Welcome to the first monthly Read-along with Rosie of 2013. I hope that some of you were able to grab a copy of 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey and that you found it a good read. After my comments on the book, you can link-up your posts on the novel and have the opportunity to discuss it with other readers.
Have you ever been enticed been a book cover before only to be bitterly disappointed by the contents? I admit, that this has happened to me, but NOT in the case of Ivey's novel.
The Snow Child couldn't be more topical this week, as England faced it's annual snowfall and I've seen many snow 'children' created across our parks and fields, as well as the happy announcements of new pregnancies and impending births.
The Snow Child is set in Alaska, a place where a couple, unable to have children, escape to, in the hope of finding peace and each other again in the wilderness. Having set up a homestead, built a cabin and started a hand-to-mouth existence on a farm, the couple exist in this chilly setting without the healing peace they had hoped for.
Based on a Russian fairy-tale, we're swept into the folklore when the couple build a snow-child, clothing her in scarf and mittens before regaining some of the intimacy they had previously lost. The following day, the snow 'figure' has collapsed, the mittens are gone and there is a single track of footsteps in the snow: the footsteps of a small child leading away from the figure.
As the novel progresses, the snow child shows herself to the couple. Living in the forest, we are never quite sure on her existence. Is she the fairy-tale come to life - a snowy gift for a childless family - or an child abandoned to a life in the wilderness? We are left wondering: will this couple have their happy ending, or will the child melt away like in the myth?
What impressed me most about this novel was the sensitive way Ivey addresses the impact of a childless marriage/relationship. I am not sure whether it appealed to me more, as the prospect of never having a family of my own fills me with fear. Having never 'tried' to become pregnant, and being thirty-something, I worry constantly that I have left it too late, or that I am gambling with my fertility or that I have never been fertile in the first place. Whether you share my (possibly irrational) worries, or not, The Snow Child carefully handles the disappointment creating empathy with the characters.
Through developing a relationship with the snow child, the couple regain their companionship, find purpose and fun in their older age and start to develop the hope they lost so long ago. You'll just have to read it yourself to find out the ending.
So what did you think? Link up your reviews and comments below. Please give a spoiler warning after your name if you reveal the ending and don't forget to visit each other and interact a bit.
February's book is 'The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson. If you're based in England and own a Kindle, it's an absolute bargain.
We'll be returning on Friday March 1st to chat about it. (I've already started reading it, and am absolutely hooked!) I really hope to see you there.