Wow! Read the Snow Child by Eowen Ivey. This story is part Russian fairy tale and part history of homesteading in Alaska in the 1920s. Set in the beautiful but hostile terrain of Alaska, Mabel and Jack arrive at their new home with the hope and the plan to start over, to leave the pain and sadness of infertility, loss and begin again. Very slowly as they tame the land they find each other again and recapture their love.
At the beginning of the book in the first snow the couple playfully build a snow child. The next morning the snowman is gone, but left behind are a child’s footprints that lead into the woods. Later that evening a young girl shows up on their doorstep. “Wild, secretive, 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 leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel try to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever” (Ivey, The Snow Child ).
The magic in this story is that things do not end up where you think they will, and I liked that the story moved in directions I did not expect. Ivey’s writing captured my senses. I felt the cold crispness of the winter and the isolation experienced by the people who inhabited this frontier. She is able to convey the interdependence we have on each other and the land. Ivey creates the warmth of a fire on a cold night and the comfort taken by the neighbors on the hearth of friendship. I learned that there is magic in simple things and the support of each other.
And that is my 2 cents, Tracy.