The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I had two whole weeks of vacation at the end of 2020. I had absolutely no idea what to do with all this time that I wasn’t going to be working and we weren’t doing virtual learning. I stood in the middle of my office and surveyed the books that are on my bookshelf and looked for something that would feed my very tired mind and soul. I picked this up a few years ago because I love a good fairytale retelling. This lovely book is based on a Russian fairytale “Snegurochka or Snegurka” the rough translation is Snow Maiden. I hadn’t actually heard of this fairytale so I wanted to share it. This is a rough

In the woods lives a childless couple. They are getting on in their years and have no children to help care for them. One evening the couple make a child out of snow. This snow child comes alive and lives as their own child. There are two different endings to the story….the first is that the snow child grows into a beautiful woman who falls in love with a young man from a neighboring family. As she falls more deeply in love with the young man her heart begins to warm her and she melts. The second ending is that she is playing with some other children in the woods. The other children build a fire and take turns jumping over it. The poor snow child does the same. Soon the warmth of the fire melts her. In both cases she melts. Sad story right.

Synopsis: A childless couple create a child out of snow….she lives with them. (If I say anymore I will totally tell the entire story)

What I liked: There is so much to like about this story and so much to enjoy about Ivey’s writing. It is lyrical and so very magical. Even as a retelling Ivey was able to keep the fairytale quality of the story. I loved her characterizations and how she used the bones of the fairytale to mold her story. Also there is some interesting history there about the Alaskan hinterland. I have never been to Alaska so that was really fascinating. I enjoyed the story so much I started trawling through my Russian fairytale book and the internet to find the story of The Snow Maiden.

What I didn’t like: Nothing……

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My thoughts: While I was reading The Snow Child I was thinking about retellings. I had seen a tweet a few months ago about retellings, it said something to the effect of someone not having an imagination blah blah blah. Yes, a hot take which is so so wrong. Retellings take so much imagination. You have to take a story and change it or add to it, to make it yours. Obviously, this person had not read The Snow Child. The bones of the original story are there with so much added to it. This is a book that I read to get me out of the un-year slump. It had sat on my bookshelf for a few years and I would love to kick myself. BUT, I think that it came to me when I really needed it.