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One book that I've been enjoying recently recently is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. It was given to me as a birthday present in May because people who know me, know that I really love reading and the person who bought it me had a gut feeling that I would love this book.
The events in the novel are set in 1920 in Alaska, now. I've never been to Alaska before, but I've heard about the place. So reading the novel gave me a very vivid description of what Alaska looked like. The story is also based on a fairy tale under the same name, I hadn't read the Russian fairy tale until after I read the book and having read the original fairy tale I believe that it is a faithful and creative adaption. Although based on a fairy tale, I think the main audience for this novel is adults.
The novel focuses on a childless couple named Mabel and Jack. Some could assume that they should be happy. The first world war had finished two years ago and they've lived together for a long time and surrounded by beautiful and delicate snow. But there's one thing that missing in their perfect little family, a child. They're reaching the end of their youth and Mabel fails to commit suicide. That alone already showed me that Mabel and Jack's relationship is really strong, but struggles to convince a child has lead them both to be drifted apart and their situation becomes more dire with the finical problems on top.
I already feel sorry for the couple because Ivey paints a really vivid picture of the characters and their emotions to the point that they feel real. I honestly wanted to have a miracle child or at least have Mabel fall pregnant. It's been a while since I last read a novel and it made me really want the characters to have a happy life. I really wanted them to have that happy ending. It really does a brilliant job combining reality with fairy tales.
So one day to lift the spirits up, Jack and Mabel build a snowman which turns out to look just like a little girl. This scene was really cute and touching because it shows that their desire to have a child still burns. Even though the story is sad, it appears that the snow child they create comes to life in the form of a girl named Faina. I thought this was a delight because it lead to me thinking that Jack and Mabel can finally get the happiness they deserve. Romance isn't the key focus on story and the story isn't all fairies and rainbows either. The novel shows how friendship, bonds and the power of love are put to the test.
This book has already had a lot of praise for Ivey's atmospheric style, imagination and powerful characters. Others on the other felt that part three of the book did not live up to the other two parts and felt that it was slow paced and riddled with cliches. Parts of it I semi agree with, it may be slow paced and perhaps did have some cliches, but this didn't effect my reading experience for The Snow Child whatsoever. So on the contrary I thought the pace was just about right. I would say that the mystical elements in the story are not as impressive as the beauty and realism in the story, particularly in the third part, but I still enjoyed it nevertheless.
The prose is a big stregnth here, I think the underlying sorrow and winter atmosphere blended wonderfully together and the writing style made the tone so mature. I still thought a lot of the moments in the book were very suspenseful and my curiosity made me want to turn the pages to see what happens. As mentioned before, Ivey made me really care for the characters and there were a lot of paragraphs that were beautifully written and created a winter atmosphere. So as you can tell I loved this book and would recommend it because I think that it's worth a read. I do see myself reading this book again.