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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The love of a family....

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers…the site that aims to bring you bookish love every day of the week, come rain or shine!  Hopefully each of you had a fabulous Valentine’s Day yesterday…whether the time was spent with your friends, family, significant other…or coworkers.  Today is in fact National Singles Awareness Day and for those of you not in the know, it basically is a snarky little holiday where those unattached get to feel…well, unattached and if so motivated, celebrate that freedom.  Am I participating?  Not today….but check back for a revisit of this topic later in the week because it certainly begs for exploration… *stashes confetti, streamers….pushes balloons into closet*

Today, we continue the book love celebration with the love of a family….or in this case a desire for one that runs so very deep, a miracle occurs.  How so?  You’ll see…but first, let’s introduce this title correctly (oh, and if you’re wondering the winners of this book will be announced later today).  The book of choice for today is….

The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey

From the publisher
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

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 somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

We’ll keep this one stark and simple as that is truly where the beauty of this story lies.  The simplicity is not in the delivery, as the language and descriptions used are remarkably beautiful adding a depth no picture could replace.  The simplicity is really in the story itself though you may not see it at first.  It runs deep within the walls of the story, exudes from the barren Alaskan landscape and freely covers the hands of the characters like so much freshly turned soil.  The skeleton of its structure when stripped bare reveals a moving tale of a woman’s heartbreak from the loss of a child, a husband with love in his heart for both her and her brokenness but frozen in place unable to assist, and a desire so deep to share their lives with another that Mother Nature, Father Time and the deities above see fit to breath life into that wish.  Her name is Faina.

Like her name, she is a living example of that fleeting beauty that is beyond words.  We are left at times pondering how “real” she is in all actuality as her origins can only be traced to the creation of a snow child Mabel and Jack create in a rare moment of merriment after the first snow on their Alaskan homestead.  They take care in forming the details from hair of yellow straw to lips cranberry red that her appearance in the flesh so to speak is both shocking and welcome all at once.  There’s a familiarity to her that grants her easy access to their hearts but also a wildness about her that is hard to explain.  She knows where the animals are.  She can hunt with her friend the red fox and kills without remorse when food, shelter, or clothing is needed.  She’d never lose her way in the woods as rather then passing through them, they pass around her.  Is she spirit or is she child?  The inclusion of a connection to our plain of existence only deepens the mystery.  Suffice it to say that it’s a question you’ll be tossing around whilst traversing the terrain of this story…and gladly so…but the child is not the only character to note by a long shot.

Mabel and Jack, the couple whose story is at the center point of all the events yet to come, moved to the far North to create a new life and escape the sadness of their past.  The initial introduction we have to Mabel is a half-hearted attempt at suicide, even so it does not serve to portray weakness in her character but rather the level at which she feels things.  The scene is so surreal as she describes her surroundings, even as she’s about to end it all.  You can see she still has life within her but it takes the unsuccessful attempt to bring it back to the surface of her person.  Jack, though a strong silent type, has forged a shell of silence around himself as an unknown protective barrier against the heartache he’s yet to acknowledge; when it breaks free, the gentle man behind the coldness is revealed for the tender heart he has.

Though the land is barren, there are people inhabiting the local area and one such family within their reach in this vast landscape is George, Esther and their sons.  They’re a frontier family through and through with the can-do attitude required to survive in such an unforgiving place but don’t let their rough and tumble-ish outside fool you.  They may seem built to take whatever comes their way but they are also willing to give until they can’t give anymore to assist a friend in need….and this couple becomes such a friend.  It’s amazing to see Esther and Mabel side by side, their difference shine like fireworks in the night sky and yet they learn to accept those differences for what they are…character enhancements that can only serve to enrich both of their lives.  It’s great to see that the harshness of the land doesn’t sap the love in their hearts.

Overall, a marvelous read that not only revisits a tale you may have heard as a child but breathes new life into it.  You go in having a vague sense of what might occur and the reality of it makes you pause to catch your breath.  It’s truly a work of great fiction in my eyes and being that it’s the first novel from this author, I can’t wait to see what else she might have in store for us.  Highly recommended to teen readers and beyond….you don’t want to miss this incredible journey.  Still need convincing?  Check out the book trailer below…

Review copy received courtesy of Anna at Hachette Book Group.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their complete catalog, feel free to visit them online.  To discover more about this emerging author, Eowyn Ivey can be found on her blog, website, Facebook page and of course…Twitter!

Until next time….happy reading!


La Toya said...

What a fantastic review! I'm almost certain I saw this in Barnes and Noble the other day and was curious about whether or not I'd like it. I'm pretty sure I would now!!

La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

Jess@The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow said...

This book sounds fantastic! I love the cover and trailer. From your review it sounds like a wonderful book. The plot seems so intriguing. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Gina said...

La Toya: Thank you SO much! I do hope you try it out....fab read.

Jess: My pleasure! ^_^

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