The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey

Synopsis (from amazon)

Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?


There was a lot of buzz about this book when it first came out. It was one of the Waterstone’s 11, and everybody seemed to be reading it. It was on my wishlist for a long time but I didn’t buy it until it was on offer as part of the 12 Days of Kindle.

I had a bit of an up and down relationship with this book. It started very slowly and early on I did consider giving up (I need to work out a rule for when I can give up on a kindle book).  I was interested in Mabel particularly which is part of what made me continue. Having no children was so hard on her that she was prepared to move to a rather inhospitable part of the world just to escape the pain.

In a way I sympathised with Mabel but sometimes I just wanted to tell her to stop being so stupid. Her thoughts and decisions were so emotion based that she didn’t seem to even realise where they might lead her, and when they were just absurd.

Once the child entered the story I started to enjoy it however. I think part of it as knowing how much Mabel wanted it, and despite my annoyance with Mabel I did want her to be happy.

The imagery of Alaska was rather good too. I liked the contrasts between the harshness and the beauty of the environment.

The end for me was rather abrupt. I think it could have ended better earlier or needed to be extended a little more for a more satisfying conclusion.

As for the parallels with the fairy story. It was nice in a way but it was also part of what made me annoyed at Mabel.


Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£3.84)

Hardback- Large Print (£20.78)

Other Reviews:

The Little Reader Library

Book Journey

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Between the Pages



Have I missed your review? Link me up in comments and I will add it here.


Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review

15 responses to “The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey

  1. I really enjoyed The Snow Child – loved the imagery of the Alaskan landscape and the feeling of the book as a whole, a very impressive debut I thought. My review is here


  2. I too found Mabel a little frustrating at times – I started reading the book, ditched it for a week or so then went back to it. I didn’t get into it straight away – I think it was the introduction of Esther and Garrett that really held my interest as you could see that they would bring Jack and Mabel out of hibernation.


  3. I read and reviewed this book last year and for the most part I enjoyed it, I found it to be a slow moving back which didn’t bother me as I felt that allowed you to take in all the descriptions of Alaska etc however the end was so rushed and it just didn’t fit the pace of the rest of the book which I found disappointing.


  4. I think part of what I disliked about the end was that it was fast in comparison to the rest, and by then the pace didn’t bother me so much anymore- in fact I wish that the end was slower.


  5. I did really like Esther. She was a bit no-nonsense and didn’t care about what people thought of her, but I never really got why she liked Mabel.


  6. Thanks I will add it.


  7. I never really thought about that I suppose! Maybe women in the area were few and far between and an unlikely friend was better than none? I think their friendship was good for both of them, brought Mabel down to earth and made her think more practically, while it exposed Esther to things she hadn’t experienced before.


  8. Pingback: Book Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey | Ragdoll Books Blog

  9. Yeah I think the friendship did help them both. I can see what you mean about there not being many women in the area.


  10. I read this a month or back, and did enjoy it though, like you, I think I enjoyed the landscape more than the characters. I like the way the book draws on the older folk tale but when it was too explicit about it that’s when I found it and Mabel most frustrating.

    My comments are here:


  11. Thanks. I will add your link.


  12. Pingback: The snow child, by Eowyn Ivey | From Isi

  13. Isi

    I really liked this one. It’s true that it can be slow, but that made me feel even more the atmosphere; I really connected with the tale and the couple.


  14. I know what you mean, Isi. The slowness kind of reflects the snow in a way, I suppose I was just impatient


  15. Pingback: Review of the Year 2012- Challenges | Lucybird's Book Blog

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