The Snow Child

Thoughts tscbyei The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Back Bay Books – Little,Brown and Company 2012, 391 pages + readers guide

FOR my Newcomers Club Book Club

First Sentence: Mabel had known there would be silence.

Interesting (but probably not really) coinky-dink: I loved another book this year that featured a Mabel. H is for Hawk. [READ IT.]

WHAT’s it about: This lovely tale is a reworking of a Russian fairy tale of a snow child that comes to life for an aging childless couple. What is most intriguing to me is that the author manages to work in quite a few variations of the story into her unique take on the story. Well done, Ms Ivey, WELL DONE.

Can you tell I liked this one?

Number of PIE mentions: at least SIX; apple pie, walnut pie, rhubarb pie, baking pie, taking pie to market town, and an inferred Fiddlehead Fern Pie. (Sorry, I can’t find online but I have it in one of my pie books – not yet tried it because I have yet to source any of these ferns at the appropriate time.)

Quotes I liked:

“Or did fear drive her? Fear of the gray, not just in the strands of her hair and her wilting cheeks, but the gray that ran deeper, to the bone, so that she thought she might turn into a fine dust and simply sift away in the wind.”
“As Jack knelt in the bloody snow, he wondered if that was how a man held up his end of the bargain, by learning and taking into his heart this strange wilderness – guarded and naked, violent and meek, tremulous in its greatness.”

“Mable looked from her drawing to the snowflake in the child’s hand. I can always work on the details later. Shall we call it finished for now? She asked. Yes, Faina said. The child put the heel of her hand to her lips and blew on the snowflake, and it fluttered into the air like dandelion down.”

“But Jack was seeking out that deep, opaque place where sound and pain and light are muted, where a man doesn’t have to put words to his despair because his numb tongue and useless lips can’t speak anything at all.”


The writing is exquisite. The characters human. The plot pace is sure and the plot points surprising. I thought it was going to be painful and dreadfully disheartening, and though, yes, it has sadness, I was not unhappy with the conclusion.

I was glad that my worst fears were not met but interested in why I had those worst fears. I never felt manipulated or played. It all felt honest.

I had both felt attracted to this book as well as resisted it for fantasy and extreme cold temperatures but I am very glad that book club selected this for January. I really like the book cover art.

QUESTION for those of you who have also read this title: Do you think it would be a good choice or bad choice for a film adaption? I think both. I can see that opening scene on the river, testing the ice. I can visualize the beautiful blue coat with the embroidered snowflakes…

RATING: Five slices of rhubarb pie. Tart, wild, so seasonal – like Faina.



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11 thoughts on “The Snow Child

    1. Yay! I almost posted a few choices for actors and actresses but that can get SO problematic.But again YAY!! According to IMDB, no one as yet as optioned it (or published said option.)

  1. I was reluctant to read this one too because I dislike fairy tales in general (not enough character development!) but I ended up reading The Snow Child for a book club and really liked it, although I can’t remember if the discussion was good. (Maybe I didn’t attend that book club meeting?) I had forgotten all the pie references but do remember the ending!

    1. I am SO looking forward to discussion. In fact, I need to make sure our leader has read the review I posted in reply to Kathy/BermudaOnion… I learned a few things. smh

  2. I expect this would be the kind of adaptation that would be visually beautiful yet exceptionally boring to me. Like books that live or die on their beautiful sentences, films that live or die on your appreciation of the shots are no good for me. But the book sounds good!

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