all early buzz about it, my expectations were high when I began reading it. I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
I love Mabel and Jack right from the beginning and I just felt for them. We are introduced to Mabel in the first few pages of the novel and the first few scenes were so heart-wrenching that I wanted to cry (I didn't but I had a lump in my throat). They were both still hurting from losing their newborn baby years ago. They both lonely but they can't talk to each other and were drifting apart. When Faina came along, she brought color back into their lives--but you had the feeling that she was not there to stay and she may bring heartbreak to Jack and Mabel which in turn will break your [the reader's] heart... because Jack and Mabel are wonderful people and I grew to care for them and wanted their happiness.
I never really truly connected with Faina's character for much of the book but I don't think the reader was meant to. I really liked how the author crafted her character. She was this mysterious, otherworldly creature of the forest and throughout the novel you are never really sure if she was a real flesh-and-blood girl or borne out of magic.
And, of course, I cannot end this review without mentioning the setting. The novel was set in Alaska where Jack and Mabel claimed a homestead. A lot of the book was set in the winter time and the beautiful imagery that came to my mind transported me to Jack and Mabel's Alaska in the 1920s so that it was like I was there in that beautiful but [at-times] harsh environment (and I have never seen snow in real-life).
The words that come to mind to describe The Snow Child: achingly beautiful, magical and heart-wrenching. The pacing of this book is on the slow side (it may not be for readers who prefer their books fast and action-packed) but this is a book to savor. It is hard to believe this is the author's debut novel--this book is simply exceptional. I am eager to read more from her. I recommend this book to everyone, especially to book clubs.